In 2001, Vega got her big break: a starring role as Carmen Cortez in Robert Rodriguez's fantasy-adventure flick Spy Kids. The film was a massive success, earning over $147 million worldwide and spawning three sequels, with a fourth on the way. But that kind of exposure had some drawbacks. It turned Alexa into "That Girl From Spy Kids."

"I really enjoyed my time at Notre Dame and I think that you do eventually find your little niche, but I don’t have one personality. That's really hard in high school because everybody wants to pick one group for you."

"Freshman year was really bad. It's already hard starting high school, but going in as a 'Spy Kid' is probably the worst thing you could have done. And my mom didn’t make it easier. I just wanted a normal backpack, but Spy Kids was awesome and they gave me this giant bright orange backpack that had the word SPY across it. That was my only option and I wore it to school everyday. Half the time I would stuff it in my locker and try to carry all my books."

"I was not cool at all. Kids poured soda on me. It wasn't like you could run up to a teacher and tell on them. You get so embarrassed that you’re like, 'OK, I don’t want to rat this person out because not only am I the loser, but I’m the loser who’s a tattletale too.'"

"I’ve found my friends now, but you can always tell whether someone wants to be your friend just because you're famous. But it's so much worse when people are trying to prove that they really don’t care about you."

"I never really worried about being known as that girl from Spy Kids for the rest of my life, though. What I'm thankful for is that those movies were awesome and the people involved were great. I think the second you start worrying, it starts to overtake you. You just have to keep doing what you're doing and hopefully people will see you as something else."