When Josh Dela Cruz took on the host role of the new children’s show Blue’s Clues and You, the latest incarnation of the ’90s-era Nickelodeon hit, he was nervous, really nervous. This was despite that fact that he was surrounded by a supportive crowd, including the original host of the show, Steve Burns.
At one point, he recalled during a visit to BUILD Series, Burns pulled him aside for a quick one-on-one.
“We cast you because we love you, and we love what you’re bringing to the table,” Dela Cruz remembered Burns telling him. “So don’t ever feel like you have to do anything that I or that [former host Donovan Patton] did in the past. Just do you and be proud of that. It was that thing that got me to go onto set and be able to be myself and to kind of let go of what they’re doing and explore the role.”
Dela Cruz, who’s also appeared on the shows Bull and Time After Time, said he’s grateful for his new gig. Much of why it’s so important to him is that he can now show Asian-American children that it’s possible for them to work in TV. He said it’s a message that he never had growing up.
“I never really saw myself on screen in a way that connected with me, you know?” he said. “It was either martial arts or a caricature of a stereotype.”
When he appears on TV now, Dela Cruz said, his friends tell him how excited their kids are to see someone who looks like them.
“I never thought about film and TV, because I never saw it,” Dela Cruz said. “Now, looking back, you know, I hope that whoever you are, whether you’re an Asian American, whatever you look like, identify with, just because you don’t see yourself there, don’t shut yourself off to the things that you love, because you never know.”
The new Blue’s Clues and You debuts Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. on Nickelodeon.
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