Late last week, Andrew Keegan — yes, THE Andrew Keegan — appeared at the BuzzFeed offices with a bonsai tree in hand. (It was a gift for the office.) If you grew up in the '90s, you will likely know him from his roles in 10 Things I Hate About You, Camp Nowhere, 7th Heaven, and Party of Five — or, like me, because his posters were plastered all over your walls. We spent the afternoon talking about the '90s (of course), his adult life (he still surfs), and his home for the past 12 years, Venice Beach. He even took us all out to the bar. But before we lived our actual '90s dream by going out with The Keegs, we asked him about those pin-ups in teen magazines. Luckily, he obliged.
Here's the first! Bring back any memories?
AK: That is so funny! That was Montu, my lizard. But now, looking at it in this setting, this is so weird. He used to climb the tree a lot … Here's an awful story for you. He went missing and we thought he went up the tree, because he'd done that many times — he'd climb up a tree like 20 feet and we'd grab him and bring him back down. And then he was missing, and months and months went by, and my mom looked down in her closet. And they like to hide. He had gotten into the back of the closet and got stuck. He was between suitcases or something.
What's going on here?
AK: Um, yeah, wow. I was gonna be Beetlejuice for Halloween this year, but wasn't. You can kind of see a little bit of that in the pants. Corduroy jacket … Obviously this was right after the New Kids on the Block boy band thing, and I was like, "Hey, let me get in on that."
Was it your idea to run into the waves in this photo?
AK: I obviously didn't bring board shorts. Again, it's just one of those super-creative '90s photos. I'm just thinking of that GIF where the wave comes...
AK: Oh, this is most certainly the Kris Kross days. It was inspired by them, and you can't see the pants, but they were reversed too. And that is obviously my dad's white T-shirt. This is kind of fun, actually.
AK: I look very uncomfortable.
What's that behind your head?
AK: That's a football. I'm sure some photographer was like, "All right, we're gonna make you look sporty!" So, uh, let's call that my Sporty Not-So-Spice look.
Did you do fan mail?
AK: You know, I used to get like 2,000 letters a week at one point.
Did you write back?
AK: Yeah, you know! You try because you want to, but there's just a point where you go to your mailbox that there's just two cartons of it ... Who's got time?
Did you ever get anything weird in the mail?
AK: There were plenty of weird things. My dad filtered it for a while and he'd give me, like, dollar bills [to sign], and I think I got some weird panties … The postman was pissed off at us and we had to get a P.O. box.
I'll tell you this, though. I did have a literal shed of fan mail once. I was literally filled with like 25 of those giant mail cartons. And I saved a few boxes [of it].
Please explain how it was cold enough for a hat but not a shirt.
AK: Those were my days when I, you know … That looks ridiculous. Actually, was that the Italian Vogue shoot that I did, I think? I'm a surfer, so I'm not so afraid to hang around with my shirt off.
You know, I got a horrible reputation for doing drugs — which, I never did drugs — but I see a photo like this and I can see how somebody would say, "Oh yeah. He's definitely doing drugs. Yeah, that guy does heroin."
AK: All right, that's, ah, all right. It's my oar. I'm about to get on a boat. No, I have no idea. This was probably a Planet Hollywood party to be honest.
What's going on here?
AK: "Please don't jump!" Obviously, I didn't. That was clearly my "I'm on the edge" stage.
Wait a minute — did you actually read these magazines?
AK: Oh, absolutely not. I was not into young boys. You can almost see in my face I was like, Oh, god. I'm gonna regret this! The warning was in the face. I was like, This really sucks. No, seriously. Look at my face! I was like, I really have to do this? OK. If I only knew then that I wasn't getting paid...
Speaking of this photo, did you ever know Jonathan Taylor Thomas?
AK: We actually worked on the same lot next to each other when I was doing Thunder Alley. We played basketball together, he was very short. There was a crew that kind of ran around with us. I do have one story about playing basketball with JTT. We were between shoots and he hit my tooth and knocked my tooth out. Not out, but he killed the root. At the time I didn't know, and then it started changing colors and I had to get a root canal.
AK: Obviously below, the one [in the reflection] is God. It's crazy, I haven't seen these … What does this shirt stay, Stubbie?
For a photo shoot like this, did they spray your hair down or did you just show up after surfing with hair like this?
AK: I think these were the days of good old-fashioned hair gel.
AK: Is this next one gonna be me shirtless in a vest?
No, but we do have a lot of questions about this next photo. Was your shirt Photoshopped off? We can't find your belly button.
AK: I wasn't even that well dressed! I think they probably Photoshopped it, airbrushed it. Why didn't they put some abs in?
But what is it that you are looking at?
AK: I'm probably looking for help!