Whatever Happened To The Pepsi Girl, Hallie Eisenberg? - Looper (2024)


Whatever Happened To The Pepsi Girl, Hallie Eisenberg? - Looper (1)

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ByMadison Kemeny/

From Michael Jackson to Cindy Crawford to Britney Spears and more, the legacy of Pepsi's advertising campaigns has not merely sold a beverage — it has etched itself into the memories of multiple generations. But out of every celebrity spokesperson, only one had a natural on-screen charismabeyond her years, with adorable dimples and curly brown hair to match. If you grew up watching TV in the late '90s, the name Hallie Eisenberg might ring a nostalgic bell. In her many Pepsi commercials, the young girl, accompanied by her on-screen grandfather, would order her usual Pepsi and channel various familiar voices, such as Aretha Franklin and MarlonBrando. Capiche?

After unlocking that distant memory, you may be thinking to yourself, whatever happened to the Pepsi girl, Hallie Eisenberg? Following her successful commercials, Eisenberg continued her career in entertainment, appearing on screen throughout her childhood. However, she later decided to leave acting behind and shift career paths when she chose to pursue higher education. Now well into adulthood, Eisenberg is living her best life out of the spotlight. But what has she been up to over the past two and a half decades?

She was also in commercials for the Independent Film Channel

Whatever Happened To The Pepsi Girl, Hallie Eisenberg? - Looper (2)

Evan Agostini/Getty Images

Apart from her contributions to Pepsi, Hallie Eisenberg was also known for her two commercials for the Independent Film Channel in the late '90s. In these commercials, she portrayed Christie, a groundbreaking independent filmmaker celebrated for her unusual approach to filmmaking, as seen in her hits "Oogie Boogie Booger" and "Horses are Pretty." Despite the challenges posed by Christie's difficult working style, actors such as Matt Damon and Lili Taylor were willing to collaborate with her, recognizing it as an integral aspect of her creative brilliance. "Christie is independent film," says Damon. "I don't even know what the word independent means," retorts Christie.

While not as widespread as her Pepsi commercials, these campaigns have left a lasting impression on those who have seen them, thanks to Eisenberg's comedic charm and impressive acting abilities. It only made sense for the young girl to expand her career into film and television following this.

Paulie was her film debut

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DreamWorks Pictures

In 1998, 6-year-old Hallie Eisenberg made her big screen debut in the children's film "Paulie," playing Marie, a young girl with a speech impediment who forms a bond with her talking parrot. Despite it being her first film, Eisenberg shared the screen with notable names like Tony Shalhoub, Cheech Marin, Gena Rowlands, and Jay Mohr, the voice behind the parrot. Interestingly, Mohr and Eisenberg collaborated in one of her Pepsi commercials, where Mohr contributed his voice to Eisenberg's various impressions.

Although the film underperformed at the box office, the role was undoubtedly a positive experience for the budding actor. In an interview on The Howie Mandel Show that same year, Eisenberg described making the movie as "a lot of fun, I really liked it." Even with her newfound movie stardom, Eisenberg made the point that she doesn't take herself too seriously, instantly winning over the live studio audience and everyone at home with her intelligence and maturity.

She starred in Sally Field's directorial debut

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Destination Films

With a few projects in between, Hallie Eisenberg followed up "Paulie" with another supporting role in Academy Award-winning actor Sally Field's feature directorial debut, "Beautiful." Starring alongside Minnie Driver, Eisenberg played Vanessa, the daughter of an aspiring Miss America pageant queen. Despite Eisenberg's impressive performance, the film was panned by critics and was unable to make back its $14 million budget, bringing in little more than $3 million at the box office.

Nevertheless, for Eisenberg, the film's financial outcome did not overshadow the positive aspects of her experience on set. She cherished the unique opportunity to work with Sally Field, highlighting the director's knowledgeable approach. In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, an 8-year-old Eisenberg intelligently expressed herself, saying, "Sally says things other directors wouldn't have because she has acted, too. It was kind of easier to communicate because she knows how to get you to the point where you can do something — you get down and be angry and everything." It's likely Eisenberg still holds onto Field's lessons to this day despite no longer being in front of the camera.

She played Helen Keller in a television remake of The Miracle Worker

One of Hallie Eisenberg's more challenging roles was portraying historical figure Helen Keller in the 2000 made-for-television remake of "The Miracle Worker." In the film based on the 1959 play of the same name, Eisenberg plays a young Helen Keller who is taken under the wing of her teacher, Annie (Alison Elliott). I didn't know that much about her," Hallie says of Keller in her interview with The Los Angeles Times. "Once I got the call, I did research. I watched [the 'Miracle Worker'] movies. I went to deaf and blind schools. I learned sign language in two hours." She further detailed her preparation for the role on the talk show "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee," explaining how she immersed herself with children of all ages at a deaf and blind school and learned a lot from interacting with them.

All of Eisenberg's hard work and research paid off because the film ended up being one of her most critically beloved performances. In a review for The Los Angeles Times, one reviewer wrote, "Eisenberg gives a fierce, committed performance," which "goes a long way toward legitimizing this project." It seems as though audiences agreed, which is evident in the movie's modest 79% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Hallie Eisenberg had a substantial film career

Whatever Happened To The Pepsi Girl, Hallie Eisenberg? - Looper (6)

Buena Vista Pictures

In addition to her popular commercials and her work on "Paulie," "Beautiful," and "The Miracle Worker," Hallie Eisenberg's acting career boasts a diverse portfolio, including roles in films such as "The Insider," where she had a modest yet impactful role inMichael Mann's 1999 Academy Award-nominated drama. That same year, she shared the screen with the legendary Robin Williams in "Bicentennial Man," where she portrayed the daughter in a family forging a unique bond with their household robot.

Later, in 2006, she took on one of her final starring roles in "How to Eat Fried Worms." In this coming-of-age movie, she stood out as the sole female presence in an ensemble cast of young boys and even learned archery for the role. It was clear that things were just getting started for the up-and-coming actor, and if she had wanted to, she could've led a successful and long acting career.

She was quite the young writer

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Robin Platzer/twin Images/Getty Images

Apart from her acting pursuits, Hallie Eisenberg discovered a sense of fulfillment through the creative process of writing. During an interview with The Los Angeles Times, she shared her love for writing, a passion she has nurtured since the age of 3 when she crafted her first piece — an anti-smoking public service announcement. "I am never without a paper or pen or a book," she told the interviewer. Since her PSA, she experimented with various literary forms, including short stories, scripts, and poetry. Notably, she once showcased her poetic talents on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno."

In the same interview, Eisenberg disclosed her endeavor on a script written in French, chronicling three generations of a family. Although the script remained confined to the pages of an 8-year-old's creation, it would undoubtedly have been a captivating read given Eisenberg's cleverness and creative flair. Whether or not Eisenberg has continued to write in these forms into adulthood is unknown, but the literary bug appears to run in the family, evidenced by her older brother Jesse Eisenberg, who boasts an array of writing credits spanning film, plays, and short stories.

Her Broadway debut was Clare Boothe Luce's The Women

Whatever Happened To The Pepsi Girl, Hallie Eisenberg? - Looper (8)

Frank Trapper/Getty Images

Hallie Eisenberg transitioned from being in front of the camera to the Broadway stage, making her debut in the 2001 revival of Clare Boothe Luce's timeless 1936 play, "The Women." In the all-female ensemble cast, Eisenberg played Little Mary, a daughter entangled in the intricacies of her parents' messy relationship and the gossip surrounding it. The production was held at the American Airlines Theatre from November 8, 2001, to January 13, 2002, and was met with positive reviews.

Despite her national recognition stemming from the iconic Pepsi commercials, it was Eisenberg's pure talent that secured her a coveted role on the Broadway stage. "I didn't realize how recognizable she was," director Scott Elliott told the Observer. "I knew she was in those Pepsi commercials, but I had never seen them. She really won the role on her own talent." Although this was Eisenberg's last time on stage, she would continue to support the arts well into adulthood.

She's advocated on behalf of The Creative Coalition

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Paul Morigi/Getty Images

While growing up working in the entertainment industry, Hallie Eisenberg was also a vocal supporter of social causes through The Creative Coalition, a nonprofit that addresses both industry-related issues and general social issues. Throughout the 2000s, she attended several of the Coalition's events, contributed to their efforts, and even presented on their behalf sometimes. Some of the causes she's advocated on behalf of include children's safety, media literacy, and animal rights.

In addition to attending events and summits on the nonprofit's behalf, Eisenberg was also featured in "If You Had Five Minutes with the President," a book of essays by the Coalition's members and supporters answering the prompt: What would you do if you had five minutes with the president? All of this is to say that her pursuits in the industry weren't solely driven by personal gain but rather as another avenue for championing meaningful change.

Her last on-screen project was Holy Rollers

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First Independent Pictures

In her cinematic farewell before bidding adieu to acting in 2010, Hallie Eisenberg graced the screen one last time in the independent crime drama "Holy Rollers." In the film that also starred her brother Jesse Eisenberg as the main protagonist Sam, Hallie played his on-screen sister Ruth, who warns her brother of the dangers of his new drug smuggling job.

While "Holy Rollers" may have slipped under the mainstream radar, it garnered a spectrum of reviews ranging from mixed to positive. For those who witnessed Hallie Eisenberg's journey from the iconic Pepsi commercials to the silver screen, this final performance served as a gratifying and impactful send-off. Still, there's always a chance we may see Hallie reembrace her acting roots in the future, especially because her brother remains a prominent figure in Hollywood. On whether or not they'll ever work together again, Jesse said in an interview, "I don't need to work with her because I see her at family events and gatherings and birthdays, so we don't need to be employed together."

Hallie Eisenberg quit acting to pursue higher education

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Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Following her final acting role in "Holy Rollers," Hallie Eisenberg made the decision to pursue higher education. She studied at the American University School of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., and graduated in 2014 with a degree in International Studies. Eisenberg hasn't acted since and has maintained a private life away from the spotlight.

It isn't uncommon for child stars to get "normal" jobs, leaving stardom behind and heading down a new career or life path — look to those like Mara Wilson ("Matilda"), Peter Ostrum ("Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory"), and Jeff Cohen ("The Goonies"). After all, Eisenberg was only 6 years old when she achieved early fame as a TV star and became known as "the Pepsi girl." However, the reason for Eisenberg leaving acting behind remains unknown, but one can speculate based on the nature of childhood stardom. Fortunately, Eisenberg seems to have come out well-rounded and well-adjusted on the other end beyond the glare of the public eye.

She worked as an assistant to the producers for The Art of Self-Defense

Whatever Happened To The Pepsi Girl, Hallie Eisenberg? - Looper (12)

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Although Hallie Eisenberg hasn't been in front of the camera since her retirement, she hasn't completely turned her back on the industry. In 2019, she made a return of sorts, choosing to play a crucial role in the making of the black comedy film "The Art of Self-Defense," a project that featured her brother, Jesse Eisenberg, in a leading role. According to her credit on the movie's IMDb, she worked as an assistant to the producers, which could've entailed anything from administrative tasks to hands-on support on set. Her involvement also further signified her continued interest in the filmmaking process and demonstrated a willingness to explore the industry from a different perspective.

Perhaps what compelled Hallie to join the crew for her first below-the-line job was what also drew critics and audiences to the film. "The Art of Self-Defense" was met with favorable reviews, being dubbed a "Fight Club" alternative for its exploration of toxic masculinity and male rage. While Hallie may have stepped away from acting, her involvement in "The Art of Self-Defense" showcases a potential avenue for future contributions in entertainment, whether that may lead to further behind-the-scenes roles or other aspects of the film industry.

She supports her brother Jesse Eisenberg's career

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Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Of course, if it wasn't already evident enough, Hallie Eisenberg is a big supporter of her older brother Jesse Eisenberg's career and has been for a long time. It's thanks to Jesse's pursuit of acting that initially got Hallie her start in the industry. Accompanying Jesse on a meeting with his agent, it was clear talent ran in the family, leading to Hallie being inadvertently signed by the same agent. Remarkably, at the tender age of 4, she booked the first job she went out for in a Blue's Clues commercial. While Hallie quickly became one of the most recognizable faces in brand campaigns, particularly notable for her association with Pepsi, Jesse was getting his start on TV with his role on the Fox series "Get Real." A couple of years later, he got his big break with a leading role in the film "Roger Dodger."

Today, Jesse is an award-winning actor, filmmaker, and writer. Although Hallie's Instagram account is private, a glimpse into her unwavering support for her brother can be gleaned from her bio, which features a link to more information on her brother's feature directorial debut, "When You Finish Saving the World." She also made an appearance at the opening night of his Broadway show "The Revisionist," which he wrote and starred in, and has accompanied him to many industry events, solidifying their bond as siblings who share not only familial ties but also a deep connection to the world of entertainment.

She's featured on the Bream Gives Me Hiccups audiobook

While Hallie Eisenberg may not be as visible in the public eye nowadays, her voice can be heard in her brother's audiobook for his debut fiction short story collection, "Bream Gives Me Hiccups." Fittingly, Hallie voices the sister role in many of the stories, including "Family" and the succinctly titled "An email exchange with my first girlfriend, which at a certain point is taken over by my older sister, a college student studying the Bosnian genocide," among others. Her acting skills must come as naturally as riding a bicycle because she's still as sharp and endearing as she was in her days as an accomplished child actor.

Hallie also accompanied Jesse on one of his book tour stops for the collection at the Washington D.C. Politics & Prose Bookstore. She stepped in to read an excerpt on his behalf when he was unable to speak due to losing his voice. It's heartening to witness that Hallie hasn't entirely distanced herself from artistic endeavors, leaving us hopeful to see her in more stuff here and there in the future.

Whatever Happened To The Pepsi Girl, Hallie Eisenberg? - Looper (2024)
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