When James Maslow first auditioned for the funny Nickelodeon show Big Time Rush back in 2007 when he was only 17 years old, he didn’t predict it would take off as quickly as it did. In fact, I didn’t either. I was a freshman in college by the time the show aired in 2009 (two years, four screen tests, and a couple pilots later) and when I caught wind of the new live-action television show, I was intrigued, as were millions of others—in fact, the official debut episode drew in more than 6.8 million viewers. The next thing I knew, Big Time Rush merchandise was everywhere, concerts were selling out left and right, and the band was playing in the middle of Times Square—a dream venue for every singer/songwriter… ever.
“Not only did they have us play that concert in the rain, which made it feel like such an epic rock moment,” Maslow recalls when I ask him for his favorite BTR memory, “but they also had us broadcasted on every major screen in the area. It was our first show, and was a pretty cool way to kick off the band.”
Although I might have just missed the Big Time Rush fandom phenomenon age bracket (had I only been a few years younger, I would have had posters of the group hanging on my bedroom walls), one thing was obvious: Maslow was special. Now 24 years old, with perfectly toned arms, covetable brown hair, and a dazzling, white-toothed smile, the singer/songwriter (and now movie actor) is adored by over 3 million Twitter fans and counting—a number that skyrocketed during his time on ABC’s hit dance competition show, Dancing with the Stars, earlier this year.
“I felt really lucky to have been on the show and to have had such a great dance partner,” Maslow says of the beautiful Peta Murgatroyd, who has been dancing on the show for seven seasons now. Together, Maslow and Murgatroyd’s chemistry was electric, and Maslow’s fans flocked to Twitter to express their love for the duo. Ever since, Maslow and Mugatroyd have become dear friends.
While Maslow learned a lot during his time on the show, perhaps what he took away the most is to never doubt yourself and to just have fun. “You know, you prepare, prepare, prepare,” he says, “but when it comes time to perform, I learned to just have fun. That’s something I’ve always tried to do and that experience really reminded me of that because if you’re not enjoying it, it’s going to show, and that’s when you’re going to screw up. If you just go out there and have fun and trust that your partner and your preparation is going to work, it usually does.”
Since his run on Dancing with the Stars ended in May (he finished in fourth place), Maslow has fully turned his attention to acting, particularly in the original series Sequestered and a new Lifetime movie, Seeds of Yesterday (based off of the V. C. Andrews novel of the same name). Sequestered, which premiered this previous August on Crackle, is a suspenseful drama following the trial of Malcolm Miller, a man accused of kidnapping and murdering the governor’s daughter, and the jury that is given the difficult task of deciding Miller’s fate. Threats, conspiracy, and tangled webs ensue.
“Filming Sequestered was fun,” Maslow says about the experience. He plays the character Kevin Mohr, a “young, cocky billionaire” who’s a bit “over-the-top” and maybe a little too confident.
“I only filmed for a short period of time, and I hope, if we do a second season, that I get to film more because it was so much fun playing Kevin. I kind of felt like I was channeling Ari Gold from Entourage at times,” he laughs.
Aside from getting the chance to play such a dramatic character, Maslow also enjoyed filming with his co-star, Jessie Bradford, who plays Danny Firmin. “Jessie is great and it was so cool to meet him and get to know him,” Maslow says. “We’re still friends. I hope he and I get to act a little more together in the future.”