Previously Known For: As Ruthie Camden on 7th Heaven
|Currently Known For: Maxim feature story and The Secret Life of the American Teenager|
“I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. It’s funny, people ask me that and I don’t know what to tell them. I really like what I’m doing right now. I’m not bad at it, so I might as well keep doing it.” Growing up before our very eyes as the adorable and mischievous Ruthie Camden on the long-running WB series 7th Heaven, Mackenzie Rosman has always had a larger than life personality, which is exactly how she snagged the part of Ruthie after greeting everyone in the audition with a handshake and a smile! Believe it or not, Rosman’s career started a few years prior to that when she made her grand entrance into the world on December 28, 1989 in Charleston, South Carolina.
Raised in Santa Clarita, California, Rosman was a natural “ham” in front of the camera, which is why her parents didn’t think twice about letting her audition for a handful of commercials as a toddler. Appearing in ads for products like Tuff’s Diapers and Nike shoes by the time she was four years old, Rosman spent the next few years appearing in a string of ads before Hollywood’s pilot season finally paid off big. Responding to an open casting call for Aaron Spelling’s newest series on The WB called 7th Heaven, Rosman was seven years old when she auditioned for the part of Ruthie Camden—the youngest daughter of Reverend Eric Camden and his wife, Annie. Needless to say, Rosman’s personality shone during the audition when she greeted everyone in the room with a handshake, which made the decision to cast the youngster incredibly easy as Rosman made her official television debut alongside her on-screen family—Catherine Hicks, Barry Watson, David Gallagher, Jessica Biel and Beverley Mitchell—on August 26, 1996.
Much like her early success in commercials, Rosman was a natural on television and, over the next decade, was nominated for six Young Artist Awards with a huge win in 2004 when she took home the award for Best Performance for a Supporting Young Actress. Amid her success on the show, she made her film debut as Molly MacLemore in the 1998 independent flick, Gideon, starring Charlton Heston and Shelley Winters, but ultimately put her film career on hold to focus all her energy on 7th Heaven, her schoolwork, her family, and her passion for horses as a competitive show jumper.
With her character maturing right alongside her on the series, Rosman’s interests blossomed behind the scenes as she worked hand-in-hand with her family to raise funds and awareness for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in support of her stepsister, Katelyn Salmont. Coincidentally, Rosman was able to share Katelyn’s story on 7th Heaven when producers invited her sister to appear in a special episode called “Back in the Saddle Again” where the sisters rode horses and explained the importance of organ donation. Featured on Teen People’s “20 Teens Who Will Change the World,” the sisters reunited on 7th Heaven’s “X-Mas” episode where Katelyn proudly shared an update on her health after a successful double-lung transplant. The transplant, however, was not enough to save Katelyn’s life as she died from pneumonia and cystic fibrosis three years later in December 2008.
Prior to her sister’s death, Rosman wrapped up 7th Heaven in 2007 and returned to Santa Clarita where she graduated with honors in May 2007 from Valencia High School. She then returned to film where she appeared in Proud American in 2008 and was then cast as Loreli in The Tomb in 2009. The following year, she made her way back to television where she joined the cast of The Secret Life of the American Teenager as Zoe. Appearing in four episodes of the popular series, she snagged a role in the 2010 fantasy film, Fading of the Cries, but dropped out of the spotlight for the next year and a half before returning in 2013 when she appeared as Ava Reid in Ghost Shark, as Rowena Hambleton in Nightcomer, and as Deb in Beneath.
Having long been associated with her performance as the adorable Ruthie Camden, Rosman was determined to set herself apart and stunned her fans when she posed for Maxim magazine in July 2013. The risqué feature story proved that Rosman was no longer the little girl as the actress herself embraced the chance to flaunt her sex appeal saying, “People might be worried, but you know what? It’s who I am.” The story, of course, brought back memories of Jessica Biel’s own racy photoshoot for Gear magazine in 2000, which Rosman easily recalled. “I was probably nine at the time, but I remember that. It was a big deal,” she said. “The magazine was banned on the set, I think by orders of Aaron Spelling. I sneaked a peek at it, though. It was racy gossip amongst the women of 7th Heaven!”
Apart from her racy photoshoot with Maxim, Rosman is still questioning if her future is in Hollywood especially with only a few acting credits to her name including short films like Ankh and Love Will Tear Us Apart. In fact, she seems to be spending most of her time riding horses and sharing her sister’s legacy through her philanthropic work as she raises awareness for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She also serves as the honorary national chairperson for the fundraising program known as Cure Finders in addition to working as an ambassador for Childhelp, Inc., which provides support for abused children.
Today, the 27-year-old Rosman rarely gives interviews but, when she does, she’s happy to gush about her early fame and her on-screen family—after all, she grew up with them! “I keep in contact with mostly everyone. We’ve all gone our separate ways, living our lives, and it’s been awhile now so we have a lot of our own things going on. But, we keep tabs on each other just like family or old friends would,” she says. As for a 7th Heaven reunion, Rosman says the cast isn’t much on reuniting for television but tries to get together for dinner whenever they can. “We would all love to see each other again,” she says. “It’s hard coordinating a group of seven people or more, depending on who can come, so next time the stars align… It would be fun, though. I miss the whole crew, everybody. It’s a 100-person family.” 7th Heaven fans certainly miss them too!