These days she still demands good service: An aspiring food critic, Chlumsky, 22, works as a researcher for the restaurant guide Zagat in Manhattan. Acting was put on the back burner at 16, after roles in 1994's My Girl 2 and Trading Mom. After graduating from the University of Chicago with a degree in international studies in June, Chlumsky packed her bags for New York City. "I love food and travel writing, and I love acting," says Chlumsky, the only child of a Chicago chef, Frank, 60, and a music teacher, Nancy, 50. "Being here allows me to keep all my options open." And go to auditions on her lunch hour. "She can still be a big success in the business," says Jamie Lee Curtis, who describes her My Girl costar as "everything you'd want your daughter to be."
Whatever her career direction, the aim, Chlumsky says, is "to stand out from the crowd." So far, so good: Commuting to work from her one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment, she's recognized on the subway almost daily. "It creeped me out at first," she says, "but I guess it's nice to know I still resonate in people's minds."