I was fortunate enough to get an exclusive with the rising star herself- Caroline Sunshine…
TIM: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us.
Caroline Sunshine: It’s a pleasure. Thank you.
TIM: Tell us about your new film The Outfield. What drew you to the film?
Caroline Sunshine: Well, it is a baseball film so that meant there were going to be a lot of young men walking around in baseball pants frequently. So I took this film for a lot of the same reasons I went to baseball games in high school.
I also have a natural interest in entrepreneurship and I did my homework on Fullscreen Films; the company that produced “The Outfield”. Their business model seemed progressive, fresh, and focused on the changes occurring within the entertainment industry in terms of the way viewers are consuming content.
TIM: In the movie you play the scene-stealing girlfriend of Jack, how was the role a departure for you? Or did it feel quite relatable or natural even?
Caroline Sunshine: In my last role I played a flashy European exchange student on a sitcom. This role was completely different in terms of the character and style of acting. I love having variety. It keeps things interesting.
TIM: You have been working steady since childhood- theater, commercials, a successful Disney Channel Original Series “Shake It Up”, singing & dancing, and now major features- where do you feel most at home? What is your true passion?
Caroline Sunshine: At my core I’m a story-teller. I love telling stories. I have a borderline obsessive fascination with people and the worlds they inhabit.
TIM: The show really helped you grow as an actress, especially honing in on your comedic timing… Can you see yourself going down the comedy route or do you prefer more dramatic, or perhaps even salacious roles in your future?
Caroline Sunshine: I do not feel the need to shock people for the sake of shocking people. That’s boring. So far I’ve been lucky to cross back and forth between drama and comedy and I hope that is a theme that continues in my career. I like finding the comedic moments in the more dramatic roles and the humanity that grounds the comedic roles. Real life is rarely ever strictly drama or comedy; it’s always a mixture of the two.
TIM: How would you like your career to progress in the next five years?
Caroline Sunshine: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. In 5 years, I’ll be 25. I would like to have completed school and earned my degree. I would like to have come into my own more as a creator, entrepreneur, and performer. I hope my education enables me to continue exercising greater influence in my career and projects. I would also like to continue to show more sides of myself as a creator and performer and continue to mature in my work.
TIM: After renowned People Magazine critic, Tom Gliatto, hailed your role as Tinka Hessenheffer as “the best performance on the show”, how did you feel?
Caroline Sunshine: It is rare for Disney Channel actors to be recognized for their acting so it was a tremendous compliment. As an impressionable young performer in my first television role, those words of encouragement were reassuring. I try to take everything with a grain of salt. Life has ups and downs and I know there is going to be a day when the reviews aren’t saying such nice things about me. And when that day comes I’m just going to walk around saying, “But remember those nice things Mr. Gliatto said about me?”
TIM: What is the greatest lesson you learned from the time you spent on the series? Both personal and career?
Caroline Sunshine: I learned the value of developing a strong work ethic.
TIM: If you were reading a script, and were on the fence about taking the role, who would be the actor or actress (already to have signed on) that would make it impossible to turn down???
Caroline Sunshine: It’s a director actually. Darren Aronofsky. I’ve been a big fan of his for a long time.
TIM: Who are some of your other inspirations in entertainment?
Caroline Sunshine: Cher. She’s magnificent. She’s done it all.
TIM: How has social media affected your career, your choices, your esteem, etc.? How has it really impacted you?
Caroline Sunshine: It’s an extraordinary way to connect with my fans. In terms of self-esteem, I’ve never been too concerned with what people think of me and social media has not changed that. I caution against using social media as a means of self-validation. Take the good and the bad with a grain of salt.
TIM: While juggling your upcoming TV and film projects, you admirably attend Claremont McKenna College full time. I ask you, “How the heck are you handing everything?”
Caroline Sunshine: I would say I’m handling it like a complete champion. No, I’m kidding. It’s daunting. Some days I balance it all better than others and that’s okay. It’s a very humanizing experience. I feel like I’m getting two educations at once. I take a very active role in my career and I’m very proactive in my education. One often informs the other. I feel like being in college provides me with a stimulating environment that is shaping me into a better performer. As an actress, I approach my education with an open mind and I bring a natural sense of empathy to problem solving situations.
TIM: What would you be doing if you decided tomorrow you wanted to take a different path?
Caroline Sunshine: I would be living on a small farm in Iowa with horses and a rope swing that hangs over a stream.
TIM: What do you hope to truly accomplish between all of your ventures?
Caroline Sunshine: I just hope I always have the courage to live life on my own terms and create a career that is completely my own. I don’t want to play by the rules.
TIM: Do you have any final words of encouragement, advice, or any other message you want to send off to Generation Y?
Caroline Sunshine: It’s a line from the book Gilead by Marilynne Robinson: “I pray that you will grow up to be a brave person in a brave world. I pray you will grow up to be useful.”