Jade Pettyjohn was born in Los Angeles on November 8, 2000. As a young child, Jade loved performing, but she really got the acting bug at age seven, and she convinced her parents to help her get started.
Her first acting role was in a commercial, and then Jade went on to play roles on TV shows such as The Mentalist and United States of Tara. She has also starred in several short films. (Read her full bio on the Jade Pettyjohn website.)
We caught up with Jade at the 2012 U.S. Olympics Gymnastics Trials, where she was promoting the direct-to-DVD/Blu-ray movie An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars. Jade stars in the movie as McKenna, a determined young gymnast who must learn that balance is just as important in life as it is in gymnastics. To prepare for her role in the movie, Jade got to train for a few weeks with the Junior Olympic gymnastics team.
The American Girl movies are based on the popular American Girl dolls. Each of the dolls comes from a specific time in U.S. history, and each has a story of courage and determination all her own. A real life American Girl, Jade is also determined, confident and absolutely charming. Here are some of the things we learned about her:
Favorite book: Right now, The Hunger Games series and the Twilight series
Favorite movie: Loves a lot of movies, but right now her favorite is We Bought a Zoo
Favorite Food: Sushi
Favorite American Girl doll: Julie
I had a lot of fun with all of it, but I really liked the gymnastics part of it. Because, I stepped into a whole new world. I never really did a lot of gymnastics, only the basics, you know. So, stepping into this whole new world -- I thought that was really cool.What was the hardest part?
Probably, the lines. I guess it was a little bit hard. You just have to drill it, and drill it and drill it.How are you like "McKenna"?
I feel like, we both really love what we’re doing. We’re very determined to do what we love. For me, it’s acting, and for her it’s gymnastics. So, I feel like we both have that in common -- really loving something that much.Who are the actresses you most look up to?
Now, it’s Nia Vardalos, because she plays my mom (in the movie), and she's really awesome. I like Nia Vardalos, Cathy Rigby, who is also in the movie, she plays my coach...And I also like Dakota Fanning, Natalie Portman, and Reese Witherspoon.What are some of your hobbies?
I’m a musician, I sing. I also really like taking pictures, photography. My mom is actually a proffessional photographer, so I kind of get it from her. I really like taking pictures of things that inspire me, or I think are beautiful and stuff like that.The message of the movie is about finding balance, what's your secret to doing that in your own busy life?
"My secret is just to do a little bit of this, and don’t focus so much on one thing that you can’t do anything else. Because, if you do one thing, you might lose the fun out of it…So, I feel like you should do a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and not focus on one particular thing. So that’s what I do.