90210′ star shines
Better known as the comical, sex-deprived Navid Shirazi on the CW’s newest hit show, Michael Steger bears resemblance to his character in many ways.
In fact, after one conversation it’s apparent that Steger sees Navid as an extension of himself.
‘We’re both storytellers. Navid’s a journalist and I’m an actor. We love inspiring people and cheering people up,’ Steger said. ‘We’re excited about the drama and everything that we adopt as storytellers. We’re both very ambitious.’
Born and raised in Southern California, the 29-year-old never thought about becoming an actor until a friend at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona sparked his intrigue in theater.
‘I was a bio major and I had this friend who was always talking about theater, so I decided I would try it and see if I liked it,’ Steger said. ‘So I auditioned for a play at Cal Poly and got the lead role. Doing that role in front of an audience of 5,000 people was just one of the best moments of my acting career. It’s still my favorite memory of acting as a whole.’
Steger said that because theater is his first love, he plans to do more in the future and hopes to gravitate toward Broadway.
After graduating with honors and a bachelor’s degree in theater, Steger auditioned for 90210, but never thought he would land a part in the show.
‘I seriously thought I wasn’t going to make it. I thought it was a spin-off, and I thought they couldn’t do a spin-off on a show like that,’ Steger said. ‘When I found out who was also casted, I started to slowly realize how talented these people were. It has really grown on me and I enjoy the experience.’
The show also features veteran television actors Jennie Garth (Beverly Hills, 90210), Rob Estes (Melrose Place) and Lori Loughlin (Full House).
Having previously worked for Disney, Steger said he liked 90210 because it’s geared toward a different audience.
‘90210‘s audience is much more mature than (Disney’s),’ Steger said. ‘There was a shift in circumstances, the shift being style. As an actor, you have to jump on different styles of acting; it was a cool change.’
With the second season of 90210 underway, a lot has changed for the characters of West Beverly Hills High. For instance, Navid is no longer a virgin.
‘I lost my virginity in the last episode, and it’s ridiculous how happy I am in the next episode,’ Steger said. ‘I’m over-the-moon excited, and the writers have written a really funny intro for the next episode where I’m bragging to Dixon.’
When asked about the love triangle between Navid, his girlfriend Adrianna (Jessica Lowndes) and her ex-boyfriend Teddy (Trevor Donovan), Steger revealed that Adrianna and Navid might not make it.
‘Navid starts to realize that Adrianna is doing things behind his back and he is deeply, deeply hurt,’ Steger said. ‘A lot of trouble ensues in their relationship.
‘It’s one more thing that Navid and Adrianna have gone through, and I don’t think Navid is able to take this next one. Navid finally reaches his end and doesn’t want to deal with anymore drama.’
In the first season, viewers watched Adrianna and Navid struggle through her past abuse with drugs and the fact that Adrianna’s unborn child was from a previous fling.
Steger said that Navid will grow a lot this season due to his involvement with the school’s newspaper, The Blaze.
‘He slowly starts to get more interesting leads for the school paper, one (of) which deals with drug abuse in high schools,’ Steger said. ‘For Navid, this story is very close to home since he has dealt with his girlfriend dealing with drugs. He becomes immersed with The Blaze, and it becomes a really healthy distraction for him.’
‘ For Steger, focusing on Navid’s life as the editor of the school newspaper is a great foundation for the show.
‘It’s cool to focus on The Blaze because it’s more of the center of West Beverly High, like in the original 90210,’ Steger said.
For the past two weeks, the Public Relations Student Society of America and the CW have joined together in a competition to allow students to create advertising campaigns for 90210 and Melrose Place.
If the UH PRSSA chapter wins, they will get to plan the shows’ media tours. Steger believes that giving back to students is vital.
‘I think it’s fantastic; it’s so important to give back to students,’ Steger said. ‘It’s very rewarding to have opportunities like this.’
Steger is also looking forward to the release of his film, Assisting Venus, in 2010.
‘The film reminds me of the Dustin Hoffman movie The Graduate,’ Steger said. ‘It’s a nice love story where my character meets this woman who is a writer. He is really in love with her, and she takes him in and changes (him) into a better man.’
Steger said he feels blessed to be able to do something that he loves.
‘It feels great to act, especially when you’re doing live theater or television,’ Steger said. ‘It’s great to tell a story; it’s an honor.’