Tonight's episode of Last Man's Standing highlights a problem that has deservedly been getting a lot of attention lately — bullying. Eve Baxter (played by Kaitlyn Dever) gets suspended for bullying after she calls one of her classmates a bad name. Her dad Mike (played by Tim Allen) is surprised that the act is considered bullying. In a recent exclusive interview we spoke with Kaitlyn about the episode, bullying and her recent sweet 16 birthday.
Kaitlyn was excited when she heard the show was going to tackle the subject of bullying. She stated, "It's really important that people know about it and the issue in schools because it happens every day to people and it really hurts when people get bullied."
Although the actress has never been bullied personally, she did recall friends in elementary school that fell victim. She currently is home schooled and so is not affected by the issue herself but stated, "I definitely experienced it when I was in elementary school. It really showed me [that] people think saying a word to make fun of them won't hurt them but it actually does. It can really affect someone."
She offered this advice to kids, "When someone is bullying you, don't let it get to you. I remember my friends in school, someone said something mean to them and they really let it get to them. And it really affected them. But I would just say try to ignore it as much as possible and just be yourself."
Since the fall of 2011, Kaitlyn has been playing Eve Baxter, the youngest daughter in Tim Allen and Nancy Travis' family. She is a bit of a tomboy who up until the bullying incident has never been in any trouble.
Kaitlyn explained the ways that she and Eve are similar. "We're alike with our sarcastic remarks and constantly making sarcastic comments to my sisters in real life and on set. She's got a very dry sense of humor. That's what I love to be able to portray my dry sense of humor as Eve Baxter on the show." But she continued, "She knows so much about sports and I know zero about sports… I've learned so much from being on set. I've learned so many new sports terms."
The young actress who has also appeared in An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong and the TV show Justified, loves working with the LMS cast. "They're awesome. We all feel like a family and it's great. The cast is amazing I love everybody. Tim Allen is just awesome. Nancy Travis is amazing. She's the best. And then there's my older sisters on the show are awesome, too. Because they really feel like my older sisters and it's cool to have that aspect because I don't have older sisters in real life."
Kaitlyn, who has been acting since she was five, just turned 16. She celebrated the big day with her friends in a cabin in Big Bear, California sledding, playing games and making Christmas cookies. She recalled, "We had a jam session. Me and my friend played guitar and we sang a bunch of songs together. It was so much fun. I will remember it for the rest of my life. It was the best party ever."
When not acting Kaitlyn spends her time making music. "I've been playing guitar for about eight years and I just did a few covers and I'm going to release them on YouTube soon so I'm really excited about that. I did 'Ring of Fire' by Johnny Cash and I did 'Landslide' by Fleetwood Mac with my sister, we're forming our own little band."
But while she loves music, acting is her true passion. She admitted, "I don't picture myself doing anything other than acting because I love it so much. It's always been my dream to come out here and do what I love. And I guess another passion would be music. I love music. I love playing the guitar. I play other instruments as well, but mainly acting is my main passion."
And since her two passions are music and acting it's no surprise that she couldn't settle on just one pop culture icon she would like to be for one day. She noted, "I would probably be Johnny Cash. My two favorite people are Audrey Hepburn and Johnny Cash. But I can't decide. I guess I'd go with Audrey Hepburn because she's a girl… But walking in Johnny Cash's shoes would still be awesome. But yes, I would want to be Audrey Hepburn for a day."
Watch the "Bullying" episode of Last Man Standing, tonight at 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. Central on ABC.