When my six-year-old daughter grows up, she is setting her sights on being a physicist, a pop star or who newest aspiration – an adventurer. But on this day – during the Olympic Gymnastic Trials in San Jose, California - she was following in her mommy’s footsteps as a entertainment blogger. And my girl? She was giddy and totally starstruck when meeting and interviewing Jade Pettyjohn, the eleven-year-old star of the film McKenna Shoot for the Stars based on the American Girl Doll of the Year.
My daughter loved the film which combined a few of her favorite things – American Girl Dolls, gymnastics and – now – actress Jade Pettyjpohn. She even made her a sign saying “I love you Jade” on it which she presented to young actress – yeah, it was pretty adorable.
One thing about Jade, she is one of old souls, she may chronically be just eleven, but when you are talking to her you feel you are in a conversation with someone decades older. We talking to her parents (who are super cool by the way), they mentioned how the whole acting thing was ALL Jade’s idea. Something she had to do and at the ripe old age of seven, she spelled out her plans to her parents instructing them that it was “time” and that she needed an agent and her desire to start going on auditions. And apparently Jade knew what she was talking about. Two months later she booked her first gig with an appearance on The Mentalist.
Fast forward through a recurring role on The United States of Tara, Criminal Minds:Suspect Behavior, and various shorts and indies, and now Jade Pettyjohn has her first big starring role as McKenna, the gymnast loving American Girl Doll of the year, in McKenna Shoots for the Stars (out of DVD now). She’s in leaving behind these bit parts to become a super star in the eyes of girls everywhere – like my own little reporter.
But you’re probably wondering what my daughter wanted to ask Jade (and of course her answers), check out the interview below:
Who is your favorite American Girl Doll?
Well, right now it’s McKenna, but other than that, I really like the Julie doll. I really love that she is ’70s and likes musicals, so she is probably my other favorite. But there are a lot that I like.
Were you excited about playing an American Girl Doll?
I was so excited when I found out that I was going to be the American Girl Doll. It was really cool because I had watched all the movies and I had the catalogs so it was really awesome.
What do you like to do for fun?
There are a lot of things I like to do for fun. My mom is a photographer, so now I really love to take pictures. I have this app on my iPod called Instagram so I take photos of that of things that inspire me. I also do music. I do acting and I do music.
Did you do training for the gymnastics in the movie?
They flew me out about three of four weeks before shooting and I actually trained with the Junior Olympics team. It was so cool. The gymnasts took me under their wing and taught me everything, it was really awesome.
When did you start acting?
Well, I started to ask about acting since I could talk – I loved acting and I loved the idea of it. But I actually started it when I was about seven.
What do you want to be when you grow up or are you doing it now?
I think acting and then music.
What kind of music do you like?
I like rock and roll and pop – a mix between those. I really like Christina Aguilera, she’s really awesome. I really like Joan Jett. They’re completely different but I love both of them. And I’m also on a Tina Turner kick. But (her tastes) change all the time.
Was it different doing the American Doll movie then the regular work you’ve done?
Yeah, I was doing things like Criminal Minds and the Mentalist, so I was like “yeah! I can have a movie that my friends can watch!” I wouldn’t want them to see Criminal Minds, you know? It was really awesome to work on a kid movie.
Are you ready to be recognized by tons of little girls – like my little girl – who was so happy to meet you? Are you ready for that because you are going to be like this icon?
I am ready for it. Once I got here (to the first promotional stop in San Jose for the Olympics Trials), I realized it, you know? And on my Facebook there have been little girls drawing me and stuff and I’m like “that’s so awesome!” I love it! I love it! I love making girls happy and excited to be next to me and stuff, I think it’s pretty cool. It’s a little weird like “uhh, I’m cool?” I like it!
And it’s hard not to like – or in my daughter’s case LOVE Jade Pettyjohn. Check out her work in American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars on DVD out now! Plus check out the trailer below:
Full Disclosure: The author participated in a press junket for the above coverage and was the guest of the Universal Pictures while attending. Any opinions presented here are purely held by its author and do not reflect those held by the American Girl Doll company or Universal.