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Rocky Horror Picture Show's Victoria Justice on Her Mature New Role: 'My Nickelodeon Days Are Over'

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Victoria Justice is taking The Rocky Horror Picture Show‘s signature song to heart as she transitions from young actor to grown-up star: “Don’t Dream It, Be It.”

Previously best known for her leading role in Nickelodeon’s Victorious from 2010–13, the actress has chosen a rather risqué role for her network debut — and it has hints of art imitating life.

“I love Janet Weiss’ character arc because she starts off as very innocent and naïve and pure,” Justice told PEOPLE on the set of the Fox revamp.

As the musical progresses, “We all go through this dark and stormy night in this night of debauchery, and [Janet has] a complete sexual awakening. I’m in, like, my bra and slip for more than half of the movie,” she teases. “I think it’s safe to say that my Nickelodeon days are over.”

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

Justice says getting a little grittier on screen was “really fun. I’m 23 years old now, and I think it’s exciting to be able to show a bit of a sexier side.”

And recreating the role originated by Susan Sarandon in the 1975 cult-classic film is “obviously a little nerve-racking because it is such an iconic film and has such a cult following and people are obsessed with it,” she admits, “but I think at the end of the day I was just really excited to be able to have this opportunity and have fun with it and bring my own performance to it.”

Having attended her first midnight screening at 15 years old, Justice knows that a remake could be a tough sell for the original’s passionate fan base — but she sees a message in both productions that will cross generations.

“I think it’s going to be cool for parents and their kids to be able to talk about it and also just the message of [Rocky Horror], which is basically just embracing who you are,” she says. “You should be able to dress the way you want to dress, be who you want to be as long as you’re being your true authentic self and that’s what’s going to make you the happiest. Who cares what anyone else thinks?”

The Rocky Horror Picture Show premieres Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.