Teen actor splits time between East TN and West Coast

An East Tennessee teen splits him time between here and Hollywood. He's in a new series on Nickelodeon. His journey has taken him from Atlanta to Sevierville to Los Angeles.

When he's in Sevierville, he works in the back room at the family business, Your Scrapbook Superstore.

When he's in California, Kendall Sanders works on TV in the other family business: show business. He plays Tony on the Nickelodeon series Every Witch Way.

"Me and the character Tony are very much alike, kind of nerdy but not nerdy but sort of nerdy but it just comes naturally for me to play that character," Kendall Sanders said.

Now he's 16. When Kendall was seven, the whole family took part in an acting workshop and competition in Atlanta.

"I ended up winning overall child male actor and then we got an agent and manager from there," he explained.

And from there it was on to L.A. for parents Tom and Denise and the kids and a lot of roles for young Kendall.

"It was definitely scary but we felt like it was a move we had to make and if we didn't make it at that time we would have never known. If we don't try how are we ever going to know," Denise Sanders said.

Kendall said, "It was cool to meet famous people and stuff like that and to go watch shows live like Disney shows but it wasn't very... it was just kind of natural, it didn't-- nothing huge about it really."

They left the store here in the capable hands of a manager while the whole family lived in L.A.

"Three of my siblings decided not to do acting and came back. So me and my other sister Kelsey decided to stay out there and work," Kendall said.

Denise said, "Part of them wanted to continue and part of them didn't so I said 'ok we're not splitting so we'll just do what we can from here.' And that's how we ended up staying home and saying 'hey this works.'"

Now the family works at the store and lives in Sevierville and Kendall auditions by tape, interviews via Skype, and flies out for call-backs and jobs.

"I think it's a lot easier to be out there and do it because you can just walk in the room and they can see you physically but if you want kind of a normal life it's better to do it this way," Kendall said.

The family is firm in the decision to live in East Tennessee and commute to the West Coast.

"It just kind of keeps us remembering where we came from and who we are," Denise said.

Kendall said, "In the end it is just a job but it's like getting paid to do something that you love doing."

When he's not doing what he loves, he's doing something he likes: being with his family at their store.

"This is our family business and you have to pitch in. I know you're a big star but this if life," Denise said with a laugh.

At one point Kendall thought he would go to college to study marine biology but now he plans to stick with acting.


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