Fairuza Balk was a hot commodity in the 1990s, lending her signature goth-punk flavor to popular films of every genre. And then, just like that, she disappeared from the spotlight. It was a curious move for a child star who had successfully transitioned into adult acting roles. But The Craft star had legitimate reasons for stepping away from the limelight. And although she’s mostly walked away from red carpets and magazine interviews, she remains committed to various creative pursuits. Find out what’s up with Fairuza Balk now that she’s living a more low-key existence.
Fairuza Balk’s Acting Career Took Off During The 90s
Fairuza Balk was born into a family of creatives and spent the bulk of her childhood moving between big cities for acting roles. She officially began her career at 9 in the 1983 made-for-TV film The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Fans might also remember her role as Dorothy in 1985’s Return to Oz. By 1992, she earned an Independent Spirit Award for the indie film Gas Food Lodging.
Balk returned to her native California in the early 1990s and was cast in the teen cult classic The Craft. The film sealed her reputation as the hot chick with a dark side—especially since she bought an occult shop while filming the movie. Balk played up that persona in popular films of every genre: comedy (The Waterboy), drama (American History X), sci-fi (The Island of Dr. Moreau).
Check out a classic scene from The Craft for a blast from the past:
When she wasn’t on screen, Balk established an adjacent career as a voice actor. She can be heard in animated programs and video games, including Justice League, Family Guy, and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
Around 2000, the public saw less of Balk. Acting roles came in spurts, but she generally kept a low profile. It turns out she had made a deliberate decision to step away from the spotlight; years later, she went on the record to explain why.
She Grew Tired Of The “Strange Bubble” Of Hollywood
Balk didn’t fade out for lack of talent. In 2013, she told Dread Central that she wanted to be selective about her roles.
“I always want to stay interested; I never just want to work for the sake of working,” she said. “There has to be ‘something’ there for me so that I can grow from the experience. I’ve never just taken a job because I wanted the check—I took the job because either I wanted to do something really crazy… There has to be something interesting for me or I don’t want to do it.”
She also slowed down for the sake of her sanity. In 2020, she told the Los Angeles Times that she had grown tired of the way she was packaged for an audience.
“[In] my late 20s I stepped away from doing a lot of press because people just kept taking my words and rearranging them the wrong way and just depicting me as this crazy bad girl and it just really got old,” she said. “They weren’t really listening to what I was actually saying, they just collected sound bites from other interviews that had misquoted me. So I just felt like ‘OK, I can’t win.’”
The actress continued to talk about the pressures of Hollywood, and how she didn’t quite fit the mold.
“Also, Hollywood is a very strange bubble, a very strange world, and some of the things—as the general public is starting to find out—some of the elements of that game are things I just couldn’t do. I’m just not wired that way or brought up that way. I had to step back for my own well-being and sense of self-preservation.”
Is She Still Acting?
Balk still loves acting and has appeared in a couple of recent projects. She currently stars in the Prime Video series Paradise City; her last TV gig before that was in 2015 on Showtime’s Ray Donavan. She also had a cameo in 2020’s The Craft: Legacy—the sequel to the film that kickstarted her mainstream career.
Despite appearing in the sequel to The Craft, Balk told the LA Times that she hasn’t seen it and doesn’t plan on seeing it. She claimed that she stopped watching her work years ago. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t still excited about acting.
“Well acting, hopefully, I’ll be able to do for the rest of my life,” she told the LA Times. “That was the goal.”
But Balk added a caveat, saying. “I love to do the actual work but the rest of it is not suited to everybody, let’s put it that way.”
What Is Fairuza Balk Doing In 2021?
When Balk’s not acting, she is busy working in every other creative medium. She creates fine art, works in ink, and art prints that are available on her own website.
“I started looking into and spending more time on other art forms that I really enjoy and I’m far happier for it,” Balk told the LA Times. She added that she’s currently into metalsmithing, a skill she’s learning from her multi-talented father.
She also releases music under the name Armed Love Militia. In May, she announced that she made all previous ALM tracks available via streaming services. Balk plans to record more songs this year—and she hopes to tap her dad as a collaborator on some of that new work.
“I’ve always looked at my career from the perspective of ‘When I look back on this, what will I think? Will this project be something that I’m glad that I did? Is it going to say anything?’…” she asked. “You have to be OK with yourself and the work that you do enough to just release what you’ve done into the world and let that be OK.”