You are on your first set. There are little tables, with little chairs arranged around them, and other kids who are playing with glue and glitter—although they’re not really playing; they are doing what the director told them to do. You are also doing what the director told you to do. You look in the little plastic bowl in front of you. You get up and grab a box of Life Cereal off of a high shelf. You take it back to your table and pour it into your bowl until it is over flowing. You take a handful of cereal and put it in your mouth. You get up and strike a pose. The audience feels love, joy, and a slight pang of hunger. The director yells “cut.”
Joey King began her career when she was four years old. Most children by age four—WebMD claims—should be able to get along with people outside the family, draw circles and squares, and ride a tricycle. Since that commercial, King has appeared in 22 films and 14 TV shows. Now 16, she has starred opposite Colin Hanks, Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Jeff Goldblum, Liam Hemsworth, James Franco, Jamie Foxx, and Selena Gomez. King has nine projects on the radar—among them this summer’s extraterrestrial fun bath, Independence Day: Resurgence.
Given this résumé, it’s no surprise that when I ask King what she likes to do on vacation, her answer is, “Vacation? That’s a fun word. I usually don’t do that.” Despite a lack of downtime, King leaves room for spontaneity, “One of my favorite adventures that I ever went on is when me and my older sister Kelli were sitting, painting our nails together, it was 1 PM and she was like, ‘Hey, I kinda want to go to Disneyland today,’ and I was like ‘Hey, me too.’ So, we literally just got up and, just the two of us, went to Disneyland.”
While she scales the precipices of Hollywood, and increasingly, the world of fashion—King appeared front row at several New York Fashion Week shows, and attended Chanel’s “I Love Coco” event last spring in L.A. alongside pal Rowan Blanchard (featured in Flaunt's Secrets issue)—she does take some moments to look down. “When I was nine years old, I don’t think I realized the gravity of what it meant to be the lead in a studio film [as Ramona Quimby in Ramona and Beezus (2010)] and now I’m like, ‘Whoa, wow, I did that!’ And that’s crazy. I was still just as excited then but I have not lost that wonderment at all. I think it’s even gotten greater because I understand the gravity of what I’m doing.”