Secrets of My Hollywood Life- Jen Calonita


“You’re America’s newest sweetheart,” she explains with a flip of her $300 honey-highlighted hair during one of our notoriously long lunch meetings at The Ivy. “You don’t bash people — especially your costars. The Kaitlin Burke the public loves would never do such a thing.” Yeah, well, the real me is having a tough time sticking to that motto. Sky and I have never been friends and we’ve worked together since we were four, when we were cast to play fraternal twins on the nighttime soap Family Affair. I should have known we would have a volatile relationship from our first scene together. Seconds before the director yelled “action,” Sky clocked me over the head with her pink Barbie Corvette. We delayed filming for a week — while we waited for the large bump on my head to go down. Just like real life, our characters are polar opposites. Sky plays Sara, the scheming bad seed in our TV family.

This season alone Sara has crashed our dad’s Hummer, slept with his boss, and been in rehab for her rum and Coke addiction. My character, Samantha, is a bit of a goody two-shoes. In one episode, Sam skipped the winter formal to run a food drive for a local orphanage. Kind of makes you want to gag, doesn’t it? After twelve seasons, I’ve become a pro at ignoring Sky’s comments. ( “Nice zit, K,” she said the other morning in makeup. “Ever hear of Clearasil?”) I’ve even learned to tune out the tantrums she throws when she thinks I have more lines than her in an episode. But this time Sky’s gone too far. It all started when TV Tome But this time Sky’s gone too far. It all started when TV Tome voted me the most popular teen in prime time. Sky was so beside herself she trashed her dressing room and refused to work for days, saying she was suffering from “exhaustion.” Personally, I think Sky was just mad that she ranked number eight. It was right after those rumors about me began popping up in the tabloids. I’m not talking silly stuff like, “Family Affair’s Kaitlin Burkeis an alien!” That I could deal with. These were cruel stories — ones that my mom feels compelled to read (she reads all my press) and show me. The stories said I threw a fit when FAs new hottie, Trevor Wainright, asked Sky out instead of me. They said my parents were control freaks. They said I was thinking of leaving the show. This week, Mom showed me a cover story Hollywood Nation ran on my supposed downfall: “Is Kaitlin Burke No Longer TV’s Good Girl?” the headline blared. I’m convinced Sky is behind the tabloid frenzy, which is why I marched into her dressing room yesterday to confront her.

“Skylar,” I began, because I know she hates being called by her full name, “Did you see the new issue of TV Tome?”

“Hey, K,” Sky cooed. She was lounging on her reuphol-stered zebra-print couch, which sits in front of her new leopard-skin rug. Her African safari-themed dressing room is very un-PC. “No, I haven’t.”

“I have it here.” I shoved the worn magazine under her nose.
“There’s a story about FA.”

“So?” She snapped the red Kabbalah rubber band she had on, acting all uninterested. “What does it say?”
” ‘Sky Mackenzie, Family Affairs favorite bad girl, is heart broken over rumors that her TV sis, played by Kaitlin Burke,
might be killed off,” I read calmly. “‘Sources say Kaitlin’s lovable character, Sam, may be stricken with a fatal disease,
leaving her twin, Sara, an only child. “I don’t know what I’ll do without Katie around,” Sky said sadly when asked about the rumors. “The two of us are really like sisters!”‘”

“I was devastated when I heard that.” Sky didn’t look upset to
me. Actually she stood up and yawned — keeping one hand on her Lucky jeans so they wouldn’t fall off her bony hips — and walked over to her bamboo dressing mirror. “I had to take two Midol and lie down for a while,” she added. “But not to worry, K — I asked the writers and they said it’s not true.”

“Of course it’s not true! You made it up!” I was getting visibly
upset despite my actor training telling me not to.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Sky replied as she
examined her long raven hair and over tanned complexion in the

“So you don’t know where Celeb Insider got that crazy story about me re-shooting a kissing scene with Trevor to make you jealous either, huh?” I asked. “What did it say again? Oh, that’s right.
‘Kaitlin Burke made Sky Mackenzie fly off the set in tears.”

“Someone must really not like you around here, K.” She squinted her big brown eyes at me. “Come to think of it, I just read another story about you. Online. Something about your mom being a total Hollywood wannabe.”

That was the last straw. I wanted to lunge at her. I pictured an
insane catfight like Paige and Krystal always get into on our
show (you know the type — someone always winds up pushed into a pool wearing an evening gown), but then I remembered Laney’s plea. So instead, I turned on my heels and slammed the dressing room door.

“Don’t be a stranger, K!” Sky called out in a singsong voice.


I love my job, but between us, times like this make me wan to
buy a one-way ticket out of Los Angeles. I feel like everyone I
know lives and breathes Hollywood 365 days a year. Whatever
happened to a little downtime? You know, talking about something other than movies, curling up with a good book or going to the beach? Laney and my parents don’t know it yet, but I’ve been thinking about making some serious changes when Family Affair wraps for the season. Like finding a remote island and clearing my head for a while..

( Secrets of my Hollywood Life- Jen Calonita)


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