Mason's Brant Daugherty finished seventh on Dancing with the Stars five years ago, but that's OK with him.
"Mostly my exposure until then was Pretty Little Liars. It helped me be seen in a different light," says Daugherty, who stars in his first Hallmark Channel film, Mingle All The Way, at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. It repeats several times in December, which are listed in my 21-page Holiday Program Guide.
Daugherty plays – spoiler alert! – the (eventual) love interest for Molly (Jen Lilley from Days Of Our Lives), who has launched a new social media app that pairs busy singles with "strictly platonic" partners. Daugherty's Jeff, an ambitious advertising executive, uses the app to find a date "to impress my boss during the holidays." The movie was filmed in September in Vancouver, he says.
How did the wholesome Hallmark Channel find him for the role?
"That's a good question," he says by phone from Los Angeles, where he has lived since earning a degree at Chicago's Columbia College. "I don't know. As an actor, you never know what they've seen."
Maybe not his role in Fifty Shades Freed, the third and last of the Fifty Shades erotic romantic movies released in February?
"Probably not," he says.
It might have been Merry Kissmas, his 2015 Ion TV network movie with Karissa Lee Staples (Betting On The Bride, Necessary Roughness, Masters of Sex).
He competed on DWTS in fall 2013, after appearing on Lifetime's Army Wives. Since then he has been in Freakish on Hulu; Relationship Status on Verizon GO90; Dear White People on Netflix; a feature film called Another Tango with Lexi Giovagnoli; and Charlie Sheen's Anger Management sitcom. He's enjoyed the variety.
"To be honest, acting is very interesting. You play different ages – a high school kid, a young soldier, a father, and back to a high school kid," says Daugherty, who played Noel Kahn on Pretty Little Liars from 2010 to 2016.
He's in talks to appear in a movie in December, after Mingle All The Way premieres, which he calls "a fun little script." He couldn't say more.
His plans for 2019 include marrying actress-writer-producer Kimberly Hidalgo. Her acting credits include Gray's Anatomy, Bones, How I Met Your Mother, Big Time Rush and The New Adventures of Old Christine. She also wrote, produced and starred in Smoky Knights, a 2016 fictional series about a Los Angeles-area band.
They could be starring in a film together next year. A studio has bought a movie she's written for them, "and we are currently attached as the leads," he says.
Was this the career he envisioned when he left Mason High School in 2004? No way.
"I think I've surpassed what I wanted (in high school). It's a small feat to be able to book one (acting) job, not just several over a career. I'm happy where I am," he says.