December of 2010, I received a phone call from professional artist B.C. Hailes. He explained that he had been appointed by American Girl to illustrate the 2012 American Girl book. Hailes needed models to inspire his illustrations. After submitting some photos, American Girl finally chose four of our athletes to use as the faces for their book. A year and a half later, McKenna (named after yours truly??) was introduced to America. It was a treat for our gym to see gymnasts we knew and loved, in the McKenna books, on the American Girl store walls, and on toys, puzzles, and apps. Today I’d like to introduce you to real-life gymnast Adelaide, the face of American Girl’s Mckenna.
When did you start gymnastics and how did you get involved?
I started when I was a year and a half old. My mom is a coach and she thought it would be fun to do a parent-tot class with me.
Do people ever recognize you as McKenna the American Girl of the year?
Sometimes. When the book first came out, some sixth graders from my school all came over to ask if it was me in the book.
In which ways are you similar to McKenna?
I’m a gymnast too and I sometimes have a hard time managing my homework.
In which ways are you different from McKenna?
I’m a little older than her. Also, I just finished competing level seven and she is a level four. Oh, and her hair is longer than mine.
Have you ever broken anything like McKenna did?
I broke my leg in first grade. I had to use crutches and sometimes I would use a stroller to get around school. Like McKenna, I broke my leg at the gym, but I wasn’t doing gymnastics when I was hurt. I was at a birthday party and a boy jumped on me . . . pretty hard!
What did you learn from that experience?
I learned crutches aren’t as fun as you might think. I guess I also learned patience. I had to swim a lot to get my leg strong and mobile so I could do gym again.
Tell us about your friends who were also used for the illustrations?
They were my teammates. We started as level 4’s together. I still hang out with them even though they don’t do gym anymore. I went to Kasey’s birthday party just last month and Gabby just came to mine.
What is your favorite McKenna American Girl Product?
I like the McKenna Gymtastic app. I play it on our iPad.
What real-life gymnast do you look up to and why?
I really like Gabby Douglas. She always has a good attitude. If she messes up, she doesn’t let it get her down. And of course, she won the olympics!
Unfortunately as of the new year, American Girl is no longer selling the McKenna doll. But you can still get your hands on these great products: