It’s All Saints’ Day, and New York’s East Village is still littered with the drunken remnants of Halloween costumes from the night before — a lost mask here, a discarded wig there — that look pretty scary under the glare of the bright sunlight. But Joe Jonas, the hair-ruling heartthrob of the Jonas Brothers, had already won Halloween a couple of days before the annual Village parade, by dressing up as Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercials for a house party in Brooklyn.
“I was riding my Citi Bike [to the party], and it was quite funny because I think some people were like, ‘What’s happening here?’” says Jonas, looking boy-band fresh after recovering from his Halloween drag romp.
“I actually had the wig on all night, even when I was getting a little warm at like 2 a.m. I was like, ‘No, you gotta stay in character here!’ Who doesn’t love Flo, you know? I’m waiting for my free insurance from Progressive, but we’ll see if that happens.”
Today, Jonas is playing a different kind of dress-up — this one in Gucci, Versace and Moschino — for his Alexa cover shoot. But he is just as committed to the couture he’s rocking to a disco soundtrack. “When it comes to style, I want to know I can confidently wear it,” says Jonas, who indeed brings his own swag to the funky fashion.
It’s all in the name of promoting his first major big-screen role in “Devotion,” a Korean War drama whose cast includes “Lovecraft Country” star Jonathan Majors and “Top Gun: Maverick” breakout Glen Powell.
Jonas, who’s 33 but looks at least a decade younger in person, plays real-life Navy hero Marty Goode in the Oscar-bait film (in theaters now). It was a chance for the singer to pursue a long-buried love of acting that he hadn’t been able to fully explore while on the nonstop JoBros grind since 2005. And trust — this is a long way from “Camp Rock.”
“Acting is a huge passion of mine,” he tells Alexa. “When I was younger, I was doing acting, but it’s been years. Being able to immerse yourself in a character and surround yourself with great actors is always something I loved, but I really didn’t have the time to say, ‘Great, yeah, that sounds awesome. So when’s your film? OK, I don’t know where I’m gonna be at that point.’ ”
Ironically, it was the pandemic lockdown that gave him the opening he needed. “Naturally, touring would be put to a stop,” he recalls. “And me and the bros were like, ‘All right, well, we’re gonna all do what we gotta do and take care of our families and be home. And that gave me time to do something that I was passionate about for years and put myself on tape, meet directors, meet producers, meet writers and just kind of pitch myself.”
“Devotion,” which centers on the bond between two Navy pilots — Tom Hundner (Powell) and Jesse Brown (Majors), the first black man to fly in combat for the US Navy — turned out to be just the right passion project to propel his acting career.
“I was just blown away and kind of dumbfounded that I didn’t know about this beforehand,” Jonas says of the story, which was based on Adam Makos’ 2015 book “Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice.” “And it was just a life-changing experience.”
As a longtime pop pinup, Jonas — who also loaned his musical talents to the Khalid duet “Not Alone,” which plays over the closing credits of the movie — knew he had to prove himself to the cast and “Devotion” director J.D. Dillard.
“It was pretty interesting to walk into the room and meet all these great actors like Jonathan Majors,” he says. “I’m saying to myself, ‘Oh, s–t , this is real. I’m not playing around here. I gotta step up to the A-game.’ And in the conversation I had with J.D. early on, I said, ‘Look, I know I’m not the first choice or first pick that you probably would go for.’ But I said, ‘Look, I’ll work so hard for you. I will devote myself to do the work.’”
To help him find his groove, Jonas turned to a very special acting coach: wife Sophie Turner, the “Game of Thrones” star. “She’s the most honest, toughest critic I have,” he says. “We want each other to kind of go on our own journey when it comes to immersing ourselves in characters and roles, but I would read every scene with her … Even if I feel like, ‘Cool, that was good,’ she’ll be like, ‘Hmmm, you can probably do more work.’ But just as an inspiration, it’s incredible that I’m in the same household with such a brilliant actress.”
The star sweethearts, who met in 2016 after first connecting through Instagram DMs, married in 2019 and now have two children: Willa, 2, and another daughter born in July, whose name has not yet been revealed. The couple shares a strong bond from growing up in the limelight.
“We both started pretty young,” says Jonas, who was raised in New Jersey. “But [we had] very different lifestyles from the UK and the States, and very different careers.” Now, having their family as a foundation helps keep him grounded in the show-biz whirlwind. Proudly gushing over his wife, Jonas calls Turner “an amazing life partner who I can trust and be honest with and open with and lean on when things are very difficult for me.”
While the couple’s busy careers have taken them across the map — they were based in Savannah, Ga., when Jonas was filming “Devotion” — they’re now enjoying building their home life in Miami. “People think that all there is is nightclubs and hot spots and, like, crazy wild beaches. There is that, of course, but there are also beautiful areas and quiet areas,” says Jonas, who prefers hopping from the coffee shop Suite Habana Cafe to Casa Tua restaurant in Miami Beach. “And then obviously, you know, the plus of the weather, being by the bluest water.”
Since the Jonas Brothers’ Disney days, the “Sucker” singer has always been a team player in the fame game. Not having to navigate the spotlight alone has helped him avoid becoming another teen star turned trainwreck.
“We had this crazy life that we were living, this fast-paced lifestyle,” Jonas reflects. “We had our struggles, we had our issues we dealt with — things people don’t know about — but at the end of the day, we had family. We had each other to look at and be like, ‘You good?’ We were able to talk to somebody. And as I got older, the beautiful benefits of therapy helped.”
And although he’s busy promoting his big holiday movie and the “Not Alone” single, and continues to front his “Cake by the Ocean” side group DNCE (they released the summer bop “Move” in May), Jonas isn’t planning on deserting his own personal band of brothers anytime soon.
“I think DNCE is the closest thing I’ll probably get to solo, but never say never,” he says. “I don’t really know where my career is gonna take me, but I think if I can have more of the same, then I’ll be happy at the end of the day. I’m good right now. I’ve really, really been blessed.”
Photographer: Victoria Will; Editor: Serena French; Stylist: Anahita Moussavian; Photo Editor: Jessica Hober; Fashion Assistants: Madeleine Shepherd, Madison Cheng-Trpisovsky, Alycen Humphrey-Case; Groomer: Nicole Elle King at The Wall Group using Dyson and Armani Beauty; Locations: HiLot, 102 Loisaida Ave., @hilotnyc; Joyface, 104 Loisaida Ave., @joyfacenyc