We all love a good “Where Are They Now?” post – it’s always a trip to see an actor who was a kid in a movie that you watched when you were a kid in real life, all grown up. Every year around this time (as in, every year during ABC Family’s 13 Nights of Halloween), we watch Hocus Pocus and think, “Oh man, I wish I had been cast as one of the children in that movie.” Don’t lie to me; I know your soul.
If your desire to know how successful all of those child actors ended up brought you to the IMDB page for Hocus Pocus, you may have noticed that Emily Binx, the poor youngster killed by the Sanderson sisters and doomed to wear a bonnet for all eternity, is listed as being played by one of the OG stars of YouTube, Jodie-Amy Rivera, a.k.a. Venetian Princess.
Jodie-Amy recently gave birth to her first baby, and is totally gorgeous.
Full disclosure: this is not what Emily Binx looks like. Cosmopolitan recently reported that the Internet has been wrong about the identity of Emily Binx for years. Jodie-Amy was definitely in Hocus Pocus as a kid, but she played one of the Trick-or-Treaters hypnotized by Sarah Jessica Parker’s magical lullaby. Her scenes were filmed in Salem, MA, while a majority of the main filming took place in L.A. The former child-actress traces the original mistake back to a radio interview where a DJ credited her as playing the role of Emily Binx. Since then, the misinformation snowballed. Jodie-Amy has even contacted IMDB about changing the cast list to no avail.
Feeling guilty about receiving undo praise all these years, Jodie-Amy recently tracked down the real actress who played Emily Binx, Amanda Shepherd (IMDB lists this as Jodie-Amy’s stage name). Cosmo caught up with Amanda, who now sells houses in Malibu and who removed herself from the acting world in her early twenties. Ta da! Emily Binx IRL:
Amanda shared some absolutely amazing details about her time on set for Hocus Pocus. For one, she said that when she auditioned on the Disney lot, the resident over-friendly squirrels took a shining to her, and climbing on her shoulders. She probably looked like a miniature Disney princess.
She also described Thora Birch as the tiniest professional there ever was:
“Also, I’ll never forget the day I met Thora Birch! I was in the trailer getting my makeup done and Thora storms in, tons of energy. They tell her, “OK, Thora, it’s time to get your makeup done” and she says “Oh! No, thank you, I can do it myself!” And she proceeded to do her makeup herself. I thought, [That’s] a pro over there, and I just remember how mature she was for her age and thinking that I could learn a lot from her.”
Apparently, Amanda also got to take Binx the cat home with her, which makes my inner child burn with jealousy and admiration. And in case you were wondering, no, he never transformed into a hunky preteen in a flowy shirt and britches (darn).
Even though Amanda isn’t acting anymore, her life is still full of magic, though it’s not from a Cyclops book.
“And, you know, this sounds kind of witchy and strange, but [Hocus Pocus] almost turned into a foretelling of my current life, being around witches — even though to this day there’s of course a misconstrued idea of what witches are. Right now I’m actually taking a plants, spirits, and herbalism class where I’m learning about shamanism and all these women are calling themselves green witches, so I’m just going, Oh my gosh, my past just keeps coming up. But not evil witches this time, these are good green witches.”
Way cool. Amanda also sings in a band called Hehehaha, and doesn’t mind that people think Jodie-Amy played Emily Binx. “It was all just a wonderful experience,” she said. “To this day, it’s still wonderful every Halloween.”