Mara Wilson, the face we all know as that of Matilda from the Roald Dahl book adaptation, has written a memoir entitled Where Am I Now: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame.


Wilson admits she was almost jealous of the fictional character she played when she was a child. Being a child star, Wilson says, is no easy feat.

“I wanted to be her so badly …” Wilson told NPR’s Rachel Martin. “She’s kind of like my big sister over shadowing me.”

Wilson also often felt that people preferred Matilda over her. In college, a professor suggested she write a letter to the character, and since then Wilson’s appreciation for Matilda has grown.


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As with many child actors, Wilson’s fame plateaued at a young age. After playing children in Mrs. Doubtfire and Miracle on 34th Street, she was cast as Matilda, a dream role, when she was just five or six years old. “They always want child actors to play parts that are a few years younger than they are, but when you’re a 12, 13-year-old girl and your body’s changing and your voice is changing, you can’t,” Wilson explains. “I couldn’t play 10 anymore. I didn’t look 10 anymore. I wasn’t as cute anymore because I looked halfway between a child and an adult — which is what puberty is. People didn’t know what to do with me, and I knew it, and I felt it, and it really hurt.”

Wilson mother died when she as eight. “I wish I had stopped [acting] after Matilda because I think that was really the peak for me,” she says. “But I think that after my mother died, I felt like I had to keep going because film was the only constant in my life.”

Wilson continued to study acting in college, but her heart was not in it anymore. She would constantly sleep through her acting classes. Instead, she decided to pursue a career in writing. “Writing I’d always loved, on the even on the sets of various movies I would always be in my trailer, writing stories…eventually I did a one-woman show and that felt so much more real that being on a set every day.”

Today, Wilson is much more secure in herself and has grown up and left Matilda behind. Her writing has appeared in such publications as The Daily BeastThe Toast and Jezebel.

“I feel good about myself and I feel like I’m sort of in control of my own story and my own narrative. Which is a really good feeling to have because I don’t think I had that when I was a child,” she told NPR in an interview. “I felt like someone else was always telling my story or making up stories about me. … Making up stories and telling stories, and telling true stories has always been what I wanted to do, and it is what I am still doing.”

Where Am I Now? comes out Sept. 13.

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