A Little Princess is a beloved childhood classic, and the film turns 20 this year. In the process of rewatching the movie so we could reminisce about its empowered, hopeful message, we also had to pause many times to investigate what the cast members were up to now. This led us to connect with Vanessa Lee Chester, who played Becky in the film. She was only nine when she was cast as Miss Minchin's scullery maid, and it was her first-ever feature role.
How does Chester remember A Little Princess? "It's just such a special story with so much heart and so many beautiful themes and elements in it," she told Refinery29. "As a kid, I knew the film was special, but it wasn't until I started getting messages on Instagram and Twitter that I really started to understand the impact it had on little girls. I love it when fans tell me they used to pretend I was their best friend as a child. I had no idea my character was that loved!"
Director Alfonso Cuarón, who's now known for helming more adult fare like Gravity, was also a dream to work with. "I think my favorite memory from the set would involve bright pink foam rollers and Alfonso's luscious locks," Chester says. "He had amazing jet-black curly hair in which the girls and I would put pink rollers. I mean, how could you not love him for letting us do that? Not only was he a good sport, [but] he would direct in the curlers for hours."
Chester recalls having a blast on-set. "It was never-ending jokes, giggles, and pranks. Liesel [Matthews, who played Sara] and I went through a stage where we became poker experts. We would bet sticks of gum from craft service in between takes. I became unnaturally skilled at poker for a nine-year-old."
She still keeps in touch with some members of the cast on social media, but told R29 that, "It would be really nice to have a reunion with all the gals." Since we couldn't quite arrange that, what with scheduling issues and one of the original cast members crushing it on Game of Thrones, we compiled this virtual round-up as a way to check in with the stars of A Little Princess, 20 years later. Here's what they're up to now.