Heather from Home Alone is in her 50s now and gorgeous

Home Alone kicked off the wave of family friendly festive films — try saying that five times fast after a few eggnogs — that hit movie theaters in the 1990s. The Chris Columbus-directed comedy flick was a huge success that pulled in close to half a billion dollars at the worldwide box office and made young lead actor Macaulay Culkin a huge star. But the fact is Kevin McCallister wouldn't have been left home alone at all if not for the actions of his oldest cousin. After Heather McCallister, played by Kristin Minter, mistakes a neighbor kid for Kevin during a head count, he's left to fend off some seemingly indestructible burglars, Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern), all by himself as his family heads out for a European holiday vacation.

This is something fans of the franchise like to bring up when they meet the actress in person. "Most people don't think I know how to count," Minter told Trainwreck'd Society. "To be clear, I count the wrong kid." While Home Alone is still the movie she's asked about the most, Minter has maintained a steady career in the decades since its release — not to mention, she's in her 50s now and is as gorgeous as ever.

Unlike Heather, she was 'a real loner' as a kid

With 11 children running around the McCallister household in Home Alone, Kristin Minter played the part of Heather like she was used to being around a bunch of kids — but that certainly wasn't the case for the actress when she was growing up. Revealing that she used to be "a real loner," Minter told Geek Chic Elite in 2015, "[I] spent a lot of time in my own imagination, so you would think that would lend itself to looking up to or being influenced by an actor but it really didn't." She added, "I just kind of fell into some of the things that I've done."

If Minter didn't look up to any actors during her adolescence, who exactly did she idolize? "I'd have to say my dad," she continued. "My mother was always a very strong woman as well, no one messed with her." While her on-screen parents barely feature in Home Alone (they're the couple with the place in Paris), Minter got to bond with Kevin's folks, Catherine O'Hara (Kate McCallister) and the late John Heard (Peter McCallister), during her time on set in Chicago. While heaping on praise for O'Hara on Jason Stuart's Sh#t I Love podcast in 2018, she revealed that she and Heard eventually became "fast friends" after a rocky start.

This multi-talent's long road to Home Alone

Before she decided to give acting a shot, Minter worked steadily as a model. She traveled around the world for work and was living every young model's dream, but after a while the grind left her longing for a new challenge. "I abruptly quit and decided to audition for Philadelphia College of Arts, which I got into for dance," she told Trainwreck'd Society in 2018, surprisingly adding, "I actually hated acting class when I went to PCA." Unfortunately, dancing eventually became tricky after Minter suffered a broken foot. According to the multi-talent, she was never the same after that injury, recalling, "I saw a tape of my dancing and decided I wasn't good enough. I went back to modeling, which brought me to LA."

It was only after a chance encounter with someone in the industry that Minter's acting career sparked into life following her move to the West Coast. "When I got out here I was at a barbeque, just being funny, and this guy said 'I really want to help you out,'" she previously told Geek Chic Elite. "And that's how it began." She re-enrolled herself in acting classes, started booking commercial work, and eventually landed Home Alone as her first big screen gig.

Jeff Goldblum gave Minter some life-changing advice

Minter nabbed her first paid acting gig in 1990's The Outsiders — the very same year she scored Home Alone. This TV series served as a sequel to Francis Ford Coppola's 1983 movie of the same name, and boasted rising star talents like Billy Bob Thornton and David Arquette. While Minter won the part of Sheila fair and square, she was new to the game, surrounded by talent, and couldn't help but feel as though she wasn't good enough to be there. "I found it very uncomfortable and extremely nerve wracking because I didn't know what I was doing," she told Trainwreck'd Society. "I didn't know to listen and respond. Everything was planned and rigid. I knew if this is what acting felt like no one would want to do it."

Minter wouldn't learn how to enjoy her acting until another chance encounter put her on the right path. This time around, the uncertain rookie bumped into Jurassic Park star Jeff Goldblum at a wrap party, where the Oscar-nominated actor advised her to try the Meisner technique. It involves getting out of your head and focusing on the "reality of doing," as Meisner himself put it. "I knew immediately while auditioning from that class, it was the right thing for me," Minter continued. "I went to 4 classes a week. I loved every second of it."

She bonded with the Culkin clan during Home Alone

When Minter sat down with Trainwreck'd Society a few days before Christmas Day in 2018, she brought a special festive gift along for the occasion: some never-before-seen backstage photos from the Home Alone house, which revealed just how close the McCallister kids got during the short space of time of filming. "The set was great, the kids were great," Minter said. "We watched movies in my room. [Macaulay] and Kieran [Culkin] were sweet normal kids working on a movie. [Rory Culkin] was teeny tiny and their mom was lovely. When I wrapped, everyone came to my room — including the Culkins — to say goodbye."

When she and several other cast members spoke to Vice in 2017Minter had nothing but good things to say about the star of the show, Macaulay Culkin. "Imagine the pressure Macaulay had as a ten-year-old — he's the whole movie," Minter, who was 25 herself when she took on the role of Heather, said. "He talks to himself in half of it. I can understand why he stepped away from the spotlight. I think that he was under a tremendous amount of pressure." We love a cast that's close on and off screen.

Her Home Alone follow-up was a bit of a hot mess

Right after Home Alone, Minter landed the part of Vanilla Ice's love interest in 1991's Cool as Ice — the rapper's ill-fated big screen debut (not counting his cameo appearance in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, of course). Ice (real name Robert Van Winkle) was thrown in at the deep end by a record label hoping to make bank on his sudden popularity, and it showed. The movie was universally hated, scoring a generous 7 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, though Minter certainly wasn't to blame.

"Minter (who later became a prolific actress) acts circles around Ice," read Hollywood in Toto's 25th anniversary review. "The best quality to her performance is how she appears to be openly mocking her co-star's inability to speak English." While revisiting Cool as Ice in 2016, journalist Dan Epstein was equally appalled by what he saw, writing for Rolling Stone, "Watching the film now, a quarter-century after its initial release, it's kind of shocking to see just how shoddy the whole thing is, even by popstar cash-in standards."

For her part, Minter has since come to the rapper's defense over his performance, telling Jason Stuart, "He gets thrown into a movie, and I thought he did a good job for his first movie. No acting classes. He just did it."

Working on ER reduced her to tears

Minter joined the cast of ER in 1995adding some flair to County General Hospital's scrubs-laden emergency room as desk clerk Miranda "Randi" Fronczak. While she was only hired to appear in three episodes of the NBC medical drama (which was only a season old at the time), the actress wound up staying around until 2003, portraying Randi in a total of 71 episodes. When The Atlantic ranked the most memorable ER characters ever, Randi came in 36th place — not bad for a character with limited screen time. 

Despite looking back on the experience fondly, the pressure of working on such a fast-paced show often left her in tears. "On the set, it was so incredibly stressful and out of the stress I would do these really funny things, so in that particular environment being stressed out was part of my character," she told Geek Chic Elite. "There were times where I would literally sit in my dressing room and cry, hoping not to screw up." Minter later described her time on the show as "nerve wracking," telling Trainwreck'd Society, "A lot of pressure with long, one camera, 8-page scenes. It is like a choreographed dance. Every character leads you to the next character. A lot of moving parts."

She got her prank on with George Clooney

In addition to working alongside George Clooney during her time on ER, Kristin Minter once revealed that the two would play pranks on one another on set. Sure, Clooney would become a huge star during Minter's debut season — The A.V. Club pinpointed his "daring storm rescue" as the moment Hollywood execs really started to take notice of the man who starred as Dr. Doug Ross — but he still had time for a lowly desk clerk. 

During her candid chat with Jason Stuart on the Sh#t I Love podcast, Minter explained that Clooney liked to "slime" the rim of her prop telephone with medical sterile jelly. One day, she decided to hit Dr. Ross with a taste of his own medicine, so she snuck into Clooney's trailer and slimed up his personal landline receiver (we're going way back to the pre-smart phone age here, folks). "I could probably get in trouble for this," she quipped before diving into the story. "I went in his trailer and I put it on the phone in his trailer, and I said, 'Oh, the phone's ringing in your trailer!'" Did Clooney see the funny side? "I hope so," Minter said. "I ran away!"

She was terrified of stripping down for Ray Donovan

Adding to Minter's list of on-screen credits was a two-episode story arc as the feisty Liza Hendricks in Ray Donovan in 2013. The actress debuted the minor role in the "Black Cadillac" episode, in which she had to confront and attack Liev Schreiber's titular character while wearing nothing but her underwear. Minter was so nervous about the scene that she made it her mission to get in good shape, telling Jason Stuart on his Sh#t I Love podcast, "I dieted so hard ... I worked out 4 hours a day and ate very little." She explained, "I'm in my underwear, and I'm over 40. It's scary to be in your underwear with Liev Schreiber!"

This wasn't the first time that Minter felt the need to work out excessively for a role, having done the same thing while portraying Randi on ER. "My costumes were really tight, and I couldn't eat," she continued. "I would run when I would get home from work at like 10 o'clock at night for an hour just to make sure I could fit into my costume the next day." Stuart (also an actor) said that this was "really sad" to hear, but Minter didn't agree. "It was my character," she said. "I'm an ex-convict on the show and I always wear these inappropriate outfits that, supposedly, I've made: 'Randi wear.'"

She's been a terrible (on-screen) mother

Minter has taken on a variety of roles since Heather McCallister, trying her hand at everything from sci-fi fantasy to tense drama. However, the actress' later work has (by her own admission) transformed her into a really bad mother. Well, on screen, that is. 

In 2015, she took on the role of a "very damaged woman" named Jane in Fire City: End of Days. While discussing this prosthetics-heavy horror movie about demons who secretly live among humankind, Minter told the International Business Times, "It is the ugliest character I have ever played, inside and out. She has checked out with alcohol. When I had to be mean to my daughter Sara (Keely Alona) I would cry in between takes, I felt so bad." She added, "As liberating as it was to be totally unselfconscious and deplorable, it was difficult to inflict it all on a sweet little girl." Minter was met with the same mental anguish when she filmed her scenes for the 2017 indie flick, Liza, Liza, Skies Are Grey. "I play a '60s mom and again, I'm just not a really good mother," she told Geek Chic Elite. "Seriously, I get these roles where I have to hit my much younger co-stars and it's very emotional for me."

She got 'real low' playing a drug addict in This Is Us

Liza, Liza, Skies Are Grey unfortunately didn't go down very well with critics, but Minter's other 2017 endeavor was already a big success. The actress briefly appeared on NBC's family drama This Is Us during the show's second season, playing a desperate drug addict in an episode called "Déjà Vu." Her character, Ms. Dobson, pretends to be the birth mother of 15-year-old Randall Pearson in an attempt to squeeze some cash out of him. 

"I love that show so much," Minter said on Jason Stuart's Sh#t I Love podcast. "I think the acting on that show is so good." While the actress went on to stress just how "grateful" she was to be given the chance to appear on the series, her scene opposite Niles Fitch took a real toll on her. "It was 97 degrees, I had on a sweatshirt with a shirt over it, a jacket, [and] I'm on the brink because I had to be able to rationalize in my head what I was doing," Minter revealed to Stuart. "So, how desperate did I have to be to solicit a teenager to try and get money for my drug habit? I mean, you have to be pretty low. So, I stayed real low."

Is she still acting?

Over a quarter-century after leaving behind Home Alone's Heather McCallister, Kristin Minter is still working steadily in showbiz ... but she's understandably keeping her cards close to her chest. Back in 2015, the actress told Geek Chic Elite that she'd just wrapped a feature film project called 7th Street. However, it seems as though the movie failed to find a distributor, considering it has yet to be released, as of this writing in 2019. While Minter has two more movies in pre-production — a dark drama called Malignant Love and a horror flick called Don't Look There — neither movie has set a release date. 

Considering how unpredictable showbiz can be, Minter has kept to a realistic outlook. "Things change so quickly," she told Trainwreck'd Society in 2018. "I was getting ready to do a movie I had been working on for 3 years and then it went away. It was very disappointing." The experience left Minter wary about advertising her future projects. "I don't really mention anything until I have seen it and I know what to expect," she explained. "I have a couple things in the can but haven't seen them yet. That may change. Right now, I like to try and live in the moment. Life can be difficult and again, this moment is all we truly have."