“Bunhead” Kaitlyn Jenkins
By: Lynn Barker
Ever had that special teacher who inspired you to be the best you can be? In the new ABC Family series “Bunheads” (slang hairstyle name for ballerinas) you’ll meet dancer Michelle (Sutton Foster) who started out on a ballet scholarship but ended up as a Las Vegas showgirl. Moving to a small town, she takes on a dance school full of wanna be career dancers.
One of the dancers is Bettina (Boo), played by Kaitlyn Jenkins who studied ballet for years before adding acting to her resume. Check out her take on the new show, starting Monday, June 11th, and her character.
Kidzworld: Tell me all about the character you play on “Bunheads”.
- Kaitlyn: I play Bettina (Boo) and she is a dreamer and wants nothing more than to be a ballerina and she’s not very prepared for it. We’ve been having so much fun. During lunch we all go out together and rehearse on the weekends. We’re planning more fun things like movies on the weekends.
Kidzworld: Great so you’ve got a real series family. I read that you were determined to get into TV as a little kid. What inspired you to want to do that?
- Kaitlyn: My favorite show growing up was “Scooby Doo” so I don’t think that was the inspiration but I did want to be a detective. I always loved pretending and would sit in my room for hours and just play with my dolls, make-believe games and play dress up. I loved make believe so much. I also loved “Little House on the Prairie”.
Kidzworld: Since your mom was a professional ballerina, what advice has she given you?
- Kaitlyn: She steps back a little bit and lets me use my ideas for the show but she’s always been there for me along the way. She helped me get started at 16 to get into the business and was behind me 100 percent. I was dancing throughout that time and was intensely into ballet through those years as well, even more than acting I would say.
Being a dancer, she would want to watch me in class and I would hate that because the other moms would be saying “Oh, good job honey”. My mom would say that but she was like “you can turn your bottom leg out more”. But, that helped me too.
Kidzworld: What is the first cool thing you bought when you started earning money as an actress?
Kaitlyn: I made a pact with my mom. We love Coach so we’d say “We can’t afford to buy that stuff”. Mom said “One day, when you book your first big job, will you buy me a Coach purse?” It was her birthday the day after I booked this show so I took money from the pilot and we went and picked out one and were crying. I’ve already “stolen” one from her.
Kidzworld: What do you hope the showrunners will eventually let your character do on “Bunheads”?
- Kaitlyn: Last episode we shot was great because Boo went a little crazy and that added lots of layers which was really fun. Amy (Sherman-Palladino who created TVs “Gilmore Girls”) is such a talented writer and I would like to see even more layers for Boo, exploring all her emotions and to see her go from kind of an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan. That would be inspirational for a lot of girls watching. I’d love to touch someone else with my acting.
Kidzworld: Your first acting gig was for a Nintendo Wii commercial. Which game was it for?
- Kaitlyn: It was a pilot for a game called Nintendo “Wii Zoo Hospital”. You’re the medic at the zoo and it was sooo fun. I got to work with a monkey and her name was Rupee and she was really cute. I was so lucky to work with her.
Kidzworld: You love animals. Do you have pets?
- Kaitlyn: I have two dogs and one cat. My cat is my baby. His name is Prince. He has big blue eyes and is really gorgeous. Julia is my little maltipoo, more my mom’s dog. Then we have Toby. He recently went blind but he’s okay. He’s a little chub chub because he can’t really run around but he’s cool.
Kidzworld: You went to a performing arts high school. How is that different from a “regular” high school?
- Kaitlyn: It’s very different. They do kind of an Arts school thing on “Victorious”. It’s not that intense but it’s kind of like it. Everyone has such individual personalities but no one makes fun of anyone at all. Everyone belonged. That was the really cool thing about my school. Everyone was mature enough to understand differences.
Kidzworld: Getting picked on or bullied because you are different in some way is a huge trending topic right now.
- Kaitlyn: Yeah. Hearing from people in public schools, it’s so different. I recently went to the Bully premiere. I was so shocked because a lot of those kids were like ones in my high school and they got bullied just because of how they looked or because they liked something different. There were Lesbian girls at my school and nobody thought anything of it. I didn’t have any of that. Students were more goal oriented. About 20 percent of the students went on to have careers in their crafts.
Kidzworld: Who is your fave band or music artist?
- Kaitlyn: I really like Fun because I love the song “We are Young” and Lady Gaga. I love 30H!3 and Linkin’ Park. I always love dancing to their songs.
Kidzworld: Who are you dying to act with some day?
- Kaitlyn: I have a couple. I love “Law and Order SVU” so any of the actors on that show would be phenomenal; Mariska Hargitay. Then in movies, Johnny Depp. I like some of Zac Efron’s stuff too.
Kidzworld: Do you have any favorite books? Like were you into “The Hunger Games”?
- Kaitlyn: I’m not a big book reader but I always liked “The Uglies” book series. Really cool and interesting.
Kidzworld: What is a typical day like for you when you aren’t working?
- Kaitlyn: I’m trying to finish up my credits in school. I’m determined to get my AA degree and taking a class in Ethnic Studies. I’ll go to class and go home and nap. Probably watch a little TV and go to the gym with my friends, guys, and go eat and talk afterwards and of course shopping.
Kidzworld: What must a boy never do on a date with you or he won’t get a second date?
- Kaitlyn: If you pick up the phone and start talking to someone and it’s not an emergency, that’s annoying or if you are texting the entire time we’re on a date. Then you aren’t listening to me at all and aren’t interested. Take breaks to text but not the whole time. “I’m over here!”
Kidzworld: Why will kids and teens really get into watching “Bunheads”
- Kaitlyn: The chemistry between everyone is great. The casting is phenomenal. There is such good writing on the show, humor and drama, all aspects of life. People will love the connections the actors make and get involved in the people and their stories. Everyone is so different. There is someone that everyone can connect to on the show.