How Quvenzhané Wallis Spent Her Break From Hollywood “Being Normal”

“That gap was really just me being ‘normal’ to the best extent that I could,” Wallis said. “I was in high school and playing sports and I was on the dance team, just living life. But I was still auditioning and that’s what made that gap the hardest thing for me, because I went back to being in a normal environment. No one treated me special, no one treated me like I was anyone…important.”

She laughed knowingly. “I was just allowed to be me, I was allowed to find who I was as a person,” she continued. “So I’m grateful for that break because I wouldn’t have been this person if it wasn’t for that. I don’t know who I would have been if I’d just continued to work all throughout that time and made it here. I don’t think I would like the person that I would be if that happened.”

Now that Wallis is here, though, she’s still figuring out how to best balance her career and private life.

“I can’t even lie to you, I’m still learning!” she said. “It’s been 10 years, I’m still trying to get there.”

But she does know that, if it were possible, she would tell a certain Oscar-nominated 9-year-old not to take the whole Hollywood thing—or herself—so seriously.

“Not everybody really cares about what you’re doing or how you look,” Wallis said. “Everybody’s so involved with their own life, so you can’t hold them to your standards. Just be all of you, and don’t let what you think other people are looking at or wondering [get to you]. Just don’t. Be you.”

Breathe in now playing in theaters and available via digital and On Demand.

And as you’re mulling Wallis’ wise words, keep reading to see what came next for more child actors who made a splash in Oscar-nominated movies:

This post was originally published on E! Online

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