Alyson Stoner is a former child actor. You may remember her from Cheaper By The Dozen 1 and 2 (2003, 2005) and the Step Up movies.
Recently, she started a podcast called Dear Hollywood where she strives to expose Hollywood secrets, child stardom, and the toddler-to-train wreck pipeline so many young actors fall into.
After reading Jennette McCurdy’s memoir I’m Glad My Mom Died and as more child stars pull back the curtain I knew I had to give this podcast a listen. Also, I’ve always admired Alyson Stoner and her roles in some of my favourite childhood movies.
I opened up spotify and created a journal spread/collection for this podcast. I usually have to really focus on what’s being said without a visual, but Alyson records her podcast episodes and I can watch with captions. This makes it so much easier for my brain to digest and to take notes throughout each episode.
First and foremost, I am so grateful that Alyson is speaking out about the entertainment industry and Hollywood. Secondly, this podcast is thoughtful, reflective, and quite educational. Alyson combines her personal experiences with scientific studies on child brain development, mental health, and more.
For example, she references Jean Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development, specifically how between the ages of 2 and 7 children cannot separate fact/reality from fantasy. This means that before a child actor's sense of self has even developed they are instead taking on the character traits of the roles they play. They might believe it’s all “pretend,” but their developing, impressionable brain doesn’t.
Dear Hollywood is an incredible podcast. I’ve experienced shock, disgust, anger, amusement, and more just by listening to Alyson’s stories. I’m about to go listen to the latest episode titled The Truth About Social Media Platforms as she tackles the new and ever-changing age of social media and its impact on the lives of children and young influencers.