This month’s cover kid is Texas native, McKenna Grace. She graced our Suburban Parent cover on July 2011. She is back to promote her most current movie, GIFTED. She portrays a 7 year old child prodigy named Mary, who is cared for by her Uncle after her mother died. A must see! You may, of course, recognize her because she has appeared in many of your favorite TV shows from Fuller House, Dog with A Blog, KC Undercover, and the Disney XD series Crash & Bernstein! McKenna also has appeared in Nickelodeon shows. We have also discovered that along with McKenna’s acting skills, she also has some good vocals! Sing on McKenna!
Q. When you were on the cover of our Suburban Parent magazine in July 2011, you said you liked dancing, singing, cheerleading, acting, and playing with your best friend, Kenzie. As well as collecting stuffed animals (your favorite was an 80’s vintage E.T.) Has anything changed?
A. Not much has changed since then! I still love all of those things and Kenzie is still one of my best friends. I love bringing my stuffed animals everywhere!
Q. Tell us about your education.
A. I am homeschooled and I have a tutor when I’m on set filming. My homeschooling program is through a public school, so I still do all the same things that kids that go to school do. I have to check in with my teacher every week and on Mondays if I’m not filming, I go to a creative writing class. Although I’m in 5th grade, I have been studying 6th grade math.
Q. Do you ever have to be away from your family while filming?
A. Sometimes. I filmed a show in Toronto (Designated Survivor) so I spent a lot of time there. My Mom comes with me to everything I do, so we’re always together. If I am filming away for a few months my Dad or my grandparents will come visit me. We also FaceTime every day.
Q. Who is your favorite actor?
A. It is too hard to pick just one! I have so many favorites! Octavia Spencer and Meryl Streep are two of my absolute favorites.
Q. What is the most extreme change to your personality, hair, accent, etc., that you had to do to prepare for a role?
A. I had my hair cut short for Gifted, but I didn’t mind that. I just finished filming a movie called I, Tonya where I played young Tonya Harding. That was definitely the hardest role I have had to prepare for. I have never ice-skated before, so it was really tough. I was all bruised up and falling at first, but I kept getting back up. I love ice-skating now.
Q. What character was the toughest to change into?
A. Playing Mary in Gifted was tough. She is so different from me because I am a really happy person most of the time. Mary has been through a lot in her life and she was very sad and confused and angry at times.
Q. What was your first role as an actress?
A. My very first job ever was a commercial for the YMCA in Texas.
Q. Are you able to work long hours, and do you have a tutor/teacher onsite.
A. I can only work 9 1/2 hours on set. If it’s a school day, then I do school work for at least 3 hours with a tutor.
Q. Of all the roles you played in the past, which is your most favorite?
A. Playing Mary in Gifted is the most favorite role I have ever had. The whole experience and everyone on that set was, and is, so special to me.
Q. We heard you are now a Girl Scout. How were you inspired to join your Troop?
A. Yes! In Gifted, my character Mary is a Girl Scout, so the Girl Scouts of America asked me if I would become an honorary Girl Scout. I was so excited because I had always wanted to be a Girl Scout. They had a special pinning ceremony and taught me their pledge. It was such a special day and I hope I can be involved with more things with them. It’s such a great organization that encourages girls to be kind, courageous and empowered. I admire all girl scouts and I’m so thankful for them!
Q. Can you share your bucket list with us? Which have you checked off as done!?
A. I can share some, but not all because some of it is my deepest hopes and dreams. Some of the things I have already checked off: Visit Cabbage Patch Factory, help animals, meet Emma Watson, be in a movie that goes to theaters, raise money for cancer, ride in a hot air balloon and pet a llama. Some things I’m looking forward to checking off are: Have a pet chicken and a hairless cat, feed orphans, work with Tim Burton and M. Night Shymalan, drink tea in England, pet a panda and see the Great Wall of China, participate in a peaceful protest and be part of flash mob!
Q. We have heard that you are a pretty good singer.
A. Yes, sometimes people tell me I'm a good singer. I do love to sing and it always feels good when someone says something nice about it.