After spending years attending BTR concerts, buying their albums, watching their TV show and generally supporting the group in any way I possibly could, life came full circle when I was given the opportunity to interview James Maslow. No big deal, it's not like I spent about six years of my life following his career. I had always fantasized about talking to one of my favorite actors or singers for a few minutes (I think all fangirls can relate to this), but I never thought that I would actually get the chance to do so. As I made my way to the AOL office yesterday afternoon, a wave of nervousness passed over me. What if I embarrassed myself in front of James? What if I blanked out and completely forgot the questions I intended to ask him? What if I wasn't able to articulate my questions in a cohesive manner? I simply couldn't seem to stop the self-doubt.
On the other hand, participating in interviews wasn't an entirely new to me. I knew that I was quite capable of conducting a decent interview, but that didn't seem lessen my fears. I imagine it is similar to how a singer feels before he or she performs for a crowd. They've done sufficient rehearsals, but that certainly doesn't stop the feelings of uncertainty that flood in right before stepping onto the stage. Likewise, I felt a weird mix of excitement and worry.
Upon entering the AOL BUILD floor of the office building, I found my reserved seat in the front row (perks of being a Cambio Campus Ambassador!). Before my interview, James was scheduled to make an appearance at AOL's BUILD session, where he would discuss all the projects he's balancing at the moment. As he walked onto the stage at 2 p.m., I immediately whipped out my phone, ready to update all my social media accounts.
During the interview, James talked about his solo music career, his time on Dancing With the Stars, the future of Big Time Rush and his current role in a theatrical production of Sherlock Holmes. After answering a few burning questions from the audience, James performed two acoustic versions of his original songs ("Lies" and "Circles"). For those wondering, his voice sounds even better in person.
Once James wrapped up his performance, it was time for my interview with him. As I entered the green room and approached him, I stuck out my hand out, prepared greet James in a professional manner by shaking his hand. Instead, he pulled me in for a hug (which is way better than a handshake, if you ask me).
I started off the interview by talking about Cambio's #BUILTBYGIRLS initiative, which encourages girls to be protagonists in their own lives. For James, it's a no-brainer: "We're living in 2015. Girls need to realize that just like guys, you can be your own person and do whatever you want to do." Whether you're the head of a corporation or the owner of a business, girls shouldn't feel discouraged from doing something they're passionate about. As for James' personal favorite fierce females, Ellen DeGeneres and Scarlett Johansson are at the top of his list - and I agree with his choices!
I also spoke with James about a few different projects he's working on. He's currently starring as Dr. Watson in a theatrical production of Sherlock Holmes, alongside David Arquette and Renee Olstead. While we're all familiar with James' work in TV shows and films, some might not know that his earlier acting experience came from plays. Given his background in theater, James is aware of the challenges that go along with a live production. While memorizing copious amounts of lines within two weeks puts pressure on an actor, James welcomes the challenge. Theater also enables him to improvise and interact with the live audiences in ways that aren't possible when filming TV shows and films. For James, returning to the theater made him feel "like a little kid again." While he gladly participated in plays for free as a child, he admits that it's fun to revisit theater and get paid to do something he truly enjoys. "It's so cool to go back to my roots and do it professionally now," he added.
Despite the fact that a majority of James's time is currently dedicated to the play, he has also been hard at work rehearsing for his upcoming performance at Stream Con in NYC. With an extremely tight schedule and long days of traveling, James has been taking advantage of any spare time he can get. Whether he's in the airport or in a car with his guitarist, you can be sure that he's fine-tuning his performance, which will be one of his first solo ones since his BTR days. Aside from "Lies" and "Circles," fans can expect to hear new music from James at Stream Con.
Perhaps the most important question addressed during the entire interview pertained to James' favorite emoji. We can confirm that his favorite is the face he describes as "the one with the odd smile," whose exact meaning still remains a mystery to him.
I think it's safe to say that this was one of the most memorable experiences I've had so far. A few years ago, I never would have guessed that I'd be interviewing James Maslow. I feel so proud to be part of the Cambio family, alongside such welcoming,fierce ladies - and I strongly encourage readers to sign up to be Cambio Campus Ambassadors. Who knows? Maybe you'll be able to say that you got to interview one of your faves!
In case you missed the livestream of James' AOL BUILD session, check it out right here!