In many ways, Mallory James Mahoney is a typical, quiet 11-year-old girl from Fort Worth.
She is a straight-A student in gifted and talented classes at River Trails Elementary School, winning citizenship awards every year. She has two dogs she creatively named herself: A Great Pyrenees that answers to the name Botticelli, and a Golden-Doodle known affectionately as Bark Wahlberg. Her love of animals was her inspiration to become a vegetarian at age six.
However, most 11-year-olds are not professional actresses.
The quiet girl started her acting career with a Chuck E. Cheese commercial and has been working in television and film ever since.
Lauren Lungerrich, the creator of MTV’s Awkward, directed Mahoney in the ABC Family pilot, Tough Cookie, as she played the lead role of Cookie.
She also appeared on the FOX pilot of Sober Companion with Justin Long and Nick Frost. For that role, she had to transform her blonde locks to dark brown.
Toby Halbrook directed her in Dig, a short film that eventually went on to Sundance Film Festival.
Recently she was cast for a reoccurring role on Day 5, a web series by RoosterTeeth productions. And this holiday season she will appear in Heaven Sent, a movie directed by Michael Landon, Jr. Her co-stars include Ernie Hudson, Christian Kane, and Marley Shelton.
Her parents, Michael Mahoney and Natalie Griffin Mahoney, marvel at their normally quiet daughter’s acting prowess.
Natalie Mahoney said she remembers asking her daughter: “Mallory, you aren't the type of kid who has to be the center of attention. In fact, you tend to shy away from the spotlight in everyday life. How can you get in front of all those cameras and be on stage and do all of these amazing things that are so different from who you are?”
Her response was simple, according to her mother: “Easy mommy; that's not me up there. I'm pretending to be someone else.’”
In Disney Channel’s remake of Adventure of Babysitting, Mahoney tackles her biggest role yet as Katy Cooper. While still in Los Angeles, Mahoney answered a few questions about her acting career, Adventures in Babysitting, and balancing acting and school.
NBC DFW: How did you start acting?
MALLORY JAMES MAHONEY: When I was 5 years old my parents took me to a children's play (Stuart Little). I was amazed with all the actors. When the play ended, I turned to my mom and said I want to do that. Both my parents smiled and said, "I'm not so sure you would really like acting," because I'm on the shy side. I continued to ask them for almost a year and then they decided to put me in local theater. I think so I would see how scary it was and stop bugging them about it. Our director of the play at Casa Mañana in Fort Worth called my parents to ask if I would like to have a solo in the play. My mom and dad didn't even know I auditioned for a solo! That's when they decided I wasn't so shy, but maybe just on the introverted side, which is still true today.
Soon after that, I decided I wanted to do commercials and to be on film and television. I was lucky enough that Dee Ann Vernon from the Kim Dawson Agency saw me at an acting showcase and agreed to sign me. She then introduced me to my acting coach Cathryn Sullivan from Acting For Film. I still train with Cathryn today. She has taught me so much and helped me grow as an actor. I was at an Acting For Film seminar when I performed for my now LA agent Jennifer Patredis. She is amazing. I feel so lucky to have such an amazing support team around me. My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles all support me and encourage me in whatever I choose to do. I would be completely lost without all of my family members, my agents in Texas and in Los Angeles, and my acting coach. They all really listen to what I want. Then help me achieve what I want for myself! They're always there to help me believe in myself.
NBC DFW: What was the most fun scene in Adventures in Babysitting to film?
MJM: Every scene was awesome to film, honestly! I loved rap battle, but being the girly girl that I am and playing the girly girl that Katy Cooper is, both makeover scenes for Jenny (Sabrina Carpenter) and Lola (Sofia Carson) were completely amazing. We laughed so much while filming them. I also really enjoyed shooting Katy Cooper's own makeover scene with red lipstick and earrings!
NBC DFW: Which babysitter in the movie is your favorite? And why?
MJM: There's no way I could choose only one! Because, they both definitely had special strengths. Jenny (played by Sabrina Carpenter) made you always feel safe and taken care of. She always puts the children first. Lola (played by Sofia Carson) was always fun to be around, and everything was always exciting. She taught you to live in the moment.
NBC DFW: How do you balance your school work and acting?
MJM: It can definitely be challenging. School is very important to me and my parents. I'm a straight-A student and I work very hard to keep it that way. When I'm filming, a SAG set teacher is provided for me. I also have hired two tutors to make sure my grades stay up where they need to be so I can remain a straight-A student. My parents always say: if my school work starts to slide, then it's goodbye acting world. School comes first!
Many people don't realize that when child actors are filming a movie or TV show, they still have to do a full day of school, learn all their lines and blocking, then film a full day. But, even with all of that I wouldn't change a thing, I love acting so much!
NBC DFW: Do you want to continue acting into your teens and adulthood and what do you love most about acting?
MJM: As of right now, absolutely! I really can't imagine wanting to do anything else more. My parents are always saying that I'm young and I still have my whole life ahead of me. I have plenty of time to change my mind and do whatever I want to do, to be whoever I want to be. But, honestly I love being me!
The best part about acting is you get to be somebody different. I love roles that challenge me. I love comedy and drama. It really just depends on what type of character I'm playing. My acting coach, Cathryn, taught me that every character has something unique. I love figuring out what that is as well as what works and doesn't work for them. How each character ticks and getting to put my own spin on it! I love talking to the writer and director of a film to really learn what each character is about. I love reading scripts or auditioning to get to see what type of film or show is going to come out. Acting life is very exciting!