Britney Spears became a pop legend at a very young age. Her sister, Jamie Lynn, had different ambitions. Perhaps seeing her sister struggle in the spotlight of mega-stardom had an influence on her career choices.
Jamie Lynn has always had a creative streak. She enjoyed making up characters and creating stories. These hobbies helped pave the way for her acting career, and her starring role on the Nickelodeon hit, Zoey 101.
Britney Spears became a pop star, but Jamie Lynn had a different dream
In 1999, Britney Spears released her first album, Baby One More Time. She was 17 years old and the album quickly became the best-selling album in history by a teenage artist. Her sister, Jamie Lynn, was just a kid at the time. Jamie Lynn watched her older sister rapidly become a huge star, but she never had a strong desire to follow in her sister’s footsteps.
Jamie Lynn told Nylon she always had an interest in creating and bringing characters to life, and this interest is probably what led her to pursue acting. She began acting at nine years old and played a younger version of her sister in the film Crossroads. A few years later, she did meet with a music producer, but it still didn’t feel right. She recalled being asked to sing a song with the word ‘damn’ and felt that it was inappropriate for someone so young. The edgy pop star just wasn’t an image she wanted.
Jamie Lynn created her own character on ‘All That’
The Nickelodeon hit sketch comedy, All That, added Jamie Lynn to the cast when she was 11 years old. At the time, she was the youngest cast member in the show’s history. She auditioned with the character Thelma Stump, which she created with Britney’s help. The idea came to her while on the road with her big sister. Thelma Stump was a combination of Britney’s burly bodyguard, Big Rob, and the girls’ grandmother.
Thelma Stump was a regular character on All That until Jamie Lynn left the show to start Zoey 101. She helped create the show, developing characters, settings, and plots. Jamie Lynn had strong feelings about the title character’s personality, and she brought Zoey to life in a way that was relatable to her teen audience.
Zoey 101 followed Zoey and her friends as they navigated their way through life as a teen at Pacific Coast Academy. The show was humorous, but mixed in storylines about common teen issues. It turned out to be a favorite among viewers, and was nominated for an Emmy in its first season.
The ‘Zoey 101’ cast recently reunited for an ‘All That’ sketch
A few months ago, the cast of Zoey 101 reunited for a special sketch on an episode of All That. Jamie Lynn reprised her role as the bacon-loving, 101-year-old bodyguard Thelma Stump. Original fans of the series were excited to see the old cast back together, and new fans of All That enjoyed the sketch as well.
The sketch was a clear indicator that a reboot of Zoey 101 will likely be a success. The project had been talked about before, but the positive reception of the reunion on All That was just what producers needed to give it some momentum. Spears says she plans to be just as involved as she was as a teen, and the show will resume with Zoey as an adult. The actor and singer said it’s important to engage both old and new audiences, “We want to do it justice for the fans that were 10 and 12 when it first aired, while also bringing in the new generation of fans.”