Jurassic Park star Ariana Richards, 42, returned to the red carpet on June 6 to walk the Los Angeles premiere of Jurassic World: Dominion 29 years after the original film was released. In the original film that launched a world-renown franchise, Ariana played Lex alongside Joseph Mazzello, who played her little brother Tim. She smiled wide at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood and sported the same long, blonde hair she had when she was filming at 13 years old. Ariana, who is now a painter by profession, looked chic in a denim pantsuit paired with a white clutch and white heels.
Ariana has not appeared in any of the Jurassic Park spinoffs, but she had a cameo in the 1997 sequel The Lost World and walked the carpet for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in June 2018. However, some of her former co-stars have been included in the third installment of the reboot. Laura Dern, who played Dr. Ellie Sattler, reprises her role, along with Sam Neill as Alan Grant and Jeff Goldblum as Ian Malcolm. The reboot trilogy stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard.
“It’s a film that touched so many people when it came out,” Ariana gushed to Interview magazine during a 2011 interview about Jurassic Park. “It was one of those things where I just enjoyed the experience of creating the movie, and then everything that happened after, the whole landslide, was all a surprise. I was not prepared for the fact that huge numbers of people would recognize me on a daily basis.” Jurassic Park catapulted a teenage Ariana into the spotlight, and she would go on to book nine projects by the turn of the century.
However, she backed away from acting and turned to painting instead. Her last role before taking an acting hiatus came in 2001’s Tremors 3: Back to Perfection. The only other credit on her IMDb page is 2013’s Battledogs, a sci-fi movie in which mutant werewolves threaten the existence of New York City.
In the chat with Interview, Ariana opened up about her career switch. “People ask me, ‘So did you step away from acting or decide to leave the business?’ I let them know it’s not about making a choice,” she explained. “Acting is always going to be something that’s in my blood. It’s more that my interest has been really taken by visual art and doing the oil paintings for people.” Ariana was a budding artist as well as an actress when she was a teen playing Lex. In fact, in a 1993 interview with Bobby Wygant, a bright-eyed Ariana showed a painting she made for director Steven Spielberg that depicted her and her little brother in the film sliding down the neck of a Brachiosaurus, which she said was her favorite dinosaur.
In her talk with Interview, she noted that while she prefers painting, she is not totally closed off to acting. “If some really interesting role came along and found me, I’m sure I’d be thrilled to do it,” she said.