The expression “It runs in the family” takes on a whole new layer when you consider how many famous siblings there are in Hollywood. As the Hemsworth brothers, the Olsen twins, the Fanning sisters, the Gyllenhaals, and the entire Kardashian-Jenner dynasty have shown, some families seem to be blessed with extra talent and good genes.
That’s why we took notice when a new trio of sisters started to appear on the scene. Meet the Alyn Linds: Natalie, 17; Emily, 15; and Alyvia (also known as Aly), 10. They’re young, but they’ve been working hard for years and are poised to become the next generation of small and big-screen stars.
And though their names might be new to you, you’ve likely seen at least one of them in a show or movie over the last decade. Both Emily and Aly appeared as young versions of Amanda on ABC’s Revenge, and Natalie has spent the last few years on Gotham (as Silver St. Cloud) and The Goldbergs. She made her TV debut in 2006 on One Tree Hill when—wait for it—her mother, Barbara Alyn Woods, played Deb Scott on the series.
“We were born into it,” Natalie jokes. “When I was born, my mom was doing the TV show version of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. When Emily was born, she was doing a movie. And when Aly was born, she was doing One Tree Hill.” (The whole family is in the industry, actually: The girls’ father, John Lind, is a director/producer and met Barbara on the set of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.)
Now, starting tonight, Natalie makes her debut as Lauren Strucker on Fox’s new Marvel series The Gifted. Later this season, Emily will join the cast of CBS’ Code Black full-time as Marcia Gay Harden’s adopted daughter. And then there’s Aly, who just finished playing a young Dolly Parton on NBC’s Christmas special Coat of Many Colors and currently stars on the CBS daytime drama, The Young and the Restless. Aly will also appear alongside Anna Faris in the Overboard remake.
So, yeah, you’ll be seeing a lot more of the Alyn Lind sisters in the coming years.
Clearly, their hard work is paying off—but performing is something they’ve always loved doing. “Their journey into acting just kind of happened,” their mother, Barbara, explains. “There wasn’t a plan; it wasn’t our goal. But just like a kid decides to play soccer or become a cheerleader or become a scientist, whatever it is they decide, you just accept what they do. It was inevitable, I think, in their case because John and I are both in the business, but they succeeded at it and they love it. Because of that, I get just as much—if not more—satisfaction and pride. They have such level heads, and they’re so good to everyone on the set. That makes me prouder than anything.”
It helps that Natalie, Emily, and Aly have each other when they hit rough patches. “A lot of actors go through this career having to figure it out for themselves, but when I have a question, I’ll turn to my sisters or my mom or my dad because we have the pleasure of being able to relate on the same subjects,” Natalie says. “That’s pretty incredible.”
Of course, Barbara and her husband try to guide them as much as possible. “Having done this for many years, it’s just really important for them to stay true to themselves,” Barbara says. “This business always want to meld you into what it thinks it wants. They want you to be younger, to be older, to have different hair colors, to be thinner…. I don’t want them to listen to those that say, ‘You need to be this, or you need to be that.'”
The sisters’ goals extend beyond acting—they want to make an impact with their chosen profession. “I want to see stories onscreen that my friends and I go through in our regular lives,” Emily says. “I’ve seen my friends battle eating disorders, anxiety disorders, mental illness…lots of things that people don’t always want to talk about.” She references Lily Collins’ portrayal of a young woman battling anorexia in To the Bone and 13 Reasons Why as the kind of content her generation needs. “When I watch TV or see a movie, I think, ‘I want to relate to this character.’ I want to know that someone is here for me whether it’s a 30-minute show or a 2-hour film. That’s our role as actors, and those are the roles I want to play. I know kids who have gone through things and feel very alone. When you watch movies or television, you don’t want to see the perfect person all the time. It gets really boring.”
“I mean, look at Wonder Woman and what Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins did,” Natalie adds. “They were both so inspiring. They didn’t take away from the male characters and still made them these extremely strong and badass guys. You just feel empowered walking out of that movie and proud to be a woman. That’s so important.”
Which is why the sisters want to make a point of working with more women—both in front of and behind the camera. “I just did a movie [2016’s An American Girl Story] where the entire crew was mostly female, and they were all amazing,” Aly says. “It’s so empowering.”
“Maybe it’s a maternal thing, but you just feel really safe in the environment,” Emily adds. “A lot of times when you are around guys, you feel like maybe they’ll put you down for certain things. This is not with everyone, but you might have your guard up a little bit more. You’re not yourself as much.”
“I’d never done the mandatory safety meeting about sexual harassment until recently,” she continued. “The instructor was talking about how guys on set will sometimes call you out, like, ‘Hey baby.’ And the guys [in the class] weren’t taking it seriously. They were yelling out jokes. In the back of my mind, I was thinking, ‘Oh, you’re not taking this seriously. You’re still going to think the same things no matter what.’ Honestly, I’m really over it. I don’t want to be called baby or sugar. I don’t like it. Don’t treat me like that just because I’m a woman. A lot of crews—and don’t get me wrong, I’ve had amazing crews with men—but you’ll overhear conversations, and they’re very sexist. The bottom line is, a lot of times guys don’t realize the effects of their comments. We all just need to be super respectful of each other.”
Seeing more successful female directors in the industry, like Jenkins and Angelina Jolie, have also inspired the sisters to think about what their own careers could look like. “I love that Angelina Jolie has gone behind the camera in addition to acting,” Natalie says. “I love this industry, but I don’t want to be solely an actress. What I admire most about Angelina is that her mind is as equally beautiful as her body. It’s important to keep your mind as beautiful as your heart.”
The future is long and bright for the sisters, but there is one constant that will keep them grounded: their bond from these shared experiences. “Your family is forever, no matter what,” Natalie explains. “You can’t break that sister bond. We’ll always be close.”
Photo Credits: Caydie McCumber Photography
Styling Credits: Hair by Laura Rugetti and Casey Miller/Beauty Can Salon