If you are a fan of American Girl dolls, you can’t have missed Jade Pettyjohn’s 2012 breakthrough film, An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for The Stars. The film performed so well in the box office that the McKenna doll became the annual highest-selling doll of the year. The 20-year old actress played a professional gymnast in the drama and won millions of hearts as McKenna Brooks. However, there are many unexplored facts about the teenage actress, that might interest you!
Jade Pettyjohn’s Parents Didn’t Want Her to Choose Acting Career
When Jade Pettyjohn decided to become an actress, her parents were reluctant to support her decision. In the studio, she had the chance to meet Nia Vardalos, who emerged as a guide for the 11-year-old gymnast in her reel life. Her modest look and awe-inspiring supportive mentality inspired her a lot.
She revealed that Vardalos, Kerris, Toulane, and Cathy Rigby were jovial decent and cordial to accept her. It was an unforgettable experience for the young performer, who waited eagerly for some inspirational boosters.
When she was barely four, she expressed her desire to become an actress. But, her parents had no plans of sending her to an acting academy or support her to become a stage performer. Her suppressed reticence seemed to obstruct her from acting frankly. Gradually, she upgraded her talent with strong motivation to step into Hollywood.
Music Impacted Her Life Largely
Jade Pettyjohn grew up in such a family which nestled music and art. Her mother, Jessica Pettyjohn, is a photographer, and her father, Shiloh Pettyjohn, is a well-known composer. In fact, her grandmother was also a dancer. However, she always found music as a means of self-expression.
She claimed that music kept her life balance without breaking the symphony and impacted her personality significantly. Pettyjohn likes to listen to Lorde Beck, Etta James, and White Stripes.
She Started Her Career as a Model
Like many other Hollywood actors, Jade Pettyjohn started her career with modeling. She teamed up with her photographer mom to get stunning headshots, which earned her some commercials. However, she was more interested in acting since her childhood and continued to look for agents to step into her acting career.
She Had Little Experience of Gymnastics Before Acting in the Role
When Jade Pettyjohn was initially chosen for the role of Mckenna Brooks, she has little experience in gymnastics. As a dancer, she just knew the basics of performance art. She had to train extensively with a Junior Olympic Team to optimize her performance for the sake of performing as Mckenna Brooks. Eventually, she corrected her steps to move or swing on the ground rhythmically.
For this particular role, her role model was Cathy Rigby. She appeared as the professional trainer in An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars. This senior coach shared insider tips with her and helped her to complete the session of double cartwheels. Her encounter with Rigby opened up a new world for her.
Jade Pettyjohn’s Motivation to Play Mckenna’s Character on Screen
Responding to the question, ‘What’s your favorite thing about your character McKenna?’ Jade Pettyjohn admitted that Mckenna is always determined to do anything she likes. The boldness of Mckenna enticed her. She took practical training and suggestions from her co-actors and director to overcome her fears while facing the camera.
Jade Pettyjohn has shown superior talent in gymnastics while playing McKenna Brooks on screen. From dealing with her performance stress to getting caught during a test- McKenna had to deal with a lot of challenges at a young age before she convinced her parents to be a gymnast! Likewise, Jade Pettyjohn too had to undergo a major transformation and training to restructure her body and perform in front of the camera. She went to local aesthetic clubs to reset her body to have fitness.
Regular exercises made her strong and flexible before she started her gymnastics training. Side by side, she controlled her eating habits to healthy. Pettyjohn had to gain more carbs through intake of the planned foods and replace her favorite snacks.
Although she was reluctant to go to school, she didn’t shy away from arguing with her parents to get the best education and graduated high school with honors in 2018. Her inspiring story and secrets can motivate millions of young Americans, who want to pursue their dreams in the entertainment industry!