Mario Lopez Shows Off With Rated M
BY Winston Gieseke
January 05 2012 12:05 AM ET
A lot of well-toned actors who begin their career doing shirtless publicity reach a point where they stop doing that, and the excuse is always that they want to be taken seriously. But you — to the delight of your fans — seem to show more and more skin. Has that been a conscious choice?
That’s a good question. I don’t know that it was a conscious thing. I think when I was younger I was associated with sports from the character on Saved by the Bell or from playing Greg Louganis. But then health and fitness became a priority in my life. Being the fitness ambassador for the Boys and Girls Club of America and on the president's council on physical fitness, I definitely want to practice what I preach. And since I’m approaching 40 — which is around the corner, believe it or not [laughs] — I want to show that guys who are about to hit 40 can still keep it together.
You played Greg Louganis back in 1997. And as far as biopics driven by gay characters, that was pretty groundbreaking. Not to mention that the story dealt with domestic violence and HIV. Was there ever any concern that playing this role would affect your career as a teen idol?
I wasn’t concerned. I just looked at it as a great opportunity to show a different side of myself as an actor and kind of break away from that Saturday morning sort of stereotype. Like you said, there were lots of layers to Greg. And I was a big fan. He’s a San Diego guy, and I’m a San Diego guy. I thought it would be an honor to play him.
At what point in your career did you realize it wasn’t just girls who were swooning over you?
[Pauses] I probably realized it in my 20s. Maybe my late teens.
And in your experience, how are gay fans different from straight fans?
Gay fans are very loyal. And very cool. I’m honored to be embraced by the gay community. They’re the smartest and the hippest. They determine what’s hot out there.
How has fatherhood affected the way you approach your work?
It’s made me work that much harder. I’ve always had a strong work ethic and have always been a pretty ambitious guy and a go-getter. Being a father just gives me incentive to grind it out even more. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I’m blessed with a beautiful, healthy little girl. Hopefully there are more to come.
I have to warn you, my last question is super gay ...
Seeing as how you worked with Elizabeth Berkley, I need to know your favorite scene in Showgirls.
Oh, my God, I don’t think I remember it well enough to have a favorite. [Pauses] Probably one of the dancing scenes. Or when she called Versace “Ver-sayce.” [Laughs] Oh, wait — I remember! When she was in the pool and she was having what looked like convulsions! [Laughs]
Good choice. Best of luck with Rated M.
Thanks so much. I’m glad you like it.
See Mario’s underwear line at RatedM.com.