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Jeanine Mason: 8 Things To Know About The Roswell, New Mexico Star

Jeanine Mason - Roswell, New Mexico

At 18, Jeanine Mason became the youngest winner in So You Think You Can Dance history. Now, she's the star of The CW's sci-fi drama series, Roswell, New Mexico, which recently premiered its third season and is renewed for a fourth. In the interim between these career milestones, however, the dancer-turned-actress needed to prove herself. Though, as Mason has noted several times in the past, she always had the drive to get there and excel. It was simply a matter of Hollywood catching up later down the road.

Here's what you should know about Roswell, New Mexico's Jeanine Mason!

Jeanine Mason - Roswell, New Mexico

Jeanine Mason Believes She Was A Self-Proclaimed Actress At Age 7

From an early age, Jeanine Mason knew she wanted to be a star. At age three, Mason started building her athletic skills, practicing ballet, flamenco, jazz, hip-hop, acrobatics, and contemporary dance. But, as she told Pop Culturalist, the dream was always there. She knew, in her mind's eye, that an acting career was in her future, and she was finally able to "articulate it" to others (and also to herself) at age 7. From then, Mason became determined to make that dream a reality, and here we are! Here's what the actress said:

It was always in me. At seven, I was able to articulate that I loved it. I always wanted to perform. I wanted to put on a show. When I was seven, I was like, 'I like doing this. I’m an actor.' I was a self-proclaimed actor. [laughs]

Jeanine Mason - Roswell, New Mexico

The Actress Started Theater Training At Age 11

While Jeanine Mason knew that she wanted to be an actress, it wasn't until she was 11 that the future TV star pursued theater training, as she revealed in Daily Bruin's Q&A.

Specifically, Jeanine Mason performed in community theater productions and middle school plays, where the actress developed her craft and grew her passion. It took years before she was a professional, but Mason's ambitions were there right from the get-go.

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Jeanine Mason's Sister, Alexis, Is Also A Famous Dancer

Turns out, Jeanine Mason isn't the only dancer in the family! She actually comes from a family of them, and her sister, Alexis, has also gotten some notoriety for her moves. She also auditioned for So You Think You Can Dance Season 8 and even made it to the final solo performances before the Top 20 in Vegas. While Alexis Mason didn't win the reality TV competition, the dancer has proven her skills on several stages. Check out this clip:

Jeanine Mason - Roswell, New Mexico

She Studied World Arts And Cultures At The University of California

In addition to training in theater and dance throughout her childhood and teenage years, Jeanine Mason continued her education by attending the University of California and getting her Bachelor of Fine Arts in World Arts and Cultures. As the actress detailed in a Dance Spirit op-ed, Mason always wanted a college education, as it would "enrich" her life and make her "a better person and artist." When she started shooting So You Think You Can Dance, Mason was admitted to the university, and her studies were delayed. Though her schedule prevented her from being a regular student, Mason never gave up on her education. She also claims that her courses later helped her acting career. As Mason explained, "the more material I have to pull from, the richer that work becomes."

Jeanine Mason - So You Think You Can Dance

Jeanine Mason Believes Her Dance Background Better Prepared Her To Be An Actress

Jeanine Mason is a multi-hyphenate performer, but as she noted before, she believes everything from her life, work, and studies helped her become a better actress. Most especially, her time as a dancer. In an interview with Collider, Mason claimed that she's immensely "grateful" for her dancing background because it gave her the work ethic and the critical mindset that she needs to excel in her field. Here's what the star said:

My dance background helps so much with that. I am so grateful. I remember being in dance class and having my teacher say to me and to all of us that, regardless of where we wanted to go or what we wanted to do, this was preparing us. I really do believe that athletics, but particularly dance, because it’s the athlete and the artist together, in a way that doesn’t really exist much, except for maybe ice skating, [helps] and I’m always amazed by the way that prepares me... When it gets tough and people get tired, that’s when people start to get sloppy and that’s when I can trust that I will stay on the straight and narrow. That’s a huge relief to me because then I know that I can utilize the rest of my brain to try to connect to that ephemeral thing of, can I give a great performance?

Jeanine Mason - Roswell, New Mexico

She Always Planned To Be An Actress … But It Was a Tough Road

While Jeanine Mason was driven to be an actress from an early age, it took a long time before she became a TV star. As she explained in an interview with FanSided, Mason was determined to be a versatile performer, but it took a while before Hollywood gave her the role that demonstrated her hard work, tenacity, and acting talents. The actress frontlined seven pilots before Roswell, New Mexico was greenlit, and she's immensely grateful to lead a successful network series that showcases her skills and her stamina.

Here's what Jeanine Mason said:

My plan was to always be an actor, and the definition of an actor to me was that of an MGM actor, which was one that did everything: who could dance, who could sing and who could use any part of their instrument to perform and inform the character. But still, it’s an insane thing to be in a position to be No. 1 on a call sheet, especially when you’re a woman and 29 — I was 26 when I booked this job — and being a Latina. I think there are four Latinas in leads in network series. I’m so grateful that it’s come together now. This show is my seventh network pilot, too, so I was just in the routine of not being picked up [laughs]. That adds to my disbelief as well. I’m enjoying every step of this. I don’t take anything for granted.

Jeanine Mason - Grey's Anatomy

Jeanine Mason Believes Appearing On Grey’s Anatomy Was The Best Drama School

Some folks train in Juilliard. Other folks learn their craft through their local theaters and playhouses. For Jeanine Mason, as she tells it, she received her drama school training through her time playing Dr. Sam Bello in ABC's Grey's Anatomy. In her interview with Brief Take, the dancer-turned-actress claimed this recurring role was "the best gig" she could "hope for" because she had a clear sense of what she wanted from the show and she had the chance to watch seasoned actors like Ellen Pompeo prepare for their parts with ease. Mason notes that she felt "so lucky" to have such an enormous privilege, and she's thankful for how it developed her star presence. Here's what the TV actress said:

Oh my God, it was the best gig I could have hoped for! The way that it prepared me prior to booking this gig last year was a dream. I felt like I had such a clear sense of what I would want in terms of a work family, and getting to watch Ellen [Pompeo’s] work and the way that she prepares seemingly effortlessly and poses questions and how to elevate the material. It was the best sort of drama school, and I felt so lucky.

Jeanine Mason - Roswell, New Mexico

She’ll Soon Star In Blair Underwood’s Viral

Currently, Jeanine Mason can be seen in the third season of The CW's Roswell, New Mexico, but she's got an exciting new movie lined up in the near future. That film is Viral, the second film directed by Deep Impact's Blair Underwood, which is the first time that he'll pull double duty as an actor and filmmaker. Following Andrew (Underwood), who goes down a dark and mysterious trail of security footage that leads to a cycle of deceit and terrifying crimes whenever his wife goes missing, Viral doesn't seem to have anything to do with the pandemic (though it's understandable if you thought otherwise), and it also stars Sarah Silverman, Alfre Woodward, and Jeanine Mason. In the role of Jules, the woman who goes missing and kicks off the plot, (via Variety), the television actress received one of her biggest film roles yet, and we'll have to wait to see if this upcoming role leads to more movie star performances in Mason's promising future.

Roswell, New Mexico Season 3 is airing on The CW.

Will Ashton

Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.