The recent documentary Framing Britney Spears has caused many observers to reevaluate their feelings about the pop star and perhaps question some of their own reactions they had at the time. In addition, it has also provided a platform for many former child stars to come forward to talk about their own experiences. Some have very positive recollections of what they went through, but unfortunately, there are quite a few that either do not or have deeply mixed feelings about their formative years. School Of Rock’s Rivkah Reyes falls into that latter camp, as they dealt with bullying, parental expectations, disgusting comments from older men, self-doubt and eventually battled addictions and disorders that came from it.
Rivkah Reyes, who played Katie in the movie, opened up about their experiences, first in a long and thoughtful essay on Medium that was published last year and more recently in an interview with the New York Post. Throughout it all, they were extremely candid about what happened and how hard it can be for a young actor trying to juggle all those feelings. It’s especially complicated too because it wasn’t all good or all bad.
The experience on the set with their co-stars and the other kids was apparently great. They still keep in touch with many in a group text message, and Reyes had nothing but great things to say about Jack Black. He's been open about how proud he is of the movie (as he should be), and he apparently has attended some of Reyes' comedy and theater shows over the years and still stays in touch. Some of the kids in school were nice too, but many of them were not, which caused Reyes to regularly switch schools and hope for fresh starts. Unfortunately, the same cycle would happen again, and it was made all the worse by the adults in their life who behaved inappropriately. Here’s a portion of their essay…
On message boards (what a time 2003 was), grown men would sexualize me, commenting, ‘The bassist is going to grow up to be hot’ and ‘Can’t wait ’til she’s 18.’ My mom would read the comments online for hours on end, relaying all of the negative ones to me. When I was in sixth grade, a strange man in a trench coat came to my school and tried to take photos of me, and absolutely nothing was done about it. For the first time, I felt unsafe existing. When my parents brought this to my school’s administration, the principal said, ‘I guess that’s the price of fame.’ I was transferred to a smaller private school immediately. ‘What a relief,’ I thought. ‘I can start fresh, leave the bullies and stalkers behind. I won’t even mention School of Rock. I can go back to being a kid.’
Unfortunately, those transitions to other schools didn’t work. Even if Reyes didn’t bring up School Of Rock, it wouldn’t take long for kids to recognize their face, and the process would immediately start over again. This led Reyes to cope by using “drugs, alcohol, sex, food and self-harm” to numb what was going on. Fortunately, there has started to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Reyes has been sober for two years and for the first time in a long time, has started answering “yes” when people ask if they’re the kid from School Of Rock.
Being in the public eye is very stressful. I’m a nobody who writes on the internet, and when people send me mean emails or negative social media comments, I find that to be extremely stressful. I can’t imagine what real celebrities go through. Being a kid makes it so much worse too. Every feeling is that much more intense, and there isn’t the life experience to understand it will go away. Bravo to Rivkah Reyes for getting to the other side, and thanks for your contributions to School Of Rock. It’s a great movie, and it still holds up every single time I watch it.