Most 17-year-olds are balancing time between their studies, sports and MySpace pages, but Mackenzie Rosman is concerned about getting her homework in on time and talking about sex — well, on camera, at least. Growing up on the set of 7th Heaven (Sundays at 8 pm/ET, on the CW), Rosman began as a little tyke but nowadays she's got some meaty, adult story lines as she plays out Ruthie's teen years. This week's episode, for example, deals with her character's current relationship and its level of intimacy. Here, Rosman speaks with TVGuide.com about how she handles those love scenes, how she's adjusted to attending public high school and what her postgraduation game plan is.
TVGuide.com: You're juggling work and public high school. How's that going?
Mackenzie Rosman: It's going pretty well. It was a bit rough last semester, but I have a better schedule now. It's the first time I've ever been to public school, going every day.
TVGuide.com: Are you going for the full day?
Rosman: I go every day except for the Mondays and Thursdays that I'm working. It's in my contract that I'll only work on Mondays and Thursdays, whether they choose to use me or not — they almost always do. Then I just get the [home]work from a friend in my class, or I turn it in a day late.
TVGuide.com: I'm sure it's nice to get away from work and go to school before going back to your fake 7th Heaven high school, right?
Rosman: It's so nice. I don't know how I'd be able to go to school every single day, though. I'm not used to it. It makes work so much better. Before it was like, "Oh, I gotta go to work today," and now it's like, "Oh, yay! It's 7th Heaven today! Good food, friends!" [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: While most kids are saying, "Oh, god, I have to go to school again today."
TVGuide.com: How is it balancing homework and exams with memorizing scripts?
Rosman: It's very hard. Fortunately, I learn my lines fairly easily. Playing the same character for so long, I really only have to read the scene two or three times and I've got it.
TVGuide.com: It's just part of you.
Rosman: It's like me talking. If I did something else, it would take me days to learn a page. But still, it's hard [juggling it] with my tests and stuff. I've never been strong with my time-management skills.
TVGuide.com: I talked to [exec producer] Brenda Hampton last week about the Darfur episode. How did you feel about covering that topic on the show?
Rosman: That was a very interesting topic for me, and I was happy that we were doing something important. I wasn't really aware of the situation there when we filmed the episode. I TiVo 60 Minutes, because it's one of my favorite shows, and after we were done filming, they did a program on [Darfur], so I watched.
TVGuide.com: In that episode, Ruthie offered a lot of statistics on Darfur. Were you pretty amazed by what you were learning along the way?
Rosman: I was. I was just as uninformed as I'm sure a lot of people are.
TVGuide.com: I remember you being so little when 7th Heaven began, and now you have such adult story lines. How has it felt growing up on the show — and now doing love scenes
Rosman: It's pretty trippy. I've been used to having to do stuff that I've never done in real [life].... I don't mind it at all, really. I just do it.
TVGuide.com: Even if it's a first for you on screen?
Rosman: Then I get a little bit nervous, but not as much as some people think I would, because I have to do it. It's kind of neat that I get fun story lines now.
TVGuide.com: Ruthie was always a major character as a part of the immediate family, but now that she's older, she's the center of things. She knows everyone's business. Do you relate to her at all?
Rosman: We're both kind of the same — a little bit bitchy. It's not that she's smarter than I am, but she knows more. I'm not really the one in my family who knows everything that's going on, because I don't really pay attention. Ruthie is craftier than I am.
TVGuide.com: Well, it's obvious that she's still caught up on Martin (Tyler Hoechlin). Will they ever be together?
Rosman: I don't think so, because I think if they were going to do something with that story line, they would have done it [already]. Or it would be years down the road after Martin's kid has grown up and Ruthie's out of college. I hope [something ultimately happens]. It would be kind of interesting.
TVGuide.com: Is Ruthie going to break up with T-Bone (Colton James)?
Rosman: No, she's not going to break up with T-Bone. She gets more involved, she definitely steps up her level of commitment to him.
TVGuide.com: Are there going to be other episodes regarding the sex issue between them?
Rosman: I think so, yeah.
TVGuide.com: Have you heard anything about the show continuing after this season?
Rosman: A couple of people on the set have been talking about that for the last couple of days, but I haven't heard anything about it. Just gossip and people speculating.
TVGuide.com: Are you working on anything else on the side?
Rosman: Nothing right now. I've been so busy with school, I haven't even been able to ride my horse. I really want to do other stuff, and if the show doesn't go next year, I'll hopefully be able to do that after I graduate.
TVGuide.com: Would you want to stay in TV, or would you like to do movies?
Rosman: I would like to do movies, because I want to travel more and I think it'd be neat to play different characters. I've been playing the same character for so long, and I want to do something totally different. I think I'm going to take a year off after I graduate [in May] to act and do other things, but mostly I want to travel.
TVGuide.com: How about college?
Rosman: I want to go to college in the fall of 2008.
TVGuide.com: Do you keep in touch with anyone who has left the show?
Rosman: My family and I saw Jessie [Jessica Biel] over Christmas, but I haven't seen anyone else. I talked to David [Gallagher] a little while ago, but we're all just busy and I've got school. I don't even drive because my mom won't let me, which is kind of ridiculous!
Relish good ol' high-school drama? The Jan. 22 TV Guide features a Q&A with Adrianne Palicki, aka Friday Night Lights' Tyra.
Send your comments on this Q&A to firstname.lastname@example.org.