It's not supposed to be easy to land a major part in a network series. But it was for Santa Monica native Carly Chaikin, who co-stars in the new ABC comedy Subugatory, which starts on Sept. 28.
All through school, Chaikin had no doubt about what she wanted to be when she got older.
"Acting was something that I had inside me," she told Santa Monica Patch. "I knew I had to do it. Surprisingly, I didn't do a lot of acting in school. I did a lot of sports. It wasn't until after I graduated that I got into it."
Chaikin attended , then The Archer School for Girls and .
"I used to play volleyball all through middle school and high school," she said. "I also played softball, basketball [and] soccer."
After graduating, she determined she would turn her attention to acting.
"It was about time to just dive into it and just do it," she said. "It was always in the back of my mind. I knew I would tell everyone I'm going to be an actress, but I just wasn't doing anything about it."
So she did. Chaikin met with an acting coach, and things moved fast. Before long, she found herself trying out for a part in Suburgatory, and she quickly got it.
The series is about a single father (Jeremy Sisto) who, seeking a better environment for his 16-year-old daughter (Jane Levy), moves from New York to the suburbs. Once resettled, the sitcom pokes fun at suburban residents and their lifestyles.
Chaikin tried out for the part of the 16-year-old daughter but was selected to play Dalia Royce, the oblivious, Red Bull-swigging friend, instead. For the role, her first ever on TV, she went from being a brunette to being a blonde.
"I actually am very different from [Dalia], which makes it so much fun to play," Chaikin said. "I was surprised they could envision me in that part and so happy that they did, because it's the most fun character I've ever played."
Chaikin made her big-screen debut only a couple of years ago with a small part in The Consultants, an independent comedy starring Paul Hughes. Last year, she had a part in another independent comedy, Uncle Rafael; and The Last Song, a drama starring Miley Cyrus. This year, she wrapped production in a horror film, Escapee, with Dominic Purcell and Faith Ford.
In addition to being athletic, Chaikin said another thing most people don't know about her is that she loves to paint, mostly with oil and acrylics.
"I have an art studio in my house," she said.
Meanwhile, she treasures her memories of growing up in Santa Monica.
"It had a family feel," she said of the city. "It's a neighborhood where you can walk to school and anyplace. My friends lived a block away, and it felt like a tight community."