The youngest Jonas brother also spills on why he's cut down on TikTok and getting past one set horror story.
It's been nine years since Frankie Jonas -- the younger sibling of Jonas Brothers Kevin, Joe and Nick -- last appeared on-screen. And after a lifetime of being associated with one of the biggest bands ever, he's found the perfect show for his TV return; "Claim to Fame," a reality show in which 12 celebrity relatives attempt to conceal their identities.
While Frankie is a little too well known to compete on the show, he'll be hosting the series. But, in order to get the gig, the 21-year-old had to talk one of his famous famous members to join too.
"I got a call on Valentine's Day that said, 'Hey, would you be interested in hosting a reality show with Kevin?' and then I did everything I could to beg Kevin to do it with me, because any opportunity I could to work with Kevin would be a great," Frankie told TooFab ahead of the series premiere this month.
"I was so, so immediately enamored by the idea of the show and we had so much fun doing it and I'm so grateful I got to do it with Kevin too," he continued. "I think we brought something individually each to it that we wouldn't have been able to do solo, he's just such a great host and now our relationship is 10 times more close because we got to work with each other for the first time in 14 years."
When he was just a kid, Frankie appeared opposite his brothers on their Disney TV series "Jonas," as well as the Disney movie "Camp Rock 2." Jonas told us that Kevin was the only one he ever worked with one-on-one in the past, so that really helped when it came time to work together on the new series.
"For me, coming into this, I see being on set, the blueprint is with Kevin. I can't see myself on set without him," he said. "I think going into this, I knew I could rely on him and I'm so grateful that he's so good as a traditional host as he is because I got to really learn so much from him on how to present myself, how to be a host and I really am really grateful that he was on there."
While Kevin took the "traditional" route, Frankie said he's "much more of a Gen Z host" -- and one who made "a lot of individual connections" with the contestants, given how much they could relate to each other's family histories.
"I think that what's great about the show is that this particular circumstance of the adjacency to celebrity, to fame, it's never been touched on in this way," he added. "I think you learn so much about what that identity means and how that interacts in this environment. Kevin's been saying it's a social experiment and I totally agree."
The show is a big return to the spotlight for Frankie, who previously said he was blacklisted a bit in Hollywood after he had a horrific allergic reaction on the set of "R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour" that caused him to go #2 in his costume multiple times, during multiple takes, on the same day. Though it happened when he was 13, it's something he opened up about in disgusting -- but hilarious -- detail for the first time publicly last year.
"I think, at a certain point, what really healed that wound for me was when the first time I told that story and someone cried laughing," Frankie told TooFab of how he was able to move past what must have been a pretty traumatizing experience.
"I was like, 'Wait, there can be a joy that comes from this.' And then I started talking about it publicly and now, maybe I regret that because as I'm interviewing for this show, I'm asked about that experience, which might be regrettable," he added with a laugh. "Everybody poops."
He started to tip-toe back into public eye in 2020, when he began to post videos to TikTok during the pandemic. He now has nearly 2 million followers on the platform, but in recent months has started to post significantly less there.
"I definitely slowed down. I'm so grateful to TikTok because I learned so much about myself and got so much ego strength on just being me and who I was," he explained. "I didn't do it to blow up on TikTok, I didn't start it in that way or with that intention. It just sorta happened, which I'm grateful for."
"For me, once I came into this year, I spent the beginning of the year backpacking in Europe, I came home and went straight into ['Claim to Fame'] and I think that, for me, TikTok, I'm so grateful to it because it brought me a sense of self that I think shows so much in 'Claim to Fame'. Without TikTok, without that experience, without that community, I wouldn't be able to do this in any universe."
See Frankie in action when "Claim to Fame" premieres July 11 on ABC.