Benjo Arwas, TWIST
The new year is all about fresh starts and new beginnings – but it's definitely not about forgetting where you came from. That's why, to start off 2017, we're bringing back a fan-favorite feature from out TWIST print issues called The TWIST List. Each month, we'll chronicle a different celeb who's perched for a totally awesome month ahead. Up first is actress Chandler Kinney, who is in for a great 2017.
This season, the 16-year-old actress' new FOX show Lethal Weapon is getting a ton of buzz – from fans and critics alike.
"I'm very excited about Lethal Weapon," Chandler tells TWIST. "We've released about 10 or 11 episodes and have been getting amazing feedback from fans, and we couldn't be more grateful for that. We're also nominated for a People's Choice Award for Best New TV Drama, and that's insanely amazing. I'm excited to hear if we win, which is this week."
Chandler calls the fact that the show has been recognized so early on "crazy."
"We didn't even know we were up for consideration to be nominated. We really were completely not expecting that at all," she says. "It's an amazing feeling to see people like what we're doing, because we put so many hours and so much love and hard work into what we do, and it's awesome to be nominated. Also Jordana [Brewster] and Damon [Wayans] are nominated for their work on the show, so I think everybody is just so grateful and amazing."
But it's not just Chandler's impressive acting projects that caught our eye – the actress has her own charitable organization called Chandler's Friends, which hosted its biggest event ever over the holidays in December.
"My mom and I started the organization about two years ago. We had been working on it behind the scenes, between projects that I have been working on, and we just really wanted to push it out there and get the ball rolling," Chandler shares. "[Over the holidays] it was time for us to take a bigger step and do something bigger than we had ever done before. We were recently able to team up with Hasbro for the Toy Wrap, and honestly it was so amazing. So many of my friends showed up, and that meant the world to me. And it was all for a good cause. We donated 300 toys to an organization called School on Wheels. They provide services to homeless children and families in the Los Angeles area, and it was just amazing. I'm so happy we were able to do it."
"We will be doing more events in the future. Something that we're working on, we're hoping in the summer to do a read-a-thon, or something like that. I'm looking forward to that!"
"Time management is crucial. I would not be able to do what I do without scheduling and making sure everything is right where it's supposed to be," Chandler shares about how she juggles it all. "My mom and I have SEVERAL calendars that we always use so we can fit in my acting, my school, and even a little fun time with my friends."
What's her advice for all of us out there who are feeling overwhelmed by our own hectic pace?
"I would say is really take advantage of your loving family. That sounds funny! But you really have to talk to your family, have them help you," Chandler says. "I have two older brothers. They're at college now, but they used to help me in school all the time, and I'm endlessly grateful to them. Really, I can't do everything by myself. My mom drives me everywhere. My dad helps me with pretty much everything else. So make sure you have amazing people to support you and help you. I have the most supportive friends, and that makes everything easier."
Chandler admits that balancing it all hasn't always been easy.
"It's been a journey. I remember in elementary school when I was first starting out in acting, it was hard. I was missing classes and working on the road constantly. Luckily I didn't get carsick!" she shares. "I was always working, so then we knew for middle school that I needed some sort of homeschool program. And that made everything easier. I am a dancer as well, and at my peak I was balancing about 30 hours of dance a week on top of having auditions and schooling. About two years ago, that's when I remember that it kind of became a little too much to be able to compete in dance, do shows, and – also, I am also a martial artist – so do that! And then on top of that audition and film AND keep my straight As in school."
"I remember that my mom sat me down and said, 'you have to choose.' This is actually a conversation that we had for about four years, where I would have to choose one day. And I was always like, 'Nope! I want to do it ALL!' I always wanted to do everything, and sleep when I could. Finally, I realized it was just too much and I didn't have any free time. I ultimately chose acting to be my main activity, just because I knew I could do it longer than I could dance. Dance is all physical, and about your body, where acting is about your mind. It's about the way you think. So I knew it would all be for the work in that field. Where you can't dance as an 80-year-old as much. Also education is very important to me, and I'm only allowed to act because I take my school very seriously."
TWIST learned that Chandler's family dishes out the best advice, so we asked the actress to impart a few poignant words on us all.
"My mom gives me great advice all the time. Every day, actually. She really helps me get through everything. It's like she's my mom, my sister, and my best friend. She's everything," she shares. "She gives me great advice like, 'Keep your head up, don't pay attention to negativity.' Especially in this world, it's so easy with the growth of social media and the internet, you're more easily exposed to negative comments. With my platform, what I try to do is be positive."
Are you excited for all the projects that Chandler has coming up? Are you inspired by her story? Leave us all your reactions in the comments section below.
Click on the image above to see some of Chandler's fiercest red carpet looks ever!