Mackinlee Waddell started acting at the age of 13. After appearing in several short films and feature independent films, she landed the role of McKinney Peachman on the new ABC hit show “GCB,” where she plays the daughter of socialite Sharon Peacham who is played by Jennifer Aspen. Other actors in “GCB” include Kristin Chenoweth, Annie Potts, David James Elliot, Marisol Nichols, Miriam Shor and Leslie Bibb. Mackinlee takes a break from filming to talk about her role on the show, her work with the Children’s Miracle Network, and her plans for the future.
You play McKinney Peachman on the new ABC hit show “GCB.” Tell us about your character on the show.
Mackinlee: McKinney Peachman is the daughter of Sharon Peacham (Jennifer Aspen) and Zach Peacham (Brad Beyer). You kind of get the idea that my character is the mean girl, but I slowly become more like my mom in the show and a little more naïve. It’s a fun role.
How is it for you to come into this big show and work with actors like Kristin Chenoweth and Annie Potts?
Mackinlee: It’s been such a dream to work with them. I learn so much when I’m on set. Getting to watch them do their magic when they are on set has taught me so much.
Tell us about a typical day for you when you’re filming?
Mackinlee: I get up at 6 and take a shower. I go to the set with no makeup on. They’ll have me go to school; I do three hours of school. After school, I go to hair and makeup. I go upstairs to my dressing room and put on the outfit for the scene and then go to rehearsal. And then go for touchups, and then go to film. If there is another scene I go back into hair and makeup. I’ll change and then go to rehearsals some more.
For school, do they have a tutor on set?
Mackinlee: Yes, they have a tutor for me. I’m a sophomore, so when I’m back in Dallas, I will transfer back into my regular high school.
What projects did you work on before GCB?
Mackinlee: I’ve done a few independents. I did one called “Den of Darkness” which was really cool. And I did one called “Searching for Sonny.” Right now I do a lot of work at the The Groundlings. I do a lot of classes there to work on my comedy.
Do you have any favorite actors or actress who inspires you?
Mackinlee: Yes, definitely Kristen Wiig. She is on “SNL” and was on “Bridesmaids” and I just look up to her so much. She’s kind of my role model comedically and I would love to meet her and hopefully work with her in the future.
You’re from Texas but now work in LA. How is life different in LA from back home?
Mackinlee: It’s so different. When I go to Texas, I can breathe because there is so much room. In LA it’s a little more fast-paced. It’s a different atmosphere and the people are different. I’m a Texas girl at heart.
Tell us about your work with the Children’s Miracle Network.
Mackinlee: When I was 5 I had open-heart surgery. I had a quick recovery and Children’s Medical Center wanted me to start speaking for them. After I started speaking for Children’s Medical Center, I also started speaking for Children’s Miracle Network to help raise money for non-profit hospitals for children who didn’t have insurance and couldn’t pay for their hospitals visits. When I’m back in Texas, I do all I can to help.
Do you have any advice for young aspiring actors?
Mackinlee: Yes. Make sure this is what you really want to do and follow your dream. Work really hard and never stop because hard work always pays off.
When you’re not performing and working on television projects, what do you like to do in your downtime?
Mackinlee: I just got my driver’s license and when I’m back in Texas I’m always hanging out with my friends. My dad and I just redid our game room … the carpet, couches and added a large screen TV. So we watch TV in there and play video games. And we have five dogs, so they hang out with us too.
In the future, are you going to stay with TV roles or would you also do film?
Mackinlee: I would love to do both. I also would like to do some behind-the-scenes work like directing.