"I didn't see myself continuing as Dawn because I like to have diversity in my roles. A lot of people are like: 'Oh my God! Little Dawn grew up!' and as much as I love you guys, suck it up." Michelle Trachtenberg
Of Russian and German descent, actress Michelle Trachtenberg first came to fame while portraying Buffy's younger sister, Dawn Summers, on the hit teen horror series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2000-2003). Michelle, who is the actress that played autistic Lily Montgomery (1993-1996) on the soap opera All My Children, was recently seen as ice skater Casey Carlyle in Tim Fywell's Ice Princess (2005).
Blue-eyed, brown-haired Trachtenberg, who stands at 5' 7" inches tall, was listed as one of Teen People's "20 Teens Who Will Change the World." As for her off screen life, the young actress has been involved with X-Men actor Shawn Ashmore since 2004.
Trachtenberg has paid attention to other teenager's lives. She became the spokesperson for several anti-drug charity organizations including R.A.D.D., DARE America, and The Starlight Foundation, while the CNN headquarters in Atlanta selected her to represent the American youth in former president Clinton's launching of "The Coalition for Drug Free America" campaign.
Childhood and Family:
On October 11, 1985, Michelle Christine Trachtenberg was born to actress-turned-puppeteer mother Lana and fiber optics engineer father Michael. She has one older sister named Irene. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Michelle attended the Bay Academy Junior High School in Brooklyn. She continued her studies at the Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California, from which she graduated with Social Studies and Religion awards and was listed with the California Scholarship Federation. She later was reported to have been accepted in the UCLA Film School.
"I love gardening. I think it's very therapeutic when you're having a bad day. I love tennis. I tried gymnastics at one point, but my tush got a whole lot of black and blue so that wasn't fun." Michelle Trachtenberg
Michelle Trachtenberg, nicknamed Mitchie, loves to garden, play tennis, swim, go rollerblading, ice-skating and bicycle in her free time. She also enjoys creating beaded jewelry and writing short stories and poems.
"One day I'd like to win an Oscar. But, I tell my mom if I ever get to be rude and demanding to let me know and I'll stop it. I don't want to be an actor like that." Michelle Trachtenberg
Initiating her public appearance as the face for printed-ads for the toy store Kids 'R' Us, Michelle Trachtenberg arrived on the small screen as the three-year-old model for Whisk detergent commercials. She subsequently was involved in several commercials ranging from Panasonic, Fuji, Kraft, and Kleenex to Hoover. She also splashed in an episode of the series Law and Order in 1991 and Clarissa Explains It All in 1993 (with child actress Melissa Joan Hart).
Michelle finally got a regular role in 1993 when she landed a three-year contract (1993-1996) to portray the character of autistic Lily Benton Montgomery on ABC's well-known soap, All My Children. In the next year, 8-year-old Michelle later played Nona Mecklenberg for two years (1994-1996) in the hit Nickelodeon show, The Adventures of Pete and Pete.
The successful feature film, Harriet the Spy (1996, teamed with Rosie O'Donnell), was Michelle's silver screen debut. Director Bronwen Hughes handed her the title role in his family drama film, an adaptation of Louise Fitzhugh's novel. She also made her TV movie debut playing Noelle Murphy in Jerry London's CBS movie, Christmas in My Hometown (1996, alongside Tim Matheson and Melissa Gilbert). In 1997, Michelle was cast in another TV series, the CBS' sci-fi comedy Meego (starring Bronson Pinchot), as daughter Maggie Parker. Meanwhile, she could be seen as a guest in the series Dave's World, Space Cases, and Blue's Clues as well as becoming a guest panelist on the Nickelodeon game show, Figure It Out.
Another motion picture came in. Michelle won the role of Gloria in the family comedy, Richie Rich's Christmas Wish (1998, starring David Gallagher), helmed by John Murlowski. In the following year, Michelle gained notice for playing the role of Matthew Broderick's niece, Penny, in David Kellogg's popular family comedy movie, Inspector Gadget (1999).
During 2000, Michelle could be seen in Christopher Cain's TV movie, A Father's Choice (as Kelly McClain, starring Peter Strauss) and in the big screen romance-comedy, Can't Be Heaven (as Julie, directed by Richard Friedman).
Michelle's breakout role was that of Dawn Summers, Sarah Michelle Gellar's (Buffy) kid sister in the hit WB's teen horror series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which she portrayed the role from 2000 to 2003. Besides working in the series, Michelle also became the host of 2001's the Discovery Kids' Truth or Scare and the popular Mad TV.
Michelle's acting roles continued to flourish in the next years. During 2004 she acted in such films as Jeff Schaffer's adventure-comedy Euro Trip (playing Jenny) and in Gregg Araki's adaptation of Scott Heim's novel, Mysterious Skin (playing Wendy). She also had a recurring role in the HBO's praised series, Six Feet Under (as Celeste) and appeared in Trapt's music video, Echo.
"I thought it was a really good, inspiring story. An ice-skating movie hadn't been done in a long, long time. I also knew what a passion people have for ice-skating. I loved it when I was a little girl." Michelle Trachtenberg
In 2005 Michelle nabbed another role. Tim Fywell cast her as ice skater champ Casey Carlyle, joined with Joan Cusack, Kim Cattrall, and Trevor Blumas, in his family-comedy movie Ice Princess. Trachtenberg's on-screen boyfriend, Trevor Blumas, commented, "She'd obviously been attached to the project a lot longer and was a lot more familiar. And she was really good at making me feel comfortable and it was a lot of fun. And, I think there's a lot of charisma between us, which I think helped the film."
As for her upcoming film projects, Trachtenberg is scheduled to play roles in Richard Zelniker's drama comedy Vinyl (opposite Thora Birch and Anna Faris) and in Deepika Daggubati's Odd Girl Out (costarring with Taryn Manning).
"My confidence comes from me, Michelle, as a person. I don't necessarily believe that I will act and be a lead forever, but I want to continue to act for a long time. I love to do what I do." Michelle Trachtenberg.