Stars in Her Eyes

“It was a dream come true,” says 8-year-old Heidi Marshall. “I never want the commercials to end.”

The third-grader portrays the young Madonna in the pop star’s TV ads for Pepsi-Cola that debuted Thursday night during NBC’s “The Cosby Show.”

The mega-ads--a 2-minute version that features Madonna and her new song, “Like a Prayer,” and the 30-second versions--will air in 40 countries. Hundreds of millions of people will see Madonna and Heidi swap places in the ads.

Heidi wants to be a movie star when she grows up. Her favorite keepsake from the commercial shoot is a photograph of the singer inscribed: “To Heidi, Thank you for being me. Love, Madonna.”


Heidi comes from a long line of aspiring actresses. Her maternal grandmother, Alese Marshall, is a former actress and model. Her great-grandmother, the late Rose Adomian, was a Russian actress who emigrated during the Soviet revolution; she settled in California and worked in the assembly line at Mattel.

“Rose told us that Heidi should do commercials and that we had to get Heidi an agent,” says Heidi’s mother, Lisa Marshall Nordine.

Four weeks after her great-grandmother’s death, Heidi auditioned for and got her first commercial--for Mattel.

So, there was a lot of celebrating Thursday night at Heidi’s house.


“We ate dinner,” says Heidi. “Then I had to do my homework. I have a spelling test tomorrow. Then, ‘The Cosby Show’ came on and my commercial. My grandma was crying, everyone was dancing and screaming. Even my dog!”

Heady stuff for a girl normally in bed by 9. But let’s get back to Earth, shall we Heidi? What words did you learn for your test Friday?

“We learned easy words today. Like start and starry and star.