On Tuesday, October 12, “Mean Girls” star Jonathan Bennett chatted with Digital Journal’s Markos Papadatos.
With both National Pork Month and National Mean Girls Month falling in October, the National Pork Board has teamed up with Bennett to create a social media series “On Wednesday We Cook Pork.” “It has been going really good,” he said.
“To celebrate National Pork Month and National Mean Girls Month, I teamed up with the National Pork Board and recreated some of the recipes from the ‘Burn Cookbook’ by using pork and creating new flavors that I have never done before in my book. It is exciting because so many people don’t realize how good pork is and how versatile it is to cook with,” he said.
“By adding pork to our Fettuccine Alfredo, it adds such a huge flavor profile that I never expected to have in my book. It surprised me how good it is and how much it changes all of our recipes. It was really cool,” he added.
The series runs every Wednesday in October on Jonathan’s and the National Pork Board’s social media channels. And, in each episode, Jonathan will be joined by guest cooks Carnie Wilson and Joey Lawrence. To check out the episode, click here.
In the ’80s and ’90s, the Pork Board ran an advertisement… “Pork, The Other White Meat.” What resulted was Americans cooking pork until it was rubbery and tasteless and white. “For years, we’ve been told that pork is the other white meat but it’s not, it actually should be cooked pink at 145 degrees, that’s when you get the juiciness and the tastiness that we all love,” he said.
We are hoping to teach a new generation of pork lovers that the perfect shade of pork when cooked properly, is blush pink. All of the recipes are adapted from Jonathan’s “Burn Cookbook: The Unofficial Cookbook for Mean Girls Fans.” Why Carnie and Joey? While some things (like “Pork, The Other White Meat”) belong in the past… Carnie Wilson and JoeyLawrence are still treasures today 20 years later.
On being a part of “Mean Girls,” he said, “That was one of the greatest honors in the world. Getting to work with such a talented cast was one of the highlights of my life. I am so blessed and grateful 17 years later since everyone is even more of a ‘Mean Girls’ fan now than ever before.”
“It has stood the test of time and ‘Mean Girls’ was such a fun project to be involved in,” he added. “Here we are cooking pork on Wednesdays to celebrate a parody cookbook, the Burn Cookbook, which is a ‘Mean Girls’ parody.”
‘The Christmas House’
He also enjoyed being a part of “The Christmas House,” which was Hallmark’s first LGBTQ holiday film. “The fact that we got to film this movie was such a ride,” he said. “It was so much fun to be involved in. We made history with it being the first LGBTQ Hallmark holiday movie.”
“All of those things were fantastic, and the fact that they let us come back and do another one and make it even bigger and funnier than the first is so awesome. The second movie is going to be such a good film. It is going to be a lot deeper and a lot funnier than the first one was,” he added.
Working with Sharon Lawrence
On working with Sharon Lawrence in “The Christmas House,” Bennett said, “Sharon is a TV legend. I’m obsessed with her. I had a few scenes with her one-on-one and thanks to those, I became a better actor. Any scene you have with Sharon Lawrence makes you a better actor, she was just perfect.”
‘Home & Family’
Bennett was thrilled to be featured in “Home & Family,” where he was interviewed by Emmy-nominated hosts Cameron Mathison and Debbie Matenopoulos. “I’ve known Cameron since ‘All My Children,’ we go way back to 2001. Cameron is such a class act, he is a dream, and Debbie is great and crazy.”
The digital age
On being an actor in the digital age, Bennett said, “It’s hard because social media is such an important part of everything now. Balancing social media with being an actor gets tricky. It’s a never-ending cycle.”
Regarding his daily motivations, he said, “I am motivated by my fiance, Jaymes Vaughan, our dog Brad, and all of the work that we are doing for the LGBTQ community, specifically the wedding industry, and the visibility we are giving the young versions of ourselves that never got to see what a happy, healthy couple that was gay looks like growing up.”
“We are not aspirational love, we are just regular love. We don’t live crazy lives. We are just a regular couple that happens to have a huge platform. The fact that we can use our love story to inspire others is really what wakes us up every day and it gives us the motivation to keep going,” he added.
Advice for hopefuls who wish to pursue acting
For young and aspiring actors, he said jokingly, “Don’t do it.” “If you can think of anything else you would rather do, go do that and do acting as a hobby. Acting is the most brutal business that you will ever get into, but if you still want to do it, then you should go for it,” he said.
He listed Ryan Reynolds and RuPaul as his dream acting partners in the business. “I would love to do anything with Ryan Reynolds,” he said.
On his career-defining moments, he said, “The decision to just live my authentic self such as being in love with my boyfriend Jaymes at the time, who is now my fiance. The choice I made to post one photo on social media saying ‘I love this guy’ started a chain reaction of speaking my truth to so many people that it went on to help so many people.”
“What I thought was the worst thing that people could find out about me for so long actually turned out to be the best thing that I ever did,” he added.
The upcoming wedding
Regarding the title of the current chapter of his life, he said, “The Wedding.” “We are getting married next year so right now I am in the middle of wedding planning and tying the knot at Unico Resort in the spring of 2022,” he shared.
“We are excited for our families to finally meet for the first time because they haven’t met due to COVID,” he added.
He opened up about their gay travel company OUTbound Travel. “It’s an LGBTQ travel adventure company,” he said.
“We take over ships and resorts, and we charter them and turn them into outbound experiences for our LGBTQ family to come and give them a safe place to travel the world together, create friendship and family, and check off their bucket list. It’s a wonderful company, we are the anti-circuit party gay cruise. We have small intimate experiences of 200 or so people that really get to make friendships and form bonds,” he elaborated.
It is comprised of all-inclusive LGBTQ cruises, shore excursions, and vacations. To learn more about OUTbound Travel, check out its official website.
Bennett defined the word success as opening doors for the less fortunate. “10 years ago, success for me was when I can walk into a Trader Joe’s and buy anything I want and not have to look at the price. That was success for me at that time, and I was so wrong. It’s not about money or fame, success is opening doors that can’t open them themselves, and leaving them open for the next generation to be able to walk through,” he explained.
For his fans, he concluded with a quote from “Mean Girls,” “stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen, it’s not going to happen.”
“Also, stop making pork white, we want to cook pork pink since that’s where you get all the flavor,” he added.
To learn more about actor Jonathan Bennett, follow him on Instagram.