Acting Her Age

by Julie Shannon, South Jersey Magazine Vol.14 Issue 12 page 76

Aaralyn Anderson can very well be the next big childhood star. Appearing alongside Jonah Hill and Emma Stone in a highly-anticipated Netflix show could certainly help her cause.

If the name Aaralyn Anderson doesn’t immediately ring a bell don’t worry it soon will. Thanks to a recent string of acting credits on some popular television shows the spunky and adorable 8 year old actress is quickly making her name known in the entertainment industry.

And while she is gaining new fans in Hollywood, in her home town of Clayton NJ she has been somewhat of a star since she was a baby. Her mother, Heather Fanz Anderson, recalls trips to the grocery store that lasted much longer than expected because of the amount of people who would stop and compliment her daughter.

“People used to stop and tell me, ‘Oh, she should be one of those baby models,'” Fanz Anderson says. “I think it was because she wore giant bows; I always had her dressed like a baby doll.”

It wasn’t long before one of Heather’s friends, who used to be a child model, passed along her manager’s contact information and things started to come together.

“It was a joke to me in the beginning, but a couple of weeks later, it took me 2 hours to get milk and bread because every corner I turned in the store, someone stopped me to see her,” she recalls. “Then I send an email to [my friend’s] manager and she picked Aaralyn up right away.”

What started out as a “joke” turned into numerous commercials before the age of 3, and eventually led to her first acting gig at the age of 5 in The Good Wife. Since then Anderson has become a young actress in high demand regularly making trips to New York City for auditions – sometimes up to three to four times a week at any given notice. That was the case for one of her biggest additions to date.

“I received an email at 9:30 in the morning saying we had to be there [in New York City] at 11:45.” Heather recalls. “We got there at 11:44. Don’t ask me how but we did it. And then we received a call on our way home saying she got a call back and they needed her back the next day.”

Aaralyn secured the role, but it wasn’t until a few days later she was given the real name of the show – Maniac – with her name listed after Jonah Hill and Emma Stone on the script.

Maniac which also stars Justin Theroux and Sally Field, as a dark-comedy based on the 2014 Norwegian series about a man who creates a fantasy life in his mind while his reality is spent in a mental institution.

Directed by Cary Fukunaga, known for directing and executive producing the popular HBO series, True Detective, it is set to premiere on Netflix sometime this year. The show is generating a lot of buzz, but nothing else besides the Premier Inn cast has been released. Aaralyn isn’t even allowed to talk about her character Belle Milgrim even with some nudging by us. She will also be appearing and an upcoming episode on the ABC show, What Would You Do this summer.



When she isn’t taking the acting real by storm and anxiously awaiting the premiere of maniac Aaralyn is home in South Jersey being a normal kid– hanging out with friends taking dance classes and always makes time for the Jersey Shore.

Finding time to relax at home…
I’m in South Jersey quite often and back home it’s normal life I like the fun activities here Garden State Discovery Museum is my favorite place to go to and we can drive to the beach and see friends that live nearby Ocean City it’s the best beach the pier with the rides is very fun.

Falling In Love With The Craft…
There are so many reasons why I love acting. The first thing I like about acting as I get to be different characters and it’s fun because the characters don’t have the same personality as me which is fun … It’s fun to be other people.

A stage performer too…
It’s really different from acting in front of the camera. My part in the Off-Broadway show BALLYTURK actually is one of the tiniest rolls I’ve had but one of the most pivotal and one of the coolest roles. The actors are also really cool because they’ve been doing this play for 5 years in Ireland.

On the Buzz for maniac…
I know a lot of people are talking about it and it hasn’t even come out yet. There’s not a trailer not a cover for the show there’s nothing. I’m sorry but I cannot reveal anything about my character. It builds suspense!

Surrounded by stars…
It was a very cool feeling. I didn’t get to work with Sally Field but Emma Stone and Jonah Hill are really nice and they are kind of funny. Very very funny actually. … I am very very very excited for maniac to come out. I can’t wait for the premier because I want to see everyone. After spending so much time with everybody you miss them when they are not around.

Chasing her next dream…
I would like to be in a feature film because that has been one of my dreams since I started acting.

ref: orig publication