I’m going to begin a mini-series diving into the “where are they now?” question for former Nick and Disney stars- AKA some of your favorite childhood actors/actresses. For many of those stars, the two channels served as stepping stones to fame, recognition, and ultimately a bigger career.
That holds true for many of those stars, but you may be scratching your head at what happened to others. For the sake of this series, I will not include former Nick or Disney stars that are still thriving and in the national spotlight today. This features Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, etc.
Instead, I am going to focus on big-name stars back in the day who have been generally off the radar in recent memory. This first article will feature Jake T. Austin, a former Disney star in the late 2000s/early 2010s.
Let’s get into it:
Jake T. Austin, or Jake Szymanski, has been in show business since his early life, starring in TV advertisements and small roles before finally landing a voice role as Diego in Go Diego Go! along within a couple of films like The Ant Bully. All of this happened early on in 2002-2006 as he tried to build his career. He was born in New York City on December 3, 1994, and is now 25-years-old.
Starting in 2007, Jake began his ascent to stardom. He starred in the Disney Channel Original movie Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board, which was the sequel to Johnny Tsunami (1999). It also starred Brandon Baker.
In that same year, Austin began his role as Max Russo in the Disney Channel Original Series Wizards of Waverly Place. He was the youngest sibling in the Russo family alongside Alex (Selena Gomez) and Justin (David Henrie).
It was this series that brought Austin a ton of recognition, as the show was highly-praised and aired from 2007-2012. He was also a part of the Wizards of Waverly Place Movie in 2009 which remains the second-highest viewed Disney Channel original movie (during its premiere) to this day with 11 million viewers.
Photo Credit: Comic Book
After Wizards of Waverly Place, Jake T. Austin went on to star in one other prominent TV series called The Fosters, which aired on ABC Family/Freeform from 2013-2018. The actor played Jesus Foster, the son of couple Stef (Teri Polo) and Lena (Sherri Saum).
The former Disney star is seen from a different perspective as Jesus, who is in high school and attracts the attention of many girls. Jake left the show after starring in only two seasons. Netflix heartthrob Noah Centineo took the role as a replacement for the remainder of the series.
Jake T. Austin has been generally off-the-radar since 2015 or 2016. Though he still acts, the number of recent roles have been much lower than early on in his career.
He appeared on Dancing With the Stars in 2016, had a voice role in The Emoji Movie, and will star in an upcoming film called Adverse, which is scheduled to release this year.