Grace VanderWaal Says Winning ‘AGT’ Made Her a ‘Better Person’


Grace VanderWaal is known for winning Season 11 of America’s Got Talent in 2016, when she was 12 years old. Now 17, VanderWaal is looking back at her time on the show, and how her subsequent fame affected her.

In a new interview with ET Canada, VanderWaal said that time in her life made her “a better person.” She also talked about wanting to pursue more acting roles, in addition to her part in Stargirl and its upcoming sequel.

Grace VanderWaal Reflects on Her ‘AGT’ Win

VanderWaal told Roz Weston that her memories from her time on AGT are “very limited.” However, she said it definitely felt “unnatural” to be thrust into the spotlight at a young age. She added that it was either “the absolute worst time in my life, or the best time in my life … no in between.”

“Honestly, it made me a better person. It made my family a better person,” she shared. “Like, I can’t imagine who we would be or where we would be or anything like that if it weren’t for … I feel like, honestly, that was like a divine intervention.”

VanderWaal said being with her sister reminded her of what was real during a crazy time. She said her relationship with her sister is “the realest part of me,” adding that she wouldn’t have been okay without her.

Weston also brought up the public’s negative reaction to VanderWaal’s changing image as she gets older. VanderWaal laughed it off, saying “years are like minutes” on the internet. She joked that there’s simply something “in my aura” that makes people talk about her.


What Has VanderWaal Been Up to Lately?

VanderWaal recently released a song called “Repeat.” She told ET Canada that she wanted to have fun with a song after struggling to write happy music. She said it’s “easy to be sad,” but her life is “actually fairly happy.” So she wanted to put out a song to reflect that.

She also talked about her aspirations for an acting career. VanderWaal previously appeared in Disney’s 2020 film Stargirl, and is preparing to shoot the sequel. Uma Thurman is joining the movie’s cast, and VanderWaal said she’s a “very sweet woman.”

VanderWaal also shared that she would love to perform in “more abstract roles,” and is even interested in the technical sides of filmmaking. She added that she loves playing characters, even in her day-to-day life when she’s not filming.

You can keep up with VanderWaal on her Instagram.



Jill O'Rourke
Jill O'Rourke

Jill O’Rourke is a contributor at Talent Recap, writing news stories and recaps for shows like ‘AGT,’ ‘The Voice,’ and ‘American Idol.’ She graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in English and Film Studies, and has been writing about pop culture since 2012, with previous bylines at Crushable and A Plus. Jill spends her free time binge-watching sitcoms and daydreaming about life as a hobbit

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