Alex felt like a real 13-year-old trying to make sense of her life, with or without the ability to melt into a puddle or zap things with her fingers.
For those who weren’t raised by Nickelodeon, it’s difficult to convey what a smash The Secret World of Alex Mack was. lead-in on the Saturday night line-up SNICK, replacing the similarly iconic-to-millennials Clarissa Explains It All in 1994.
She even returned to the world of teen television with an arc on Pretty Little Liars.
The way Oleynik sees it, acting is a relationship, and as long as she’s checking in with herself and making sure she still enjoys it, she’s glad to keep doing it.
It helps that the hard-work aspect of being a character actor is something she treasures.
When Baghdaddy came along, it was exactly the kind of endurance test she was looking for.“I always find things that are challenging, but for me, roles like this come up about once every five years,” she said.
“Whatever life this show has or doesn’t have, it is a reminder of the way that you want to feel in your work and the kinds of stuff you want to be seeking out.
It’s always more fun when you’re challenging every part of yourself.” That challenge included dancing.
The series, which centered on a teen girl who gains superpowers in a freak accident and wears a lot of era-appropriate hats, doesn't veer far from Oleynik's current aesthetic, most notable when she shows up for an interview in overalls and a red flannel.“I walk around in cosplay of [Alex Mack],” she told Buzz Feed News while laughing. Since the series ended, she’s had roles in film and TV, as well as theater, where she got her start as an 8-year-old in a San Francisco production of Les Misérables.But her first time being recognized in public was a wake-up call. “At a certain point, I lost some anonymity, and that was a bummer.”While Oleynik stayed grounded — with help from Nickelodeon, which she said wanted to let its young actors lead normal lives — she did have moments of discomfort with her new public persona. ”) More importantly, she was glad to be a part of something that resonated with people.She was going through the rough early teen years that most of us would have rather spent hiding behind closed doors. As the show’s popularity rose, Oleynik continued to strive for normalcy.For another, those who were familiar with her work knew her as a teen star, which meant she had to reintroduce herself as an adult actor.But that endeavor didn’t bother her — she appreciated that she was going out for smaller, more character-driven roles in movies and guest spots on TV shows.“I liked kind of starting over and having a little bit of a clean slate,” she said.