Dave Salmoni: Dominant Male

The Into the Pride host may tame and shower with Africa's fiercest lions, but gay men can't keep their paws off him.

BY Brandon Voss

August 14 2009 12:00 AM ET

DAVE SALMONI 02 X390 (COURTESY) | ADVOCATE.COM

How'd you cope without a gym for six months?
My trainer taught me long ago how to apply my workouts in the bush. I used water cans as weights and tree branches for chin-ups. And I did lots of push-ups, sit-ups, and squats.

I see you've shaved your leonine beard since leaving the bush.
Yeah, the network wasn't too impressed with it. Halfway through the show, you'll notice that it takes a taming too. By episode 4, I remember getting a phone call from the network, like, "Dave, you know that whole idea where you weren't going to shave or cut your hair? We need to trim that thing."

You've posed for your share of beefcake photos in the last few years. How do you feel about so much attention being placed on your looks?
I was very bashful about it when it started because I definitely grew up in the background; I was never the good-looking guy in the group. When people talked about it at first, I didn't know how to respond to it. Now, if people are going to talk about me in that way, I think it's awesome and superflattering — and hey, maybe I'll get a date out of it.

What do you think about Animal Planet's "Salmoni Showers with Lions" promotional video on YouTube?
Very embarrassing. The first thing I thought when I saw it was, Yeah, I'm going to get teased a lot. And it's true. I'll sit on Twitter and a bunch of people will be like, "I love it." Then others will be laughing, like, "Come on!" My younger sister teases the heck out of me.

I actually first discovered you when Towleroad.com posted your shower video earlier this week. How conscious are you of your gay fan base?
I'm really conscious of it, and I think it's awesome. They've been a really vocal group over the years. I feel like my gay fans are the most appreciative. I get lots of e-mails from them, and they're not shy. A young girl may say, "Hey, I really like you, you're kinda cute," whereas a gay guy will be like, "Hey, take your shirt off more and you'll get better ratings."

Do you have any gay friends in your pride?
I have a fair number because my mother's a figure skating coach and there's a strong gay community there. I definitely grew up with lots of gay friends. Toronto, where I live, is a pretty open city, so my friends are a pretty healthy mix of gay and straight.

Tags: television

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