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AJ's Autobiograpy

"My full name is Alex James McLean. I was born January 9, 1978 in Bethesda Memorial Hospital, it was a big 'old pink, Pepto Bismol- coloured hospital in Palm Beach. I was born with a hernia. Here's a bit of trivia: I'm not sure, but I think four of the five Backstreet Boys, everybody but Nick, were born with hernias. It's really strange!

Anyway, I lived in a complex on Rosemary circle in Boynton Beach, a subdivisions West Palm Beach. Most of the friends I grew up with lived on that corner or across the street. I went to Unity Elementary School in Boynton through sixth grade. At the time, my father was working for IBM- he was a genius when it came to taking apart computers... he was brilliant. He'd fix then and deliver then back to their owners. My mother was working with my grandmother, Ursula, at the Breaker's Hotel right on the water of Palm Beach . My parents got divorced when I was about four.

Back then I would try to mow the lawn, but I couldn't actually do it until I was six or seven. The lawnmower was the kind where you pull the lever and it would go by itself and you just direct it. And it would take me for a ride and I'd be like, 'Woooooah'! So I'd fix the hedges, clean the pool... I never cleaned my room though, that was my mom's job. I'm an only child, and it's fun, fun, fun! I had more privileges that I would if I had brothers or sisters. I was spoiled, they spoiled me rotten, but I never did get an allowance.

When I was around five, my mom got me into modelling and I started doing J.C. Penny's Catalogues and runways. I was seen at a runway show at a mall. There was director there who worked at the Royal Palm Dinner theatre. She asked my mom if I was interested in doing any plays. So my first part was Dopey, as in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I had no lines, but I was the biggest hit of that show... I ended up doing about twenty-seven plays in the course of two years! Sometimes it was chorus stuff and sometimes it was leads.

Around the end of my 6th grade year, my mother and my grandparents, decided to move to Orlando. They had hear that actors do very well there, so we made the move. At that time was going into 7th grade and I really wanted to go into a performing arts school for drama. A couple of people we met in the community told me a bout this school called the Masters Academy. . I was only there until 8th grade. At that time we were living in Fern Park.

My first audition was at the Nickelodeon and I got the part of a character named Skunk on a sitcom called Hi Honey, I'm Home. The character I played had his head shaved and hair dyed blonde down the middle; They shaved my head and I had a mohawk, a rat tail, and bleached blonde hair. Now this school I was going to, you couldn't have hair pasted the collar and I come in with this wacked-out hair-do . They were like, "What's up with your hair?" So that showed lasted two weeks, and then I got fired because I was too tall. Basically, I made some money and got exposure.

Then I moved to Kissimee, Florida and went to Denn John Middle School. Nickelodeon kept calling me back for extra work, so I did Welcome Freshman, Fifteen and then I started auditioning for the Mickey Mouse Club. I never became a mouseketeer, but I may have appeared as an extra. I had known Howie since 8th grade, and he auditioned for Disney too, but he was too old. I was too close to the age where they stopped signing kids, which is 17.

When I was younger, I wasn't quiet- I had a big mouth! I was constantly running my mouth and I was also a big-time flirt- I'm still one! Since my mom raised me, I was always taught to treat girls with respect. In fact, I would always treat every girl with the utmost respect. That's why I was always hanging out with girls when I was younger. Girls don't bore me: I love shopping, they love shopping. I love clothes, they love clothes. They're more interesting. With guys it's just sports. I would always like to talk to girls, pull their chairs out and get them things in the cafeteria. Some girls would get jealous, because I would do it for everyone.

The first time I really started dating was in 8th grade, and that didn't really work out too well. Then in my freshman year, I did a commercial for MGM and I became really close to the producer. His niece came down and we hit it off. The problem she lived in Ohio, That didn't work out, because she couldn't accept the situation."

His Early Days As A Backstreet Boy

"Kevin' kept talking about this cousin he had in Kentucky. We were trying to find guys from around the area, but we couldn't find anybody. So we sent a plane to get Brian; he was picked up in a limo. He came to the band house, auditioned for us, we liked him. A week and a half later was his first performance in front of 5,000 kids at Sea World's Grad Night, 1993. Everything kind of blew up from there. I got taken out of high school before Christmas of 1992.

Nick and I were being tutored at the time and he was living locally with his mom, because it was [too far] to drive from Tampa. Brian and Kevin were living together and the rest of us were living with our parents. Soon we met with the head of SADD [Students Against Drunk Driving] and became Ambassadors for the organization. then we played a show for 3,000 high school students who were affiliated with SADD. There were a couple of important people from Jive in the audience and that's how we came over to Jive record company. They said they loved us and wanted us to come up to New York and talk to a bunch of people there who wanted to sign us! We went up there, sang a capella and they signed us. I've been looking for something like this, and it's the one thing I want to live for: to get up on a stage and make an audience smile. If I can do that, I've done what I'm meant for.

When I was younger I wanted to be in comedy. I used to want to be a fireman, but I gotta be out there in front of people! I'm a ham, and I've got to be out there doing crazy stuff on stage. Especially on stage, Brian and I are two clowns. We'll play off each other and do stupid things. [Back in the days] we did a show a J.J. Whispers with our band for people from Jive; they wanted us to have a videocassette to send to some producers so they could hear our vocals. It's funny because theres a certain reggae song where we pulled girls up on stage. There was this one girl who was totally [into me]. When we stopped, I fell on the floor and I was acting all crazy. Because when you're onstage, you know you're going to get attention; whatever you do, they're gonna like [it]. There's never been any competition with this group. If there were, this group wouldn't be a group anymore. If you have that kind of attitude, forget it!

My friends have been my buds since my freshman year [in high school]. Two of them I met in chorus and the other in basketball. They're my buds and we just hang out together. One of my friends passed away [a few years ago]. He got involved with the wrong people and they were out at some picnic and drinking and he drowned. That kind of set me back a little bit. My friends still call me, they're like 'how's the group going?' A couple of them know the guys; we've all played basketball together. They are really supportive. Normally girls will come to all the shows, but these guys have been to almost all my shows. They've hung out with the guys.

I [once] bought myself a pager, which was really stupid. Sometimes I'd get paged by friends for no reason. Sometimes I'd get pages from friends and they'd type in codes and I'd sit there trying to figure out what the heck they meant. One of my ex-girlfriends would type in "Hi, honey" with numbers and letters. She would type in numbers and I would have to figure it out by looking at the phone. But then Kevin, the fellows, and my family were all paging me with like, 'Yo, what's up, AJ? What are you doing tonight? You wanna go to the movies?' all spelled out! Sometimes my mom would page me with my house phone number and 666 after it, which was a joke. I'm like, 'Satan's calling me!' Howie would put 43, which is 'HD', which means Howie D; Brian would put 'BROK' and Nick would put a series of numbers.

I used to do the same kind of silly things. My answering machine at home was me being stupid: 'Yo, waaasss up? You've reached the McLean residence... Talk to you later on! Seee yaaa! Bye!' I redid it. I wanted to sing on it. I kinda wanted all of us Backstreet Boys to sing on it like 'hey, you've reached my house now and...'

My advice to young people going into the business is, if you've got it in your heart and deep in your soul, there's a reason for it. Don't think, 'Well, I'm going to be called [names] because I wear tights sometimes.' Actors are sometimes misunderstood. They're just people portraying other people. I think anyone who wants to get into this business should definitely do it. They have to be willing to be competitive. It's a very competitive business. But It hink the more people who are involved in it, the more people will understand us. Follow your dreams, your hearts and your souls! That's pretty much what I've done."

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