Little House on the Prairie star Alison Arngrim wouldn’t describe her life as “smooth” in a recent interview. The Actress played the iconic Nellie Oleson on the hit series. Nellie was the quintessential mean girl and a fantastic antagonist to Laura Ingalls.
But while Arngrim got the unique experience of starring on a classic show, her life was far from easy. The now-comedian discussed this with Voyage LA last December.
“‘Smooth’ is definitely not a word that would describe my life!” she said when asked about her path to where she is today. “It’s really worked out great, but I was off to a rocky start from the beginning, I am a survivor of child sexual abuse, I was bullied at school, pathologically shy – you name it. Getting the role of Nellie at age 12 was quite the turning point.”
You would never guess that Arngrim was shy, but as a child, she was. Playing the role of Nellie gave her room to explore her own confidence.
“Instead of being afraid of my own shadow, I was suddenly playing a character that other people were afraid of. And because of the character’s constant tantrums and fits, I had a wonderful safe place to release all my rage and tension,” she said.
Arngrim Really Connected with People on the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Set
Arngrim is viewed as one of the best actors that was on the show at the time. She displayed a certain range and ability to express that showed clear acting ability. But for her, the gift of Little House on the Prairie didn’t stop behind the camera. She also got close with people on set. All of the kids bonded with Michael Landon, and Arngrim and Laura Ingalls actress Melissa Gilbert became fast friends.
“The combination of that, and the fact that the cast and crew of Little House were so kind and supportive, made the set very safe and healing place for me. Afterwards, there was the usual typecasting and the difficulties many child stars face adjusting to adult life, which combined with my childhood history of abuse made things quite the challenge,” she said.
It took her a while, but she received mental health treatment and continued to pursue stand up comedy.
“Luckily, a combination of good professional therapy and a career in stand up comedy did wonders!” she finished.
Arngrim does a ton of standup comedy about Little House on the Prairie. She even had a one woman show called Confessions of a Prairie B*tch about what it was like playing Nellie, and how fans responded to her.
Arngrim’s journey hasn’t been “smooth” but it appears its gotten her to a great place with plenty of upcoming projects and shows up ahead.