Alexa PenaVega made a name for herself as a child actor in the 2001 hit film “Spy Kids” and its subsequent follow up flicks. The 29-year-old opened up to Fox News about how she managed to stay grounded while working in the entertainment industry as a kid.
“That set was so kid friendly,” she recalled. “It did not feel like work. We were like little kids playing dress up every day. We shot in this abandoned airport hangar in the middle of Austin, Texas, right next to this huge field. So whenever we weren’t working, or in the school trailer, we were out in the field. We would catch caterpillars – scorpions – we were really adventurous kids and my sisters were there the whole time. My whole entire family was in Austin while we were filming.”
During the peak of her child star fame, PenaVega was often surrounded by A-list actors, but they didn’t faze her at the time.
“Back then I didn’t realize who I was working with and I look back now and I’m like ‘oh my goodness that was Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino’ -- just really incredible people -- but as kids it didn’t matter. We just enjoyed the people we were working with.”
The actress said there were plenty of big name stars hanging around the “Spy Kids” set.
“Steve Buscemi would come play football with us right outside of the set – it was just an easy, fun atmosphere,” she said. “And actually we would go on fishing trips while we were filming that movie.”
PenaVega has recently partnered with TakeMeFishing.org to promote the website’s new list of “Mom Approved Places to Fish and Boat.” She said fishing and other outdoor activities were a big part of her childhood.
“For me I grew up fishing,” PenaVega told Fox News. “It was something I did with my grandma, my grandpa, my sisters and it’s something that I want to pass down to my kid, Ocean.”
The star laughed before adding, “We really love the water.”
PenaVega added that her family also helped her stay grounded while she navigated fame at a young age.
“I feel like I was super blessed growing up in this industry, but that was because of my family,” she said. “My family created a really safe place for me, they kept me grounded. We didn’t have social media when I was younger. There wasn’t this whole thing of trying to get likes or comparing yourself to other people. We were just being kids.”
PenaVega wed her husband Carlos in 2014. The Miami-native said the couple is open to allowing their son Ocean to his hand at acting if it’s something he’s interested in.
“I think it comes down to how you raise your child. Being able to have real foundation and for Carlos and I, we will make sure to give him everything he needs if that’s the business he wants to get into,” she explained. “I don’t think I would give much caution – I would just kick him in the booty if he gets out of line.”
The star then added, “Carlos and I are in an industry that can easily separate families so, we value family.”
In addition to working with the Take Me Fishing site and being an active, outdoor mom, PenaVega will also star with her husband in the upcoming Hallmark flick, “Love at Sea” – a fitting story for the water-loving couple.
“I really believe that you can make any work scenario work for your family,” she said. “I think a lot of times we live for our work, but we need to change that.”