She starred in one of the biggest sci-fi movies of all time and then threw in the towel—all at 10 years old. In 1986, Carrie Henn starred in Aliens alongside Sigourney Weaver. In the sequel to 1979’s Alien, the child actor played Newt, a young girl who is rescued amid a human-versus-alien outer space battle. But, after appearing in the film and winning an award for young actors, Henn continued to live a normal childhood and started a career well outside of the movie world as an adult.
Today, Henn is 45 years old. And while she’s no longer in the entertainment business, she has given interviews about her famous action movie role and shared what she is up to these days. Read on to find out more.
Henn was in the right place at the right time for Aliens.
Henn was cast in Aliens after she was scouted at her school in Lakenheath, England when she was nine years old. (The film shot at a studio near London.) Henn and her family were living in the town because her dad was stationed there as a member of the U.S. Air Force. In a 2019 interview with AvP Galaxy, Henn also explained that her mom is English and that she had lived in the country since she was two. After going through the casting process, Henn landed the role of Newt.
She became a teacher.
After Henn filmed Aliens, her family moved to California. She told AvP Galaxy that she considered continuing with acting, but “wanted to be a normal child.” Plus, ever since she was a little girl, her true dream was being a teacher. In 2016, during at an appearance at Kansas City Comic Con, she told Tulsa World, “I remember before I even went to school pretending to be a teacher. I had a second-grade teacher who I absolutely loved. I strived to be a teacher like her.”
So, Henn ended up becoming a fourth grade teacher. She explained of choosing teaching over acting, “That’s what a lot of people have a hard time understanding. They don’t understand that [acting] wasn’t my passion. It wasn’t my dream. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Was it an amazing experience? Absolutely. Would I do it again? Of course. But it wasn’t my passion. Teaching was.”
She’s stayed very involved in the Aliens fandom.
According to Tulsa World, Henn began getting involved in the Aliens fandom around 2008, after staying out of the spotlight since the movie had come out. These days, she attends various conventions where she talks to fans of the movie and signs autographs. She often posts about her involvement on social media and shares fan art and memes.
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She’s also stayed close with Weaver.
Henn spoke about her connection with Weaver, who played a mother figure to her character in Aliens, in a 2016 interview with Wired. “I was excited, because I was like, ‘She was in Ghostbusters! How cool is this?,'” Henn said of finding out she’d get to work with the actor. She also said that she and Weaver were still in touch. “Immediately, we hit it off,” Henn said. “She took me under her wings when we were filming, because I was so inexperienced. I can’t describe my relationship with her, because she’s more than just a friend—what you see on screen is genuinely how we feel about each other.”
She has children, and her daughter looks just like Newt.
In the interview with Wired, Henn shared that she had recently watched Aliens for the first time in ten years. “It’s very weird,” she said of the experience, “because I have a daughter who’s now the age I was when I made the movie, and she’s like my clone. So as I’m watching it, it’s like watching my daughter up there.”
In a February 2020 post on Instagram, Henn shared that she’d watched the movie with her kids for the first time. She wrote in the caption, “When your children finally convince you to watch #Aliens…and then they are more concerned about all the other famous people they know instead of their #mother!”