CHAPTER 6: Kristy's Personal Side

She is totally natural, and naturally sparkling. Kristy is, to put it mildly, a bundle of energy -- a free spirit, bouncing, enthusiastic, always in motion, showering everyone with her love for living.

She makes others a little breathless sometimes, and they wonder where she gets all her energy. Doesn't she ever get tired? Of course she does. But Kristy's quiet times are very private and she keeps them very much to herself.

When you come right down to it, other than being a rising young superstar, she isn't so very different from millions of other sixteen-year-olds.

"I'm human," she says. "I have blood and I bleed. I'm just a normal kid. I have fun like anyone else does. I go motorcycling and speedboating. I get in trouble with my Mom. I fight with my brothers, like anyone else does.

"I make up my own room. I have to wash and feed my dog. People probably don't think people on TV have to feed their dogs and things, but they do."

While it's true there aren't many things Kristy gets angry about, there are a few. Cruelty to animals is one. And she doesn't like being treated like a "star," or being told by people that she can't do something because she's too young. And she has very little patience for people who are pushy and rude.

"You hear a great deal about kids in this business being spoiled, but I don't believe that," Kristy says. "There are spoiled kids in every business.

"I think if I got out of hand just once, my mother would really sit me down and talk to me. Besides, there isn't any reason for me to get on a high horse over anything. I'm acting because I love it. I'm thrilled with the series, and the success that I've been having, and I wouldn't want anything to change that."

The "normal" Kristy is an admitted McDonald's freak. "Coke and french fries are bad for your face, bad for your body," she agrees. "But I love them!" It's a good thing Kristy is into dancing and sports with all the junk food she eats. She needs all that movement to keep her as thin as she is. At 5'2", and still growing, she usually weighs between eighty-five and ninety pounds, and no matter how many hamburgers she eats, weight is not a problem for her. Chocolate is another of her favorite foods.

Brother James, on the other hand, is definitely into gourmet foods. "He liked cherries jubilee at seven," Carollyne McNichol says, delighted that at least one of her children appreciates good food.

How does Kristy see herself?

"I'm thin and attractive. I run all the time. Sometimes I forget to eat. My nose is kind of flat, and my lips are too big. I'd rather have longer eyelashes."

That's a lopsided description of a rather pretty young girl, but Kristy doesn't consider herself a beauty. To her, beauty is a certain kind of look, a combination of all the right features: long eyelashes, high cheekbones, and blue eyes.

Kristy doesn't follow any kind of beauty plan. She just tries to get plenty of exercise, which is no problem for her, lots of fresh air, and adequate rest. She's a good sleeper, and it takes a lot to wake her up.

Kristy is as casual about her clothes as she is about the food she eats. She likes to wear tight jeans and sweat shirts, or football jerseys and shorts when she's running around, but she likes to dress up sometimes, too. She loves jewelry, but prefers to wear only one ring per hand. More is not always better, Kristy feels.

Kristy has always been fascinated with cars and motors. She just loves to drive and was very very happy the day she picked up her own bright red Scirocco -- a sleek sportscar with all the extras.

Driving and dating began for Kristy just after her sixteenth birthday. Now she looks forward to having a real boyfriend, and she knows exactly what she wants him to be like.

"Personality is more important than looks," Kristy says. "But I like boys who are good looking and a little taller than I am. I don't like giant guys, but boys who are thin, and have strong muscles.

"I like boys who like to have fun, boys who are into sports, but who like me for me and not because I'm a TV star. That upsets me. And it's nice if a girl's date likes to do the same thing she does." Kristy's fellow will have to be someone who's a good listener as well as a good talker, and he'll have to understand that Kristy's family and career take the top spots over everything, even having fun.

There are two special boys in Kristy's life right now. They fit her qualifications, but she's quick to explain that her relationships with Scott Baio and Jeb Adams are really very private things that she'd prefer to keep to herself.

"When I say I like Scott Baio, I like Scott Baio. It doesn't mean I've kissed him and done all the things magazines have said I've done with him. Maybe I have, maybe I haven't."

Kristy admits: "Jeb is the main date in my life. My favorite fella, matter of fact. I haven't really thought about marriage at this point in my life, but when I get older, Jeb is the type of person I would choose."

And Jeb thinks Kristy is pretty special, too. "She's so great," he's said. "She's easy to talk to and very down to earth. We realized right off that we had an awful lot in common."

Kristy does want to get married some day, but not for a long while. Like her brother, James, she doesn't want to give up her career for a family, and doesn't feel she can handle both things at the same time. She says she plans to wait a good long time before she thinks about starting a family.

If Kristy has a dream she hasn't yet realized, it's to win an Oscar some day. She dreams about being nominated for an Academy Award. She's already got her acceptance speech at least half-written. Whether the Oscar will be for acting, directing, or producing, or even all three, is anyone's guess.

But it's a fairly safe guess that when the right time comes, Kristy will have her own family and an Oscar, too. She's the kind of person who's willing to work very hard to make her dreams come true.