Barbara Alyn Woods with her daughters Natalie Alyn Lind and Alyvia Alyn Lind.
There’s a story the Lind family loves to tell.
Back in 2007, One Tree Hill vet Barbara Alyn Woods and her producer husband, John Lind, had their hands full arranging auditions and shooting schedules for their young actress daughters, Emily Alyn Lind and Natalie Alyn Lind. So after their third girl, Alyvia, was born, they decided to keep her a secret from their agent. “We didn’t have time for another daughter!” Barbara explains.
She then prompts Aly, sitting next to her on the couch, to explain what happened when that same agent paid the family a house call a few years later. “I came to the door,” Aly says, “And she says, ‘Who are you?!’ We had our introduction and it was like, here’s another one ready for the business out of the gate!”
Actually, they stormed right through it. The Lind sisters — blonde hair, fair-skinned, wide eyes — are not only seasoned pros with miles of credits, they’re currently dominating television. Natalie, the oldest, is in her second season as kidnap victim Danielle Sullivan on the ABC thriller Big Sky; middle sister Emily portrays posh Audrey Hope on HBO Max’s Gossip Girl revival and Aly is bully Lexy Cross on USA’s new TV adaptation of Chucky. Barbara plays her mom.
“My mom and I have different last names,” Aly says. “So on the set of Chucky, crew members would come up to us and say, ‘Wow, casting did a really good job!’ I had to explain that yeah, we’re related.”
For the record, there was no master plan. Barbara, who’s been acting steadily since 1988, used to tote her oldest daughter to the set of One Tree Hill. Entranced by her surroundings, Natalie asked if she could appear in an episode — and did so in 2006. “There was something really magical about making art in that environment,” Natalie says.
She turned up again in Criminal Minds, The Goldbergs and Gotham and starred on The Gifted. Emily made her TV debut in 2009 on Days of Our Lives. Aly broke in as a toddler on The Young and the Restless, on which she has played Faith Newman for more than a decade. Fun fact: both Emily and Aly played a young Emily VanCamp in Revenge.
All those roles came equipped with some tough parental love. “I was stubborn about going to the set with them because I wanted them to learn about being prepared and knowing everyone’s names and being a professional,” Barbara says. “I told them that if you’re being hired as an adult, you have to behave like one.”
But at home in L.A., they’re still sisters. Aly jokes that Emily (who’s in New York for Gossip Girl) has a habit of stealing her clothes; Natalie cops to lashing out when someone doesn’t put her coffee in the fridge. They’re also quick with instant support and love. “If anything ever happens to me, my first call is to one of them,” Natalie says. “It sounds so cheesy, but we really are best friends.”
This story originally appeared in Issue #12, 2021, of emmy magazine.