Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were the undeniable queens of crazy adventures in their series of movies back in the day — aside from the fact that they could solve any crime by dinnertime, they also managed to travel the world and get in all kinds of hijinks, from antique smuggling in the Bahamas to solving France’s clean water problems… all before graduating high school, of course.
One of their best movies, Billboard Dad, may have taken place on American soil, but that doesn’t mean it was any less fantastic than their other global travels.
If you’ll recall, the twins played Tess and Emily Tyler, sisters who wanted to make their sweet dad happy again after the loss of their mother years prior. Like any normal preteens would do, the girls climbed up on a billboard in the middle of the night to take out a dating ad for their pops, overlooking Sunset Boulevard, in order for him to find true love again.
Of course, he ends up falling for a lovely woman named Brooke… but it’s not such a simple happily ever after. Brooke has a son, Ryan, who plays the stereotypical rebellious bad boy on a mission to sabotage his mom’s new relationship. Ryan has bleach blonde hair, rocks a leather jacket and piercings, and skateboards all over town, because he’s ~edgy~ … remember?
Spoiler alert: Ryan learns to embrace Tess and Emily’s sunny disposition and the trio join forces to take down a bigger force of evil — Nigel. (Ugh, remember Nigel and his sinister sunglasses?!) Happily ever after, indeed.
So what has Sam Saletta, the actor who played Ryan in Billboard Dad, been up to since the movie’s release 18 years ago?
Turns out, he’s a singer/songwriter who also appeared on Season 1 of American Idol — and he’s long ditched the platinum blonde curls.
Sam didn’t continue acting much in his adult years. He’s since focused on his music career, and jokes about his time as a child star. On his website, Sam writes, that “he studied jazz vocals at the USC Thornton School of music. In his time there, he started to write music and learn keys. When he was 19, he was a top-40 finalist on American Idol Season 1…Until he saw the contract and ran away screaming. Sam has been told that he was a child actor once, though he doesn’t remember much about it…”
He’s still based in Los Angeles, and has released his first album, The Sam Saletta EP, which can be purchased on his website. According to his Instagram, he’s also a major animal lover.
Cute, talented, and in our favorite ’90s movies and TV shows? Sam, we love you.
Check out one of his most recent songs here — somehow we think even Ryan would approve.