You know her as Ruthie Camden, the precocious little sister on The WB's "7th Heaven." Mackenzie Rosman took time out from her busy shooting schedule to chat with IML about playing a little sister, preparing for her teen years, and the eight special friends who live in her backyard...
IML: Hi, Mackenzie!
IML: Wow, "7th Heaven" is already in its seventh season! How do you think the show has changed since it first started airing?
Mackenzie: Well, at first, there weren't as many children and it seemed like all the kids were perfect. They did everything right and they were all younger. Then it changed because the issues the children face are changing as they get older. Like some of the older kids are getting married and moving away.
IML: How do you think your character, Ruthie, has changed?
Mackenzie: She's changed a lot. She's gone from being the youngest kid in the family -- the little girl who everybody thinks is so cute and stuff -- to not-the-youngest-kid in the family because she now has baby twin brothers. Now Ruthie is more grown-up and dealing with more adult issues.
IML: The show has gotten really popular and it seems to appeal to both kids and adults. Why do you think that is?
Mackenzie: People can really relate to what the characters are facing. People watch it and think, "Gosh, I thought that only happens to me! How did they know that?"
IML: You've got six brothers and sisters on TV. How many do you have in real life?
Mackenzie: I have an older sister named Caitlin, who is 15, and a younger brother named Chandler. He's 10.
IML: Do you guys ever get in fights?
Mackenzie: Me and Caitlin get along pretty well, but Chandler and I fight quite a bit.
IML: How do you and Chandler resolve things?
Mackenzie: By not talking to each other for the rest of the day! (laughs)
IML: Really? You don't talk things out?
Mackenzie: No, we do, eventually.
IML: Do you think it's hard for your brother and sister, with you being an actress? Is it tough for them that you're in the spotlight and they're not?
Mackenzie: No, they don't mind at all. I mean, my brother, he's done television stuff, but he just didn't like doing it as much as I do. Caitlin's just not interested in it.
IML: Do you ever wish you had a bigger family like the Camdens?
Mackenzie: Actually, I like having a smaller family. I think the more people you have in the family, the more people there are to have problems with.
IML: We hear your 13th birthday is coming up. Are you excited?
Mackenzie: I am!
IML: Do you think things will change now that you'll be a teenager?
Mackenzie: I don't really know if anything's going to change. It's more of an idea than anything else. You know, "I'm a teenager now!"
IML: What do you think will be hardest about being a teen?
Mackenzie: You're a little kid, but then you're not an adult, so you're in the middle. That's kind of difficult.
IML: Do you do any volunteer work?
Mackenzie: I'm involved with a charity called Carousel Ranch. They help disabled people by getting them involved in horseback riding.
IML: So, you're into horseback riding?
Mackenzie: Oh, yeah! I've been riding for four or five years. I do hunter/jumpers. That's the name of the type of riding I do.
IML: How often to you ride?
Mackenzie: Well, I have eight horses in my backyard. I ride all the time. It's just been so hot lately that I haven't really been able to ride that much, just a couple of times a week. Usually when it's not so hot, I like to ride at least four times a week.
IML: That's amazing that you've got horses right outside your house! Is there one particular horse that's your favorite?
Mackenzie: Yes, there is. Her name is Xena.
IML: Do you think it is important for kids to find something that they're passionate about?
Mackenzie: It's really important to find something you really enjoy - something you can focus on and be good at.
IML: What's your advice to someone who's still figuring out what they're good at?
Mackenzie: Try out a bunch of different things. Take a lesson or two in everything and see what you like the most.
IML: Great advice! Thanks so much for chatting with us, and good luck with the show this year.
Mackenzie: Thank you!
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