The Foster’s Caitlin Carver doesn’t just play a dancer on TV-she’s the real deal. The multi-talented actress is a classically trained dancer, making her the perfect fit for the role of Hayley, the star of the school’s dance team on the ABC Family hit.
“I owe everything to dancing,” said Carver. Still, she’s decided to move past her roots and transition from dance to the world of the small screen.
Blast Magazine’s Georgeanne Oliver spoke with Carver about her past training, her future goals, and, of course, her current run as Hayley.
Q: How much did you know about the show when you went in?
A: I watched the entire first season, cause I was actually really good friends with Maya Mitchell, who plays Callie, and I remember when she filmed the pilot for The Foster, which was like over a year ago now, and she was telling me about it and I was like “Oh, it sounds like a great show!” And then when they got picked up and it started airing, I started watching it just cause I wanted to support her and then all of a sudden I became, like, addicted to the show!
Q: How much did you know ahead of time about Hayley?
A: I had no clue that my character would be getting involved with Jesus. Not a clue at all! I remember I went to the table read for episode 3 and I’d just gotten the script right before I went and I started reading it and there was this scene that he and I were hooking up at a party and I was like “Oh my gosh!”.
Q: How does the show compare to work you’ve done in the past?
A: I think when I first moved to LA, I was doing a lot more dancing. Not that I pushed my acting career behind or away from me. I just-the dance jobs were there and it was money and it was work and I was having a blast, so I really started off as a dancer. I’m mostly doing acting stuff now-on the Fosters, I get to dance a little bit too, which is kind of of like the best of both worlds. I couldn’t ask for anything better.
Q: So you are classically trained as a dancer. What was growing up like that like?
A: I thank my mom for putting me in dance, cause I think that’s the reason why I’m here right now. I’m forced to be really professional. I mean, a good actor is wonderful, but you want to work with someone too who’s kind and professional and gets there on time and knows their lines, and I think, like, growing up as a dancer and being so disciplined in that way has really helped me in my career in general.
Q: Was that transition from dancing to acting gradual or did you make a conscious decision to swap over to acting as a primary focus?
A: I did a little bit [of acting] in high school and I think I always knew that I loved acting. I just wasn’t sure how to get into it from there and, like I said, the dance stuff kind of came easy for me, so I just started doing that. Whenever I wasn’t filming, it wasn’t my scene, I’d kind of step back from it all and watch the actors, because it was so inspiring to me. I think just being on those sets as a dancer but also taking that step back and just watching them and learning from them, that really inspired me and made me realize how much I loved acting and how I kind of missed it. I booked a couple guest stars on shows and then I think it was like a couple months later when I got the call for The Fosters. You can’t be a dancer forever, cause nobody’s body’s cut out for that.
Q: Where do you hope see Hayley and her relationship with Jesus go? Smooth relationship or a little drama?
A: I think the drama’s no question. For some reason, Hayley seems to come with that. I would really like to see her just be happy and try to make it work a little bit better. She is, like, super opinionated and needs her way all the time and kind of does whatever she can to get her way.
Q: She’s certainly not a bad person, but she is a very dramatic person.
A: Yah, very dramatic. She’s so hot and cold.
Q: Do you try and make her likable or do you have fun with the drama?
A: I definitely have fun with it, cause, I mean, in real life I don’t think of myself as a manipulator, a needy person. Hayley’s very needy. I think that I try and find ways for everyone to like every character that I play. People like being able to connect with people that they’re watching on TV.
Q: The Foster has received a lot of credit for being an extremely progressive show. How important is it to you to have your work have a social conscience like that?
A: Extremely important. I think it really is addressing things that happen in today’s society. It’s all these issues that are happening and a lot of TV shows don’t deal with them and don’t acknowledge them, and I think that’s why we’ve gotten so much recognition from it. We’re finally sharing these stories.