After an audition or a shoot, Mom and I sometimes go to a mall—The Beverly Center or Westfield Century City. Mom watches the way people look at us when we pass. Men, and even boys my age, will follow her with their eyes. I see them, and even though Mom pretends she doesn’t, I know she sees them too. I know because she sways her hips a little more and lifts her chin a little higher.

We’ll sift through stores, sometimes buying a new shirt or jeans or a pair of shoes, but we’re not there for shopping. Before we leave, we’ll sit and have a coffee in the middle of an atrium, Mom letting her eyes drift from person to person. While she gathers silent attention, I seek out girls my age. They’re always clumped in groups of three or four, sometimes five. When I’m with Clarissa, she mocks those girls.

“Oh my God, could you be more immature?” she’ll say.

But I’m jealous and overwhelmed with a sense of loneliness. I feel the same way about them that I do about Zach—that I want to be them. I want to smile and giggle and whip at each other’s hair. I want to link my arms with theirs and stomp through the mall wearing a sweatshirt with the name of my high school on it. I’m in the television show looking out into the real world, and all I want to do is shatter the glass.

(from Beautiful Girl)