“Your hair looks sexy pushed back,” or so say young women to actor Jonathan Bennett on a daily basis. Comedy turned cult film, Mean Girls continues to be quoted to its featured actors even ten years after its release. Though there are many quotes to choose from, popular ones being “On Wednesdays we wear pink” and “You can try Sears,” Jonathan Bennett’s character Aaron Samuels is almost inextricably associated with the comment on his hair. And yet, aside from this over-repeated quote, Bennett remains surprisingly humbled and pleased by people’s Mean Girls’ references, stating that he’s “constantly amazed how the film has become a pop culture phenomenon.” This is a fairly unusual attitude, as most actors associated with pop culture films grow tired and irritated by the constant recitations.
When asked about the role of the film in shaping his career, Bennett showed a side of himself that people didn’t get a chance to see in the film: his sarcasm. After beginning to answer the question over the importance of the film, claiming that no, it hadn’t really changed anything, he took a pause for a couple of seconds before exploding, a smile in his voice. “Yes of course, it’s Mean Girls! What are you even thinking? Of course it did! People didn’t know who I was until then! I didn’t even know who I was. It’s like asking, ‘How were the Olympics?’. Do you think people knew who you were until the Olympics? You were still trying to figure out whether you could dive.”
Born in Ohio, Bennett’s acting career can be traced back to a very young age: “There was never a time that I started acting. I knew when I was three or four that I was going to be an actor.” One of his first performances was as a munchkin in a production of The Wizard of Oz, Bennett humorously adding how the cowardly lion would get drunk before every performance. After high school, where he acted in as many shows as possible, he moved to New York to join the cast of soap opera All My Children. As it did for many of its cast members, such as Josh Duhamel or Jesse McCartney, the show launched Bennett’s career and after just a few years he made his final move to Los Angeles. In comparing the two cities, he seemed to favor LA over New York: “I love the quality of life a lot more in LA, you can do more for less money. But in New York, you can go and see Broadway shows all the time.”
After the 2004 release of Mean Girls, Bennett spent a few years playing the romantic partner to many big actresses, including Amanda Bynes, Hilary Duff, and Haylie Duff. As he got older, his parts began to change, featuring in recent years in many action and adventure films. In Memorial Day, he played alongside Emmy winner and Oscar nominated actor James Cromwell, an experience he describes as a “great honor.” In his 2015 movie Submerged, Bennett enthused over being able to “carry a gun in a suit like a badass” and getting to learn directly from soldiers, even living with them in the barracks.
Aside from featuring in films, Bennett has done more and more producing, producing seven films since 2011. Despite these ongoing projects, he admits that producing is not a great passion of his, preferring to be on camera. “I’ll probably do more in the future, but I do find it kind of boring.” With his parents’ deaths in 2012 and 2014, Bennett decided to join the popular dance show, Dancing with the Stars. “With Dancing with the Stars, they call and ask if you want to do it. And you just do it. You don’t do it because it’s a dance thing. You do it because it’s a fun show and at the time I had just lost both my parents and felt really sad. The show was a way for me to wake up again.” For six weeks, Bennett worked himself to the bone and was very popular with the audience, before eventually being eliminated. Despite feeling upset over the hard work he invested, the experience left him slightly jaded. “Looking back on how they do the show, I would have done things differently. I was thinking that if you could just do well and try hard, you could make it. But now I look back and I realize it’s really a two-part show, half dance and half reality.”
Bennett’s most recent project is his role as host of Cake Wars. Though he admits he cannot bake a cake, or bake at all, his inexperience is overshadowed by the fact that he is “just really passionate about cake.” As he notes, “who wouldn’t want to go to work and eat a lot of cake?” Only his love of peanut butter cookies can compete against the joy of working for the show (a fact that he exclaimed enthusiastically). He is very excited about this season’s themes, like Captain America and SpongeBob, as they are perfect for families to spend together every night. “Everyone gets really into it, there’s something for everyone.”
Join Jonathan Bennett Monday nights at 9:00 PM EST to see him on Cake Wars and all the show’s wonderful cake drama.