Sweet! Jade Pettyjohn talks lemons and gymnastics

Any American Girl doll fans out there? The 2012 Girl of the Year, McKenna Brooks, will be brought to life in the all-new movie An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars, out on DVD July 3 and airing on NBC July 14 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Eleven-year-old Jade Pettyjohn stars as McKenna, a young girl whose dream is to compete as a world-class gymnast. But, as we all know, dreams don’t come that easily. Along with the stress of the competitive sport, McKenna finds herself struggling in school and even cheats on a test, earning her a stern lecture from her parents with a deal: If she doesn’t get help from a tutor, she can no longer do gymnastics.


Her embarrassment of being tutored leads McKenna to lie to her friends and start doubting her true talents. Plus, a bad fall in gym class lands her injured, jeopardizing her sporty future.


Throughout the flick, McKenna learns that it’s OK to accept help from others. With the help of her friends and supportive parents, will McKenna pull up her grades and recover in time to make the team? Will she find that perfect balance of sports and schoolwork?


In anticipation of this new family-friendly flick, we chatted up the star of the show herself. Read on to see what Jade Pettyjohn she had to say about summer…and her favorite Olympian! 


GL: Why should girls check out McKenna Shoots for the Stars?

Jade: It has a lot of great gymnastics, and I really love that it teaches you about balance. It’s something you definitely need in life.


What’s your favorite thing about your character McKenna?

Her determination to do what she loves. That’s a really good trait to have.


Absolutely! Did you know gymnastics before landing this role?

I knew a little, but had more of a dance background, so I trained with the Junior Olympic Team before shooting. It was totally weird because I was stepping into a whole new world, but it was really cool to see how they work, you know?


Do you have a particular athlete that you look up to right now?

I really love [former Olympic gymnast] Cathy Rigby. She plays my coach in the movie. She taught me how to do double cartwheels and gave me tips on how to make my splits better and stuff like that.


Were you a fan of the American Girl series before landing this movie?

I actually was! I had one doll who was a look-alike doll—except she didn’t look like me, which was kind of funny. I really like Kit Kittredge. He style is pretty cool.


In terms of your own style, what’s your go-to summertime outfit?

I love wearing a really nice pair of shorts with a crop top, a tank underneath and cute sandals!


And your favorite summertime snack?

On a really hot day, you get a lemon, put salt on it and eat it like an orange. I know it sounds weird, but it tastes really good.


Snag a peek at the flick below…


Be sure to check out Jade when McKenna Shoots for the Stars lands on DVD July 3.


Who’s your favorite American Girl doll? Blog about it, babes.

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by Kelly Gieron and Patricia McNamara | 2/1/2016
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