Challen Cates is best known for her role as Mrs. Knight on the Nickelodeon original series Big Time Rush; she’s the clever, fun, yet sometimes clueless mom to Kendall and Katie.
Challen chats with us a bit about a typical day on set; what she likes to do on her days off, and what she has learned from playing “Momma Knight”.
Hi Challen! “Big Time Rush” is gaining fans everyday, so for those who just starting tuning in — can you tell me about your character, Jennifer Knight?
Jennifer Knight is Kendall and Katie’s single mom on the show. My character is that perfect mom that allows her kids the freedom to have adventures on their own and to explore their dreams. And she is always there for them if they find themselves in trouble and need that help that only “mom” can provide.
Would you say you’re anything like you’re character at all? What’s the closet similarity and the biggest departure?
Yes, we do have some similarities. I have 2 small kids in real life and I love my kids more than anything in the world. The biggest difference is that I am not a single mom. I have a great deal of respect for all of the single mothers out there because it is a tremendous amount of work to raise healthy children. I have to say that I am learning a lot from my character about how to trust your children and give them freedom to explore on their own and know that the values that you have instilled in them will carry them through life.
Are you into method acting? Do you base any characteristics of Jennifer on people you’ve known?
I have studied many different methods and have taken bits and pieces from all of my teachers to assemble my own method. I like to call it the “Whatever Works Method.” I love to people watch, so I am always incorporating behavior that I see in other people into Jennifer and every other character that I play.
It’s always fun to take a step behind the scenes of a hit TV show, so I want to get a little insight into your life working on the set. What’s a typical day like for you on BTR?
A typical day on set usually means an early morning call-time which doesn’t bother me because I love going to work. I report to hair and makeup right away. The hair and makeup trailer is always lively and entertaining…especially if Kendall, James, Logan or Carlos are there. From there we go to set for blocking and rehearsal and then we start shooting. We move quickly so everyone is already prepared when they arrive on set. We have a lot of fun between takes and then we make sure that the fun shows up on screen.
I understand that you don’t just play a mother on television, you are one in real life too! Do your kids watch the show?
Yes. I have a 6 year-old son and a 3 year-old daughter. They love watching the show and they love hanging out with Ciara and the guys. We recently went to the BTR concert at the Gibson Amphitheater in LA which was their first concert. I hope that they look back and feel proud that Big Time Rush was their first concert!
If one of them said they wanted to pursue this kind of lifestyle — whether it be acting or a musical career — how would you feel about that?
I will be supportive of whatever career paths they choose. I certainly don’t want them to feel the amount of rejection that happens in the entertainment business but if that is their passion… I will help them in their pursuits.
On the show, Kendall, James, Carlos, and Logan are always getting themselves into one crazy situation after another. Are there many hijinks on set? What’s the cast environment like when you’re shooting an episode?
Crazy hi-jinks happening all the time! You have to watch your back. That is what makes it so much fun to work with them.
What’s your favorite BTR song?
“‘Til I Forget About You”
“Big Time Rush” is a huge mega hit and the guys have a tremendous fan base of ‘devoted fans’; mostly young girls. Were you ever one of them growing up? Did you have a major teen heart-throb crush that you could compare to the BTR fan frenzy?
I was kind of a geek, so I didn’t have posters of boys on the walls of my room. My big teen crush was Rob Lowe. In fact, I still think he’s hot.
When you’re not working and just have some time to yourself, what do you like to do?
My family has a winery in the Central Coast of California; Tantara Winery. We like to head up to the winery to soak up the country life and relax.
The new season is ready! What can we expect from “Momma Knight” and the new episodes? Anything you can dish?!
As you said, BTR is a mega hit and art is imitating life. The band members and everyone in their world will have to adjust to fame and fortune. Should be interesting….
Switching gears a little bit. It’s awards season! Have you seen any of the Oscar nominated movies? Which film are you pulling for?
The Artist! I loved it. So unique and different and I love that the actors were required to get their intentions across without dialogue.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me! I can’t wait to see the new season!
Thank you Courtney!!!!
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