Josh does ‘Dallas’… Josh Henderson, the 30-year-old acting sensation from Dallas, Texas, is now taking on the biggest role of his life, as John Ross ‘J.R.’ Ewing, one of the leads in the highly anticipated new TV show Dallas, a sequel of sorts to the original hit show of the 80s.
Born in Dallas and raised in both Texas and Oklahoma, Josh Henderson always wanted to be a baseball player. He got the showbiz bug in the early 2000s, took a risk and went for it, only to end up plying his trade through the “ups and downs” for a decade until finally landing a huge leading role in the new version of the monster TV show Dallas.
Here, he shows off his modeling skills in this exclusive for DA MAN fashion feature.
DA MAN: You’ve been in the performing arts for over 10 years, both acting and singing, tell us about your path to where you are now and where you came from?
Josh Henderson: My path has been full of ups and downs. The ups in this business are blessings and are always exciting and rewarding. The downs can be humbling and usually are what make you work that much harder. I appreciate the struggle. And enjoy the challenge that comes with the entertainment business. Coming from a simple upbringing and very ‘normal’ life to being on a show that is literally known worldwide is very surreal!
DAMAN: When you were a youngster, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Josh Henderson: A baseball player.
DAMAN: Was there someone in your life that was largely responsible for influencing you to follow your dreams of stardom in the performing arts?
Josh Henderson: My mother always said she thought I was destined to be in front of the camera from a very early age. But she never pushed me to pursuing the entertainment industry. It totally just kind of happened out of nowhere. So she was right. Momma knows best!
Outfit by Tom Ford
DAMAN: You’re starring in the new version of Dallas, essentially a continuation of the iconic TV show Dallas (1978-1991) as “J.R., Jr.” can you tell us all about your role?
Josh Henderson: Yes I play John Ross, J.R.’s son. He’s a lot like his father. And he’s very set on carrying the Ewing name back to the top of the oil game. Very passionate and determined to carry on the legacy his father created for the Ewings.
DAMAN: Would you say this is your most high-profile role in your career thus far?
Josh Henderson: Yes I would! Desperate Housewives was a high-profile role for me as well, which was a great experience! Dallas is more of a leading role for me and such a huge opportunity!
DAMAN: Had you seen the original Dallas (on DVD or re-runs) before auditioning?
Josh Henderson: I used to watch every week with my mom but I was too young to remember. I went back and watched a lot of the episodes to get a feel for the original before going into audition.
Outfit and watch by Emporio Armani
DAMAN: Do you have a sense of how popular it was, especially the record-breaking episode, “Who Shot J.R.”?
Josh Henderson: I definitely have always had an idea of how popular the show was especially because I’m originally from Dallas. I think a good portion of the world knows, or has heard of, “Who shot J.R.”
DAMAN: With the original Dallas’ incredible success, does that put pressure on the new cast to equal or top it?
Josh Henderson: I think there are definitely high expectations from the fans out there. And as the new generation on the show, we want to live up to their expectations. We, of course, want to do well, but for me, my main hope is that the fans of the original fall in love with this continuation and we pick up some of the younger generation that wasn’t old enough for the original.
DAMAN: Being from Dallas, Texas does that give you an edge in any way that you play the role? Or is it so far removed from reality that it doesn’t matter?
Josh Henderson: Being from Dallas totally helps me for this role. I use my old Texas accent (that I had to lose to become an actor). But there’s a certain spirit and pride you have being a Texan and that totally helps me bring John Ross to life.
Sweater, shirt, jeans, watch and sunglasses by Hugo Boss
DAMAN: With it being shot in and around the actual city of Dallas, Texas, was that special for you being able to work in your hometown? Or do you consider Tulsa, Oklahoma to be more of your hometown?
Josh Henderson: When people ask me where I’m from I always say ‘Texas/Oklahoma’ I spent a good portion of my childhood growing up in both places. But I definitely felt at home shooting in Dallas.
DAMAN: Larry Hagman is reprising his role as J.R., does he give you new actors tips about the original?
Josh Henderson: He’s a legend. And what an honor it is to get to work with him. One of his most memorable tips for me has been: ‘Enjoy the ride.’
DAMAN: What are some of the biggest sacrifices you’ve made in pursuing your career?
Josh Henderson: The unknown. Giving up baseball for a career in acting was scary because there was no guarantee I would work. I knew no one when I moved to L.A. You also sacrifice a certain level of privacy being in this business.
DAMAN: Are there parts of people you know that you use for different characters?
Josh Henderson: I, for the most part, just use a lot of my own personal experiences to get to different emotional places.
Outfit by Dsquared
DAMAN: Are there any classic, old movies or TV shows that you can point to, which definitively gave you motivation to pursue a career in acting?
Josh Henderson: I was always a class clown and obsessed with all of Jim Carrey’s movies. So he definitely inspired me to be a goofball and taught me through his crazy characters to take risks and step outside of yourself to become any character.
DAMAN: What has been your most interesting role so far?
Josh Henderson: The role that really made me believe in myself as an actor was the role of “Pfc Bo Ryder” on a show called Over There for FX—the first show about an ongoing war. It was my first leading role in a series. It was very challenging and intense. I played a 20-year-old soldier who loses a limb from a roadside bomb. It was the role that made me realize I made the right choice in pursuing acting.
DAMAN: What do you do when it’s time for leisure?
Josh Henderson: Sleep, work out, beach volleyball and enjoy friend time.
DAMAN: Who is your favorite musician?
Josh Henderson: Michael Jackson and the Beach Boys.
DAMAN: What do you most value in your friends?
Josh Henderson: Loyalty, being trustworthy, being real.
DAMAN: What is your dream of happiness?
Josh Henderson: Being content with where my life is, being able to inspire and give back and, when the time is right, having a family of my own to cherish and give the world to.
DAMAN: What is the quality you like the most in a woman?
Josh Henderson: Someone who can challenge me. Make me laugh. Keep me on my toes.
DAMAN: What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
Josh Henderson: My goal in 10 years is to have my own production company and to be making movies that I want to make. I would also still like to be making music. Both music and acting are very big parts of my life and I would be blessed to continue to do both.
Photographs: Mitchell Nguyen McCormack
Styling: Lisette Mora