Anna Chlumsky on INVENTING ANNA, MY GIRL, and Her Evolution from a Child Actress to Now for ELLE Magazine

Posted on February 10, 2022

After starring in the mega-hit MY GIRL as a child, Anna Chlumsky became a commodity. Now, as a journalist in the Netflix series INVENTING ANNA, she’s learning who’s really entitled to a story. ELLE speaks with Chlumsky about the “trauma” of child stardom, why she’s sick of talking about MY GIRL, leaving Hollywood and how a run in with a fortune teller helped her realize she missed acting, and how her new role as a journalist in Inventing Anna has helped her reframe her mindset on being in the public eye: “What I’ve been realizing on this press tour is, it weirdly is therapeutic that I played this type of a journalist… It is helping me break down the defenses a little. Be human to human, as opposed to just going, ‘Oh, you’re just out to get me.’”

 

On if she ever gets sick of talking about My Girl: “Yes. Unequivocally. You ever get sick of talking about that recital you did when you were 10?… Even though it’s been 30 years, people still want to be like, ‘Oh no, but I still own you.’ It’s really strange. I used to just think it was lazy. But now I have to think that there’s something more to it.”

On how playing a journalist in Inventing Anna has helped her reframe how she asks questions and sees the world: “What I’ve been realizing on this press tour is, it weirdly is therapeutic that I played this type of a journalist, because I never would’ve known to ask you that. It is helping me break down the defenses a little. Be human to human, as opposed to just going, ‘Oh, you’re just out to get me.’ You know what I mean? Which is hard, because most of the way it shook out is that it was all just fodder.”

On how she left Hollywood to pursue a corporate career, and how a run in with a fortune teller helped her realize she missed acting: After a particularly depressing morning at HarperCollins, a 20-something Chlumsky wandered out into the traffic around 53rd and Fifth and paid attention when a fortune teller stalked her around the corner. “She’s like, ‘Are you the girl from My Girl?‘” Chlumsky says. “I’m like, God da**it. Today? And then she’s, ‘Wait. You’re not done. You want to keep doing it.’” She followed the fortune teller back to her station. “It was $40 for a 10-minute palm reading,” she says. “And you’re not on a big salary at that point. I needed my money…It just goes to show you how desperate I am for answers, that I would pay $40 for 10 minutes on my lunch break.”

On her role as Amy Brookheimer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s chief of staff in the political satire Veep, and how it changed her perception on being recognized as an actor: “People started recognizing me on the street for Veep instead of for some bulls**t I did when I was 10. It was the first time that I ever understood what it felt like to be happy to be asked about your job by a stranger.”

Chlumsky on her role in Inventing Anna as Vivian Kent, a fictionalized version of the New York Magazine journalist Jessica Pressler: “I was always really interested in playing a journalist because I just kind of admired the ability to ask whatever you want. I was always interested in hotspot journalism and war time and stuff like that. And then when this [job] came in, I was like, ‘Oh.’ This is more akin to who I’ve met my whole life.”

 

 

Style Credits:
Alberta Ferretti Suit

Hair by Patrick Kyle
Makeup by Marie-Josée

Written by: Lauren Puckett-Pope
Styled by: Jessica Paster
Photographed by: Tyler Joe

[Photo Credit: Tyler Joe for ELLE Magazine]

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