Remember the early 2000s, when MTV still told us what music was cool, Carson Daly was everywhere, VH1 was one of the hottest channels, and ‘Teen People Magazine’ was many people’s main source of news? Well, back in the early 2000s, Hathaway was barely turning 20 and steadily climbing her career ladder to stardom. So much so that in 2002, she was named one of Teen People Magazine’s “25 Hottest Stars Under 25.”
This was like being on the cover of “Vanity Fair” nowadays and catapulted young Anne further into fame. The actress was no longer just lauded for her talents but also her gorgeous looks, and we all know that’s the winning combo to turning a person into an A-list celeb.
The Reason She Fell in Love With Acting
In a beautiful twist of fate, the first time that Hathaway fell in love with acting was from watching her mother Kate play Fantine in a U.S. tour of “Les Misérables.” This very same role would be the role that earned Hathaway her first Oscar many years later.
When she watched her mother play the tragic character of Fantine, Hathaway was just eight years old, and she was stunned and fascinated by what she saw on stage. Ironically, neither of her parents wanted her to pursue an acting career, claiming that a life in the arts would be too hard and not profitable. Hathaway’s mother quit acting shortly after this and focused on raising Anne and her two brothers, Michael and Thomas.
A Historical Name
Anne Hathaway sounds like a regal name that came out of a classic work of literature, and actually, that’s exactly what it is – sort of. The actress’s name was inspired by none other than William Shakespeare’s wife. Her parents, Gerald Hathaway and Kate McCauley, are both of Irish and English descent and are clearly big fans of Shakespeare.
Shakespeare, considered to be the greatest writer and poet in the English language, married his wife Anne Hathaway in 1582, and they stayed together until Shakespeare's death in 1616. When they married, Shakespeare was 18 years old, and Anne was 26. She passed away seven years after her late husband.
A Pioneer of ‘The Barrow Group’
Hathaway was the first teenager to ever be admitted into the prestigious Barrow Group in New York City. While attending the Montessori School in Brooklyn Heights and the Wyoming Elementary School in Milburn, Hathaway had two passions: playing soccer and acting in plays.
She appeared in school plays “Gigi” and “Jane Eyre” and got into the American Academy of the Arts at age eleven. Shortly after, she was accepted to The Barrow Group. The Barrow Group is a renowned performing arts group in New York City that was known for its innovative ways, so being accepted into its acting program was a big turning point for Hathaway.
The Accident that Gave Her a Breakout Role
Apart from director Gary Marshall’s granddaughters advising him to cast Hathaway in “The Princess Diaries” because of her “princess hair,” there was something else that secured the breakout role for the actress. As the story goes, Hathaway was in the middle of her audition to play Mia Thermopolis and suddenly fell off her chair by accident.
It wasn’t planned, and Hathaway recounts in later interviews that it was one of the most embarrassing moments of clumsiness of her life. Ironically, this type of clumsiness was exactly what the director was looking for in Mia’s character, so falling from her chair is actually what got her hired right there and then.