In 2003, Christopher Massey roared onto the stage in the Los Angeles production of The Lion King as the young lion cub, Simba. Today, on the eve of his 16th birthday, Christopher is living large as Michael on the hit Nickelodeon series Zoey 101. We caught up with Christopher recently and asked him about the show, what it's like to work with Jamie Lynn Spears, and what's next in his skyrocketing career. Here's what he had to say:
Q & A
How did you first get into show business?
Chris: Well, when I first got into show business I was about 2 or 3. My mom got me into it. I was doing modeling for Richard’s and Macy's at a young age, so I was always sort of in the business. Most of it I can't remember how it got started, but my mom did it and put me in it at a young age.
You've starred in commercials of cereal and breakfast foods. How much did you have to eat when filming a commercial?
Chris: I had to eat like a million Pop Tarts. At the beginning of the commercial they asked all of us what our favorite Pop Tart was, and mine was strawberry. Then it comes down to the middle of the taping and we were just like about to throw up all of these Pop Tarts. It was a lot of fun, but it was just so many Pop Tarts, and at the end of the taping they gave each kid at least 50-100 Pop Tarts in this big basket. They had a couple with our names on them, and I wound up eating them all actually.
What is it like working on Zoey 101?
Chris: It is absolutely amazing.
Tell us about your character, Michael.
Chris: My character is really a middleman type of guy. He is kind of like me in that he keeps the peace and he doesn't want any trouble. I keep everybody in line and keep everybody cool and calm, because there's a lot of stuff that goes on in the show and I'm always the guy they come to talk to.
What's it like to work with Jamie Lynn Spears?
Chris: Jamie Lynn Spears is the best person! She's like my sister almost, because the cast itself is just like a family and it's so cool. [After filming] the very first two episodes, we were already like best friends. It's one of the coolest things ever, because when you first meet someone like Jamie, you're kind of paranoid or whatever, but she was one of the nicest people and she's like my little sister.
Do you think Jamie feels pressure because she's Britney's little sister?
Chris: Jamie is a strong girl. She's a good actress, too, but just because she's her sister doesn't bring good ratings for the show. You have to be good at something to have all of these people watching the show. They're not just watching one person. They are watching the entire cast.
Did you have any idea that the show was going to be as big as it is?
Chris: After all the hard work we put into it, I thought it was going to be good. People can really relate to the show with its warm feeling. You have no idea how many kids come up to me and say where the school is, and say they want to go there! I love the cast to death and they really did a good job. I think it really paid off.
We heard you love to hit the b-ball courtshave you played basketball with any other celebrities living around Hollywood?
Chris: I was supposed to play with Romeo a couple of weeks ago. All of us are kind of alike. The first day I met Romeo, we had a conversation about basketball and he said, "Man, I'll take you on," so we kind of had this little rivalry going on. I offered to play Bow Wow, because my aunt lives next door to him and she just put a basketball court in, but I think he was busy.
So, is it true you have a crush on Raven?
Chris: It still kind of remains. Well, she's like a really good friend now. She's like my sister.
You and your brother, Kyle (That's So Raven), are stars now. How do your friends from home react now that you're both on TV?
Chris: They don't care. We are still the same old friends to them and they still tease us.
Interview by Marie Morreale
(Photo: Kelsey Edwards)
Check out Nick.com to find out when Zoey 101 will air each week.
Full Name: Christopher Massey
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Birth Date: January 26, 1990
Astro sign: Aquarius
Sibling: Kyle Massey (star of That's So Raven!)
Sports: basketball, swimming, and golf
Pastimes: gymnastics, listening to music, and reading
Can't live without: his T-Mobile sidekick
Snack food: sandwiches and chicken wings
TV show: The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Actor: Denzel Washington
Movie: The Water Boy
Musicians: Boyz II Men
School subject: science