Rachael Cruz thought her younger brother, Jonathan, was outgoing, funny and "always wanting attention."
So she kept mentioning to their mother, Marie, that Jonathan should look into acting.
That was about six years ago, when Jonathan was 6 years old and Rachael was 10.
What has transpired in the modeling and acting world since then for this St. Charles family is akin to a fast-track Hollywood story.
Both Jonathan and Rachael are now cast members in a TV series titled "The Good Time Kids" on the National Religious Broadcasting network, and Rachael auditioned last week in Indianapolis for a role in an upcoming music video featuring the music of Grammy winner and rap superstar Eminem.
How they got to this point is a lesson in positive sibling influence and parental support.
"I always thought Jonathan would be very good at it (acting) and I kept telling my mom that he likes attention and he should do something with that trait," said Rachael, a 16-year-old sophomore at St. Charles East High School. "But he was really little when I was first suggesting that.
"He was always so funny, and when he got a little older, he said, 'OK, I will give it a try,'" Rachael said.
That "try" started three years ago when Jonathan was 9, and the family responded to what he called a "1-800-Model" advertisement on TV."
"After that, I started taking acting lessons and getting smaller auditions for things like Kohl's print ads and other catalogs," said Jonathan, a 12-year-old seventh-grader at Wredling Middle School. "But two years ago we went to the casting call for the TV show, 'The Good Time Kids.'"
Just before that, it was Jonathan's turn to convince Rachael that she also should try acting and maybe pursue a spot on the TV show.
Marie Cruz said her son enjoyed the people he was meeting at auditions and while acting so much that he kept telling his sister about the experiences.
"Rachael and Jonathan became involved with 'The Good Time Kids' by answering that casting call by TaeSue Entertainment out of Chicago," Marie said. "We were on our way and Rachael was along for the ride, not planning on auditioning, but she was encouraged to do so even though she was in volleyball attire and unprepared for the audition.
"She was told that they were looking for kids that had an interest in dance, movies, music, and among other things, an ability to work well on a television show," Marie added. "This was a perfect fit for Rachael, so after waiting for Jonathan's audition, she, too gave it her best shot, and is now thrilled to be working on the show."
For Rachael, it was a quick sell to enter the acting world.
"I wasn't sure if it would be for me," Rachael said. "But the second I got into it, I was really excited about it."
As if the TV show, which emphasizes good morals for children without heavy religious overtones, isn't exciting enough, Rachael had the extra surprise of being called to the music video audition.
"I was just sitting in my basement, checking e-mails, when I got an e-mail from a director of the music video who had seen my photos and profile and asked if I would come in for an audition," Rachael said. "It was kind of lucky, as I have no connections with the production company or anything like that."
As of early this week, Rachael was still waiting to hear from the casting crew to see if she was chosen for a spot in the music video production that emphasized acting and lip-syncing more than dancing.
Rachael is not involved in any acting or dancing at St. Charles East, but Jonathan is in the Wredling school play, a parody of Harry Potter films called, "Sally Kotter and the Censured Stone."
"The acting has really taken off for me and I have made a lot of good friends," Jonathan said. "I will probably stick with it and see where it goes, and I'll likely be in theater at St. Charles East."
The TV show, which airs on Saturday mornings, debuted two weeks ago, and the cast and crew had a premiere party last weekend at Proviso West High School. The actors are working under a one-year contract, but there is hope the show will continue on DirectTV Channel 378 and online at nrbnetwork.tv.
"The show is not exclusive to the NRB, which means if it takes off, other networks could pick it up," Marie said. "We're hopeful about that, because the show emphasizes a wholesome, happy feeling for kids, just showing good kids having good fun."