THEN AND NOW: CAROLINE KENNEDY
Jan 18, 2018 10:09AM
● By Caitlin Marshall
The town was abuzz when 12-year-old Caroline Kennedy of Lafayette nabbed a role in Tyler Perry’s “A Madea Christmas” as Lucy McCoy (released in 2013). It’s not often someone so young manages to land a role like this on her very first audition for a movie, so one might expect that all the attention and fame might get to someone’s head at that age, but Caroline’s taken it all in stride and hasn’t allowed the limelight to change who she is as a person.
FACE featured Caroline as their cover story in the August 2014 issue. Now, four years later, Caroline is 16 and a Junior at Saint Thomas More Catholic High School in Lafayette.
According to her friends, she looks and acts no differently than any other high schooler around town and when the topic of her acting career comes up, she remains humble, talking casually about her big-screen experience.
Already halfway through high school, Caroline understands it’s time to focus in on her school work and maintaining high grades in order to prepare for college. “I’ve been particular about the auditions I take. I’ve been more serious about school, and it’s really paying off,” she shared.
Talking to Caroline was refreshing, seeing such a young girl putting her education first. According to Caroline, auditioning is a time-consuming commitment, especially when striving for high marks. Between school and traveling expenses, mailing audition tapes have been her best bet in vying for parts without having to put her personal life on pause.
“That’s so much easier than going in person,” Caroline stated, “especially since a lot of the stuff that comes in is from Atlanta and California and there’s no way we can just drop everything and go to an audition unless there’s the potential for a big opportunity.”
“I’m still really interested in acting, but I believe when I’m a little older I can better decide for myself whether I want to go that direction or not… Meanwhile, I'm keeping my portfolio and comp card updated just in case,” said Caroline.
With that said, she admitted she would move in a heartbeat if the right opportunity presented itself. The young actress is looking forward to college, where she can branch out and discover more of the world, even if that means leaving home for a while. And who can blame her? As for what she wants to study in college, the teen is still unsure.
“Something medical?” she said with a shrug, admitting she always assumed she would just follow her father’s footsteps, joining the medical profession.
But as for now, Caroline still has a year and a half left of high school and is currently dedicating all of her free time to her high school's musical theater production of High School Musical.
“I got the part of Sharpay Evans! Practices start in January and the production hits the stage live in March. It’s a huge undertaking,” she explains. “It’s a lot of hard work but I’m really excited about it. There’s a lot of good people in the production and I’m looking forward to meeting all of them and building new friendships.”
According to Caroline, when it comes down to it, she probably enjoys theater a little more, it’s more challenging than acting in front of a camera. Theater is more interactive and in-the-moment.
“I mean, film can be both fun and funny, but theater?” Caroline said pointedly, “You can just go so many different ways with it. You can add more of your personality—be a bit overdramatic because that’s what it takes sometimes for the audience to get what’s going on. With film, you can add so many special effects and music... On a stage, you kind of have to be animated to get your point across.”
Her passion and love for being on stage ignited when she was young, starting with a production put on my Christian Youth Theater. “That kind of sparked my desire for acting, especially musicals,” she said. “They’re so much fun, and I love singing.”
When she isn’t working on school musicals, Caroline takes lessons at The Music Box for singing and piano while dancing at The Movement, a studio in Lafayette.
She’s also very involved with Saint Thomas More’s Campus Ministry and is currently helping the junior class in putting on Hopefest, a charity event run by the high schools junior class every year. She is also active in student government as a representative for her class, but her eyes are set on Class President for her senior year.
Since her cinema debut in 2013, Caroline has also been in a few commercials and fashion shows. She even emceed for a model and talent search event where she shared her “success story” with other aspiring actresses.
Ever passionate and humble, Caroline hopes she is able to inspire other girls and help them pursue their big dreams.
“I definitely am humbled by people coming up to me and wanting help to become a better actress or become a better singer; it makes me happy. But I don’t go around saying, ‘Oh, I was in a movie.’ It’s definitely a cool experience to share my story because it really does inspire people.”
It is always fun to tell the story of a young adult that is so talented and well grounded, especially when they’re from Acadiana.
So Caroline, keep up the good the great work and—Break a Leg!
Read Caroline's original cover story at https://issuu.com/FACEACADIANA/docs/face_august2014_issuu