Jake T Austin

Submitted by on Sep 5, 2015

20 Things You Never Knew About Jake T. Austin

By Cristina Arreola • December 3, 2014 • 3:42pm

Happy Birthday, Jake T. Austin !

Over the years, we’ve watched this talented Puerto Rican blossom from an adorable child star into a bona fide Hollywood heartthrob. In honor of his 20th birthday, we present the 20 things you never knew about Jake T. Austin (along with 20 smokin’ hot Instagram photos!)

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#1: Jake T. Austin isn’t his real name.

His full name is Jake Austin Szymanski. The “T”in his stage name is taken from his mother’s maiden name,”Toranzo.”

#2: He has an interesting background.

Austin owes his incredible looks to his mixed ethnicity. Austin boasts Puerto Rican, Argentine, Spanish, Polish, Irish and English ancestry.

#3: You might recognize his voice from your favorite childhood show.

Austin scored his first major role as the voice of Diego. Dora’s adventurous cousin, on the acclaimed children’s series Dora The Explorer . He continued to voice Diego for three seasons on Go, Diego, Go!

#4: Austin is a successful voice actor.

In addition to his role as Diego on Dora The Explorer, the young actor voiced the part of Fernando in Rio and Rio 2 .

#5: Austin embraces his Puerto Rican heritage.

Austin loves being Latino, although he admits he doesn’t speak Spanish fluently. “I”m half Puerto Rican and tapping into my Spanish heritage was key in being able to play Jesus on The Fosters. I don’t speak Spanish fluently, but I am Hispanic, so I’m able to take things from my own life,” he told us.

#6: He has some incredible role models.

Austin revealed to us that his acting role models include Leonardo DiCaprio, Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, and John Cazalle.

#7: He still looks back fondly on his days at The Disney Channel

We’ll always remember Austin as Selena Gomez’s baby brother, Max Russo. in the longest-running Disney Channel Original Series of all time, Wizards of Waverly Place . Apparently, he hasn’t forgotten the experience either. “Wizards was a fundamental part of my life and my career,”he told us.”Both the cast and crew were incredibly influential.”

#8: Austin aspires to be a good role model to his fans.

Austin has a huge fanbase, and he definitely feels a responsibility to act as a role model for his younger admirers. “Having young fans definitely means having more responsibility in your personal and professional life,”he told Glamoholic .“I just want to play characters that people respect, both kids and adults.”

#9: He understands what’s important in life (and it’s not the fancy car!)

He may only be 20-years-old, but Austin is clearly wise beyond his years. “My biggest life lesson is that money cannot by happiness,”he said in an interview.”If you are born into a family with little money, but a lot of love, you will find yourself more content than one who is born with a silver spoon and an empty home.”

#10: Austin loves giving back to those less privileged than himself.

This Boricua served as the first youth spokesperson for Ronald McDonald House . “Visting the house on numerous occasions for numerous events, building a relationship with some of the kids there — it really forces you to look at things from their perspective,”he said.”The more time you spent in an environment like that, with such bravery and such courage, it makes you want to spend more time there.”

#11: He’s a bit of a softie.

In an interview with Origin Magazine . he said that beginning a new project always makes him feel a bit vulnerable. “I always feel a bit vulnerable when I begin a new project, especially when I’m playing a character with either a troubled past or unique personality,”he said.”I try to approach these roles with honesty and with a true sense of empathy for my character. It is important for me to truly understand the people I am portraying and their struggles, in order to give an honest performance.”

#12: He’s a New York City native.

Born and raised in New York City, Jake T. Austin has some strong opinions about the best spots in the city. When asked about “must-sees”in NYC, he said:”I would definitely say the Beast or Circle Line — something where you can go from the Hudson River to the East River and see the city from an outward perspective. Definitely just training it, just taking the A-train all the way uptown and then going all the way downtown and walking around. Going to the East Village and just walking, I think, is the best thing.”

#13: He handled his first on-screen smooch like a pro.

His first on-screen kiss was with Abigail Breslin in the 2011 movie New Year’s Eve . “First onscreen kiss was just another day at work — very professional,”he told us.”Abigail is such a great actress and a really sweet girl, which luckily meant it wasn’t awkward at all.”

#14: He understands the importance of always looking his best.

Austin definitely knows how to dress, and he admits that fashion is important to him, personally and professionally. “I believe it’s important to dress well,”he said.”What you say says a lot about who you are. When I’m home in NY, I’m definitely more casual, but when I need to be professional, I am.”

#15: He believes that The Fosters is much more than a TV show.

For Austin, playing a Latino being raised by a same-sex couple is a privilege and a responsibility. “It’s great to fit into this show, especially at a time when a lot of issues are being brought to light. And to also act as a voice for a lot of those issues and to portray a character that feels very real and grounded and someone that’s very close to me,”he said.”It’s a blessing to be working at this time and just to be involved in the show like this. That can bring and open the doors to so many new families, hopefully. That’s just what I’m looking forward to.”

#16: He admits he was a bit of a showman in high school.

“I’ve never been innocent, but I don’t think I’m a bad kid!”he told The Huffington Post.“I didn’t get voted prom king. I was kind of the dancer, the performer, but I was always very athletic, too.”

#17: He wants a girl comfortable in her own skin.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,”he told us.”Personally, I look for a girl who is comfortable in her own skin and not afraid to stand up for what she wants. If she’s not afraid to express herself, I find that attractive.”

Austin stars in Grantham & Rose . a touching film about a juvenile delinquent named Grantham and his mentor, an elderly volunteer named Rose. When the two embark on a spontaneous (and illegal) road trip, they change each other in ways they never anticipated. The film already picked up accolades at the Cleveland International Film Festival, Lighthouse International Film Festival and St. Simons Island Film Festival.

#19: Acting runs in the family.

He told Real Teen Mag that his aunt, America Toranzo. was an actress in Argentina in the 1940’s!

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