After the Internet learned that Caroline Sunshine, a former actor best known for her role on the Disney Channel show “Shake it Up,” had recently joined the White House as a press assistant, the reaction was unsurprisingly knee-jerk. She’s unqualified! She’s taking over for Hope Hicks! Actually, she has been taken by the Dark Side!
But Sunshine’s latest career move really shouldn’t surprise anyone. The 22-year-old former White House intern is no stranger to politics or the swamp, a point the White House emphasized in a statement amid all the hullabaloo over her hiring.
“Caroline Sunshine was a White House intern. In college, she was involved with the American Enterprise Institute and an active member of her school’s Model United Nations team. Before her internship at the White House, Caroline interned for the Office of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the College Republican National Committee and the California Republican Party,” White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in a statement to The Washington Post.
A graduate of Claremont McKenna College in Southern California, Sunshine hasn’t acted since her junior year of college, when she appeared in the Lifetime flick “Mommy, I Didn’t Do It.” She applied for her White House internship the old-fashioned way — through a website — and impressed the higher-ups during her three-month stint in the communications department. So when two slots opened up in the White House press shop, Sunshine applied and got the job.
Sunshine’s new role is hardly glamorous. She is a press assistant, whose main job is to provide administrative support for the entire White House communications department, which includes press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (who has her own assistant), three deputy press secretaries and three assistant press secretaries.
The press assistants — there are two others, as well — are the busy worker bees pressing “send” on White House news releases, wrangling the press pool (like literally corralling reporters from one location to the next), and setting up briefing calls. It’s a gears-and-cogs job, albeit at the most powerful address on the planet.
For her part, Sunshine hasn’t commented on any of the media attention swirling around her new gig. In fact, her social media accounts aren’t overly partisan. She has wished former “Shake it Up” co-star Zendaya, an outspoken and politically progressive actress, a happy birthday and congratulated newly sworn-in U.S. citizens. But there are no controversial retweets of right-wing conspiracy theories or deep thoughts on the “deep state.” It seems as if the former actress has already learned the first rule of the press team: Stay out of the spotlight.