She may have started out as a squeaky-clean Nickelodeon kid star, but at 23 Victoria Justice gets to show her sexier side in Fox’s remake of the 1975 cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show, subtitled Let’s Do the Time Warp Again and premiering on October 20th (8/7c).

Justice, who began her professional career in modeling in commercials at 10 and rose to stardom in Zoey 101 and Victorious, has shed her teen star image along with most of her clothes to play Janet Weiss, who goes from virginal to sexual when she enters the creepy domain of Frank N Furter and his friends.

In this conversation, she talks about that transformation and her own, and weighs in on everything from her mom’s best advice to what she likes in men.

“I look for someone who has a good sense of humor and their own ambition. If someone is inconsiderate, not nice to my family, I’d be done.”

What’s your first memory of seeing Rocky Horror?
I saw it the first time when I was in fifth grade. I’d never seen anything like it before in my life. I loved the music and the campiness, the color that the characters and the story had… and then, I went to my first midnight showing when I was 15, with my mom, actually, and a couple of close friends of mine and their moms. I remember wearing fishnets and a red feather boa and red lipstick. I was totally into it. It’s captivated me ever since then. I’ve been a fan for a long time. When my agent told me about the remake, I said, “Get me in the room!”

What do you love about Janet?
She starts off as this very demure girl whose world revolves around Brad. She just wants to get married and have the white picket fence life so badly. And then, when she enters the castle to meet Dr. Frank N Furter, her whole world is flipped upside down and she comes to terms with her own sexuality and has this sexual awakening. That was so super liberating to play and was so much fun for me.

How was it to step into such an iconic role?
This character was created and played so well by Susan Sarandon. I wanted to pay homage to certain parts of the movie and certain choices she made, little nuances. I wanted to keep the classic Janet voice where she kind of talks in this higher register that’s more sweet and saccharine, without copying her. That was probably the biggest challenge when I watched the movie—remembering certain things that I wanted to keep, but then also forgetting the rest of it, so I could be inspired on my own. 

Was the singing a challenge?
Yes, because I had to tap into my falsetto more than I ever have before. I wanted to push myself because I wanted to find ad libs, things that were different, and kind of make it my own.

You started very young. Do you feel you missed out on childhood by working as a kid?
I don’t have any regrets. I’ve known what I wanted to do ever since I was little, and I am lucky enough to have a family that didn’t just pooh-pooh my ideas. They support me and help me realize my dreams. I feel so incredibly lucky, and I wouldn’t take any of it back.

Was it tough to make the transition to adult roles?
I feel like the transition has been happening pretty naturally. After Victorious, the next show I did was Eye Candy for MTV. I loved doing that show and I feel like that was the perfect transition. It was more mature and sexy but it wasn’t too crazy.

How about your criteria in choosing men?
I look for someone who’s close to his family, someone who’s sweet and sensitive and considerate and supportive. Someone who has a good sense of humor and their own ambition. If someone is inconsiderate, not nice to my family, I’d be done.

You have a movie coming up, The Outskirts. Details?
I play Jodi, a misfit who is humiliated by the most popular girl in school at a party, so she and her friend devise a plan to retaliate by recruiting all the dorks and weirdos in the school to band together and take over.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
My mom always said, “Don’t do things for the money.” That always stuck with me. I’m totally down to do a low-budget indie if I feel like it’s a great script and a great character and is going to challenge me.

Photo Credit: Steve Wilkie/FOX