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Grace VanderWaal is sharing what life was like after winning “America’s Got Talent” when she was just 12 years old.
VanderWaal won the judges over during her audition in 2016 when she took the stage with her ukulele and sang one of her original songs.
The performance not only advanced her to the next round but immediately sent her to the live shows when judge Howie Mandel hit the golden buzzer after her performance.
After winning the show, VanderWaal was propelled into stardom, releasing four albums and starring in a Disney+ original movie, “Stargirl,” as the title character. While she found success in her career, she said her mental health suffered a little in her early days of fame.
“Looking back, I have definitely faced the mental repercussions of that growing up,” VanderWall told E! News. “I feel like I’m still struggling … I feel like I keep learning about how to take care of myself better, and my biggest thing recently is just acknowledging your triggers. Staying in your pajamas all day — that’s going to make me depressed. Let’s get up, get dressed.”
She also had to learn how to handle the criticism that comes with fame but says she is happy to have experienced all the hate comments at the start of her career because it taught her how to deal with them as an adult.
“I feel like I’ve been doing this for so long that you get desensitized to hate online,” VanderWaal said. “I went through a ton of hate online when I was really young. I’m happy it happened though because it prepared me for this life.”
VanderWaal’s audition is still considered one of the best in judge Simon Cowell’s eyes, as he recently called it one of his top five golden buzzer moments from his time on the show.
While Cowell compared VanderWaal to Taylor Swift during her first audition, she is really coming into her own as a performer.
“I was just a little girl and I fully didn’t know what I was doing,” VanderWaal said of her audition. “It’s so surreal the way that has just transformed my life. And now I’m sitting here years later still in the business. I never would have thought I’d be doing that.”