Alyson Stoner Opens Up About Her Experience As A Child Star

Alyson Stoner made a name for herself as a child star by dancing in Missy Elliot music videos, appearing opposite Steve Martin in Cheaper By the Dozen, and acting in the Disney Channel original Camp Rock. Now she's shared her experiences in a powerful op-ed for People, speaking about the changes that she believes should be made for child actors.

"For the folks who click on Where Are They Now articles, I am here. We are here," Stoner wrote. Discussing the entertainment industry's expectations for children, she described going straight from an audition where she simulated being "kidnapped and raped" to one for a princess toy ad. "On the spot, I manually alter my mood, personality and outfit so I can win over a new stranger with a camcorder," Stoner recalled.

She also described the punishing workload that young child actors face, noting that agents encouraged her to look into "early emancipation" so that she could work longer hours. "My body is medically undernourished and chronically stressed, which later will evolve into severe eating disorders, adrenal fatigue and mandatory bedrest," Stoner revealed. "By now, I've missed months of schooling and my education is spotty at best."

Alyson Stoner revealed that she entered rehab to deal with her eating disorders

Alyson Stoner then described how she voluntarily entered rehab with her "body broken" and her "spirit shattered" at age 17, per People. The actor had been "in the throes of anorexia nervosa and exercise bulimia" during the filming of Camp Rock in 2008, and was "at least 20 pounds underweight."

Her agents continued to send her auditions while she was on bed rest and reminded her that "taking this break risks losing momentum." But, as Stone wrote, she was "daring to believe that my health matters," even though she felt like "the only advocate for it."

She also included a chilling observation: "Though I'm not without scars and ongoing struggles, I am still one of the most fortunate cases." Stoner revealed that she "had access to a therapist who saw past the enchantment of fame and taught me to safely re-inhabit my body."

"By some inner mysterious force I committed to deep self-work and constant healing as my rebellion," the advocate shared, before concluding with an appeal to both Hollywood families and consumers: "Together, we can change the narrative."

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, or call the National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please contact the National Eating Disorder Association's Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 or chat with one of their helpline volunteers on NEDA's website.