Child star Rivkah Reyes is opening up about the cost of fame at a young age, a timely topic given the conversation launched after Framing Britney Spears.
Reyes, who played bass player Katie in 2003's School of Rock, explained to The New York Post how being sexualized at a young age took a toll on them later in life. (The actor uses the gender-neutral pronouns they/them.) It also led to addiction and self-harm.
Reyes landed the role in the Jack Black film at age 10. They said they soon "felt unsafe existing," explaining they feel a "kind of parallel" to Britney Spears's story. After playing the schoolgirl onscreen, grown men started commenting about how they couldn't "wait 'til she's 18" on internet message boards. One man tried to take pictures of them in sixth grade while at school, which became an unpleasant place for many reasons.
"Especially after production wrapped, when I first came back to school, people were really nice or really mean. There was no middle ground," Reyes recalled. "I was literally followed around the school with people chanting 'School of Rock.'"
Reyes became "a raging addict," using food, drugs, sex, alcohol and self-harm as coping mechanisms from ages 14 to 24, per the Post. Reyes was convinced they'd never be anything but "the girl from School of Rock." They hoped if they could land a bigger role in the industry, the bullying would stop.
But Reyes, now 28, has no regrets about doing the film.
"It was nothing but love and support," Reyes said of the experience. "I have never lost gratitude for that, or wish that I wasn’t part of it."
In fact, the School of Rock kids all keep in touch. Reyes shared that there is a group text with the actors and the former co-stars have had various reunions through the years.
Now, Reyes is focused on their next chapter after overcoming "a lot of demons." They will launch a podcast this spring called Where Are We Now, which will give other child stars a platform.
"To quote Britney," they said, "I'm stronger than yesterday."
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