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Anna as 'Vada' on left
Remember Anna Chlumsky, the fresh-scrubbed kid with the cherry-red grin in the 1991 family flick “My Girl”? Her starring role as Vada, a motherless tomboy going through some growing pains, earned her an MTV Movie Award for “Best Kiss” (with co-star Macaulay Culkin) and a Young Artist Award for “Most Promising Young Newcomer” — not too shabby for a 10-year-old. Primed for superstardom, Chlumsky’s next role was in the dubious “My Girl 2” — after which she promptly fell off most people’s radars.
Well, we just spotted a blip on our screen: Now 28, Chlumsky appears in the new movie “In the Loop,” a highbrow political parody chock-full of profane and inspired insult-hurling. Although fans hoping to see Chlumsky in another wholesome, feel-good role will be disappointed, some of her other (male) fans will probably find her portrayal of a sexy, power-hungry press aide very appealing indeed.
So what else has Chlumsky been up to these last 18 years? After making “My Girl 2,” she starred in two more unremarkable movies: “Trading Mom” and “Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain.” Then the teen years hit, and she couldn’t land any roles. Why? “Braces and boobs. I got both of them,” she reveals in a Chicago Sun-Times article. After years of auditions and rejections, she finally decided to leave acting to preserve her self-esteem. She went to college, majored in international relations at the University of Chicago, and went on to work as an editorial assistant for HarperCollins.
Then one day she caught a Broadway performance of “The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?” and was inspired by Mercedes Ruehl’s performance. In a Back Stage article, she recalls thinking at the time, “I have to do what she just did.” Acting classes and roles in New York’s free theater soon followed, and slowly Chlumsky built a respectable stage career for herself. In the last couple of years, she did a stint on “Law and Order,” guest-starred on “30 Rock,” and had a recurring role on the now-canceled TV show “Cupid.”
Things continue to look up for Chlumsky: Just last year, she got married to Army reserve member Shaun So. Later this year, she’ll appear with Alexis Bledel in the romantic comedy “The Good Guy.” And according to IMDb, she has two more movies in the works. While the teen years may not have been so kind to Chlumsky, young adulthood seems to suit her just fine.