Nick Jonas didn't go from Disney teen heartthrob to grown-up shirtless hunk overnight.
It just seems that way.
But the former Jonas Brothers cutie turned solo artist and beefed-up star of DirecTV's Kingdom also knows that it isn't always easy to carry one's success over from the teenage years to the twentysomethings (let alone beyond), and that the road holds different obstacles for different people on the quest to be taken seriously.
"I think it is very different for men and women," the 22-year-old said in a new interview with Yahoo! Style. (Enjoy BTS video from his photo shoot right here!)
"And I can only speak for my journey, because it's the only one I know very well. I think the challenge that I faced was in just giving people a reason to give me a second look."
So, is he saying that it's easier for the ladies, such as Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez, to get folks to take a second look? It sure doesn't seem as if Nick has had much trouble being noticed—but therein lies the rub, too.
"I think I tread those waters carefully," he said when asked about his rising sex symbol status, and the various photo shoots and Instagram shots that helped put him on the map.
"After doing a few hits that were that, I said, 'Okay, let's shut down that side of it for a little while and put the focus on other areas,'" Nick recalled. "And if the argument is that there's too much focus on that, well I say the week that the Flaunt shoot came out, 'Jealous' shot up the iTunes chart, and that was our biggest sales week so far. There are things that are driving people to the music and the TV show, and you've got to be thankful for that."
You gotta have the goods to back it up, too, and at least Nick is getting good reviews for his role as a burly MMA fighter on Kingdom, and Rolling Stone, Slate and others have responded encouragingly to his new self-titled solo album, out now.
"It does feel like a bit more pressure at times, on me, but I think I put that on myself," he told Yahoo! Style about going it alone in the music business. "I am the kind of person that sits down with the team before, and says, 'If there are holes, I'm gonna be frustrated.' I like to keep it all very busy. I like to know that I did all I could to make people aware of the music I'm making and the projects I've got going on. So I don't mind it being busy. There are seasons when it's slower, so in these moments you go harder."
Nick also acknowledged that he may have played the biggest role in the Jonas Brothers' decision to call it quits.
While he didn't have particular plans for his own career in motion yet, "It did start with me, the conversation about the group reaching its time, and closing that chapter of our lives," he said. "For many reasons, the biggest one being that we were no longer gelling in the way that we used to as a group. And I think we all had different things in our hearts. I definitely did, and I felt a lot of freedom when I was able to go and just create, and sort of start over again."
And while he may think that the journey for the guys from tween to adult stardom is different from the gals, but the feeling of freedom he says he got after leaving the Disney fold sounds similar to the I'm-gonna-do-what-I-want mantra being chanted by Miley and others.
"Yeah, I probably was more intense and more reserved and concerned about interviews, and about not being perfect while I was with Disney," Nick admitted. "And now I'm kind of like, 'F--k it. I do what I love, I love what I do.' And that's a freeing thing."