Before we watched The Secret World of Alex Mack, we just never realized how morphing into silver liquid would be the coolest superpower ever (move over, flying!) Or how great a collection of hats could be. The show, which replaced Clarissa Explains It All on the SNICK lineup back in 1994, aired for 4 years on Nickelodeon. Due to a truck that spilled a secret chemical on our hero, called GC-161, liquefying herself was just one of Alex’s many powers – powers that she kept hidden from everyone except for her sister and her best friend Ray. The show was such a big hit that they later released a book series aimed at young readers. Also – a board game.
(If you want a reminder on how cool it was to turn into silver goo, someone actually made a compilation of her best morph moments.)
Larisa Oleynik as Alex Mack
Larisa got her start on Nickelodeon, but on another hit show – The Adventures of Pete & Pete, where she appeared in an episode back in 1993. After playing Alex, she took on possibly her second most well-known role, as Bianca Stratford in the film 10 Things I Hate About You. That next year she appeared in another film – 100 Girls, playing Wendy. In between those films, she appeared in a bunch of episodes of 3rd Rock From The Sun with her on-screen beau Joseph Gordon-Levitt. In 2003, she played Ori Swords in the film Bringing Rain, alongside Merritt Wever and Adrian Grenier. She starred in a few other small films and TV movies before playing Jenna Kaye in the TV reboot of Hawaii Five-0. You might also recognize her popping up on a few episodes of Mad Men as Cynthia.
Oh. And of course, she played Dawn in the Baby-Sitters Club movie. Yes, it was a part worthy of its own mini-paragraph.
Larisa took one of her first vocal roles by playing Icy in the Winx Club television series. In 2013, she played Lauren in Remember Sunday, and she has a few big projects lined up for release this year.
Last year, Larisa had to get a restraining order against a specific fan who even changed his last name to “Oleynik” to prove his love. Thankfully, Larisa’s typical interactions with fans are pretty normal. In an interview with a student from the Pinewood School, where she graduated, she claimed “When people recognize me, they tell me they grew up with me, and we can relate. It’s really fun to have a conversation with them about the show.”
Darris Love as Ray Alvarado
Darris had a great time on Nickelodeon playing Alex’s BFF Ray, and in an interview with the Huffington Post, made note that the network allowed the young cast members to embrace their childhoods. “We’d come into our dressing room and it’ll be filled with Gak and toys that come from our brand and our product,” Love said. “They knew we were kids and we got first dibs. They were incentives to be kids.” Mmm. Gak. So superior to Floam.
During the end of Alex Mack, Darris appeared on three episodes of Sister, Sister playing Jamal. In 2000, he was on the then-controversial MTV show Undressed, and in 2011, appeared in two episodes of Angel. He also appeared on ER twice – each role being 7 years apart.
Darris is using his notoriety for a great cause. Currently serving as a partner with a food technology venture based in Boise, ID called InstaFOODs International, which aims to help millions of malnourished adults and children worldwide.
Michael Blakley as George Mack
Michael played George, Alex’s father who had no clue she could shoot electricity through her fingertips. It was actually his biggest role known to date. In fact, not too much is known about Michael Blakley.
In 1999, he played a Flight Manager in the TV Movie The Sky’s On Fire, and in 2011 he was in an episode of Pretty Little Liars. Besides that? The man is a mystery. A mystery, I tell you!
Dorian Lopinto as Barbara Mack
Alex’s PR-mama is also a little bit of a mystery. Dorian’s next role after Alex Mack was in The Prophet’s Game, starring Dennis Hopper. Soon after, she played Gwen Christopher in the film Ablaze, starring Tom Arnold and Ice-T. In 2003, she reunited with fictional daughter Meredith Bishop in Klepto, and then starred in episodes of Cold Case and Strong Medicine, her last role since 2005.
Meredith Bishop as Annie Mack
Annie helped girls realize that science is awesome. Not only was she key in trying to test the GC-161, but she was loyal to Alex by keeping the event to herself. The Woodland Hills, California actress only had one role before taking on the part of Annie – she was, in fact, the flash-forward version of 18-year-old Mabel on Mad About You.
In 2001, she played Lurleen on two episodes of the show Nikki. Soon after she played Samantha in three episodes of Felicity. As mentioned above, she starred in Klepto as the lead, which is pretty impressive. One of her last on-screen roles was in 2010 – she was in the movie Bed & Breakfast: Love is a Happy Accident alongside Dean Cain.
That doesn’t mean that Meredith hasn’t graced your television screen recently. In fact, she’s been in a handful of commercials. Here’s a somewhat-recent ad she’s in for Jimmy Dean.
Best friends are great, but isn’t it annoying when your bestie has that loudmouth other-friend you kind of have to get along with, because he’s there? That’s Louis. Alex wasn’t too fond of him, but she did the best she could.
You might have seen Benjamin in Jerry Maguire, where he played Keith Cushman. In 1999, he was in a TV movie called Lansky, and then took a major, major break by taking on a role in the movie The Road To Margaritaville in 2010.
Natanya Ross as Robyn Russo
When I was a kid, I related most to Robyn – while her confidence wasn’t always there, her sense of humor was pretty unique, and she was a great neighborhood friend to have. In an interview with Variety back in 1997, she said ” ‘Alex Mack; has been such a huge part of my life and has done more for me than any other job I’ve had. It made me into a role model for younger children. I’m walking away from this experience with a heartwarming feeling.”
Despite also saying that she’d always stick with acting, Natanya’s only credits after the show were an episode of Beverly Hills, 90210, the film Bellyfruit, and an appearance on Boston Public in 2000.
Natanya had a few scares in her life – for one, she was dating actor Brad Renfro before he passed away. After picking him up from a party in the Hollywood Hills, the two went to sleep. She woke up and called authorities at 8:45 AM when she saw he unconscious, and he passed away just fifteen minutes later. Grim, definitely.
On a more upbeat note, let’s talk about your favorite Alex Mack moments! What were your favorite episodes? Did Larisa inspire you to wear more beanies?