Alice in Wonderland
Former child star Tina Majorino began acting at age two-and-a-half in a suburban production of "Alice in Wonderland" and secured a regular role on the sitcom "Camp Wilder" by the age of seven. She played Andy Garcia and Meg Ryan’s daughter in When a Man Loves a Woman (1994) and Ray Liotta's emotionally troubled daughter in Corrina, Corrina (1994) before landing her first film lead role in that year's children's film, Andre. She then played Enola, the girl who has the map of Dryland tattooed on her back, in Waterworld (1995) and portrayed the titular character in the acclaimed made-for-television Alice in Wonderland (1999).
After taking a 5-year hiatus, Tina, one of the E! Networks "50 Cutest Child Stars All Grown Up," returned as the title role’s best friend/love interest Deb in Napoleon Dynamite (2004) and as computer genius Cindy "Mac" Mackenzie (2004-Present) in “Veronica Mars.” Next up, the 5' 5" blue-eyed actress will co-star opposite Shane West and Bijou Phillips in What We Do Is Secret, an upcoming biopic of punk legend Darby Crash and his band, the Germs.
Besides acting, Tina is a professional dancer and the lead singer of The AM Project.
Childhood and Family:
Of Italian descent, Tina Marie Majorino was born on February 7, 1985, in Westlake, California, to Sarah and Bob Majorino. She has an older brother named Kevin. At age 15, she graduated high school.
Tina, who has a black belt in Tang Soo Do, enjoys surfing and running during her free time. She also likes singing and playing the piano.
When asked if she felt that she missed out on a normal childhood while pursuing an acting career, Tina replied, "No, because I chose to have the childhood that I had. I was not pushed into the business by anything other than my own ambition and my own dream of wanting to act. And I think that even though I don't have a bunch of cool stories about those great proms, I have great stories of my own about places that I've gone to that a lot of people have never gotten to go to. I'm so grateful for the experiences I've had. I've had great opportunities and have met great people. I'm completely satisfied with how I grew up and the choices I made."
Cute Kid Growing Up
"My mother always kept trying to scare me out of being an actress. but It didn't work. It's always been my dream to be on stage and entertaining people." Tina Majorino
At the tender age of two-and-a-half, Tina Majorino made her stage debut as an oyster in a suburban production of "Alice in Wonderland." She was enrolled in dance and voice classes and at age three, she began appearing in dance recitals. She later made her first TV commercial at age three-and-a-half.
"When I was little, I used to watch lots of movies and I always wanted to be on the screen, so I asked my mom. She thought I was joking and she laughed." Tina Majorino
At age seven, Tina secured a regular role as Sophie Wilder on the sitcom "Camp Wilder." Her performance was nominated for a Young Artist Award for Outstanding Actress Under Ten in a Television Series. She followed it up with her feature acting debut in director Luis Mandoki's 1994 romantic drama When a Man Loves a Woman, portraying the daughter of Andy Garcia and Meg Ryan’s lead characters.
"Tina Majorino, the little girl, is like my best friend on the set. I tell her all these great inside jokes that only me and like five other people on the planet know." ("Camp Wilder" co-star Jay Mohr)
That same year, in 1994, Tina snagged her first film lead role in George Miller's children's film, Andre, adapted from the true story-based book by Harry Goodridge and Lew Dietz. Her turn as a nine-year-old girl named Toni Whitney, who befriends an orphaned baby seal, received a nomination at the Young Artist Awards for Best Performance by an Actress Under Ten in a Motion Picture. Also that year, she portrayed Ray Liotta's emotionally troubled daughter, who is taken care of by Whoopi Goldberg, in writer-director Jessie Nelson's romantic drama comedy film set in Los Angeles circa 1959, Corrina, Corrina.
"I love Jessie. She's really got every character in her mind; what she wants them to do, what she wants them to say, what feelings they have." Tina Majorino (on Corrina, Corrina director Jessie Nelson)
The subsequent year, Tina was cast as Enola, a young girl with the map of Dryland tattooed on her back, in Kevin Reynolds' sci-fi film Waterworld, alongside Kevin Costner. In 1997, she received applause for her solid performance as the sensitive nine-year-old daughter of an abusive alcoholic mother (played by Ellen Barkin) in the acclaimed ABC movie Before Women Had Wings, which earned her nominations at the Young Artist Awards (for Best Performance in a TV Movie/Pilot/Mini-Series - Supporting Young Actress) and YoungStar Awards (for Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Miniseries/Made-for-TV Movie).
In 1999, Tina was nominated for a YoungStar Award again, this time for Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Mini-Series/Made for TV Film, for her portrayal as the titular character in the NBC’s Emmy-winning, made-for-TV movie Alice in Wonderland, based upon Lewis Carroll's books. Nick Willing, director of the television movie commented about Tina, "She's the only sane character in this insane world. At 13, Tina was already self-possessed to know what she had to do."
"Growing up in general is difficult for everyone. Ordinarily during the stage of your life when you're going through your adolescence and you're completely awkward and uncomfortable, the rest of the world isn't watching you with bated breath. It's different when you're an actor and you choose to work your way through that period because it only makes it worse. Taking 5 years off was the best decision I've made so far, for myself and for my career. People always say, ‘But you could've been so famous by now if you would've just worked during those 5 years!’ I'm not in it for the fame and it's definitely not worth it to me to have the fame but no sense of who I am whatsoever. I didn't want to become so many of the young people I've worked with who have money, fame, and success, but don't know who they are as people. At the end of the day, just because one of your films does well at the box office, that doesn't make you a good person. It doesn't make you strong, smart, or secure either. I'd rather have those three things and know that if I decided to quit this job tomorrow that I could make it comfortably through the rest of my life because I know myself very well, then have fame and a bunch of money that's never going to buy me a manual to me." Tina Majorino (on why she quit acting for 5 years)
After taking a 5-year hiatus, grown-up Tina retuned to the silver screen in Jared Hess' directorial debut, Napoleon Dynamite, which made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2004. In the film, with Jon Heder in the title role, Tina co-starred as Deb, Heder's best friend and love interest. The two were nominated for a Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Love Scene.
"I really love Deb because she knows she's different from other kids, but she completely embraces it. She sees the sweetness in everyone, especially Napoleon, who all the other kids just make fun of. She bases her decisions about people on their insides. All of the mannerisms and nuances of the character's personality is a mixture of Jared's vision of Deb and my own." Tina Majorino (on her character Deb in Napoleon Dynamite, 2004)
She also returned to the small screen, playing the regular role of Cindy 'Mac' Mackenzie (2004-Present) in the acclaimed teen series starring Kristen Bell, "Veronica Mars." Meanwhile, she appeared in the films Think Tank, a comedy by writer-director Brian Petersen, and A Sharp, a short drama by Malle Jensen. She guest starred in an episode of CBS’ drama series "Without a Trace" and co-starred with Dana Davis, Peter Dinklage and Dave Foley in the TV movie Testing Bob. She also had a recurring role on HBO's drama about a polygamous family starring Bill Paxton, "Big Love."
Tina has wrapped up her upcoming film project, What We Do Is Secret, Rodger Grossman's biopic of punk legend Darby Crash and his band, the Germs. In the film, which is scheduled for release in July 2007, Tina will co-star opposite Shane West and Bijou Phillips.
Besides her acting career, Tina is the lead singer of The AM Project. She has also appeared in the music video for Lifehouse's song "Blind." Jason Wade, a member of the band Lifehouse, once said, "With the video ‘Blind,’ we wanted to capture through someone else's eyes what it is like growing up in a dysfunctional home. It is basically my story told by someone else. Tina was amazing to work with. She is so talented."
Additionally, Tina is a professional dancer and has been a hip-hop dance instructor for almost 7 years. Currently, she works at Dance Ten. She even helped choreograph Jon Heder's dance scene in Napoleon Dynamite (2004).
"If I based all of my decisions on what everyone else had to say, I wouldn't be where I am now. You'd drive yourself crazy trying to please everyone else. In this business, people always have something to say about what you're doing. Sometimes it's positive, sometimes it's negative. In the end, you just can't give a shit. You've gotta go with your gut and do what's right for you, ya know?" Tina Majorino