It’s been a busy year for actor Gilles Marini, who has juggled several creative projects including his regular role as suave but sometimes shady Angelo Sorrento on ABC Family’s hit series “Switched at Birth," filming two movies “The List” and “The Last Rescue,” appearing in the “Kirstie” pilot and a recent recurring role on “2 Broke Girls.” There’s simply no better way to get in the Christmas spirit than to tune into the upcoming holiday with the always charming and ever-gracious husband, father, philanthropist and star. Gilles took time on Dec. 4 for the following Examiner exclusive Q & A to discuss his sizzling inclusion in this year’s “People” Sexiest Man Alive issue and share some traditions he and his family are looking forward to this Christmas.
E: It’s been a busy year for you! Can you believe it’s almost Christmas time again? I have to start out by congratulating you on your “People” Sexiest Man Alive centerfold. As you probably know, a lot of your fans are pulling for you to be on the cover. How do you define “sexy?"
GM: How do I describe sexy? Well let me give you a couple of words or examples about what I think sexy should be and not be. The washboard abs, the looks etc., gets boring fast. What is really sexy, I believe, in the eye of a woman as soon as we get past looks is personality. Yes, it may sound a bit cliché, but if you have plenty of conversation as a couple, if you are kind and funny --all those things are sexy in a man or a woman, I think. Make sure guys to look good and smell good. I don't know, maybe learn how to dance. I think that it is also very sexy to have rhythm. And, just love with your heart. That is truly the sexiest thing a woman can dream to have in a relationship. Anyway, what do I know?
E: Lots of people would agree you know plenty about being sexy! Speaking of the SMA photo, Miss Penelope is just so sweet and sassy! What will Santa bring her and Mila this year? Or, have they been naughty?
GM: They've been plenty naughty for sure. Yes, they will get special treatments like always. It's Miss Penelope’s first Christmas so Mila will be jealous about the special attention. We usually get them little toys and stuff.
E: The kids must be getting excited for Christmas! What Marini family holiday tradition are you most looking forward to?
GM: We go full on with Christmas. The adults wait for midnight after the dinner to get the gifts. The kids, well I guess now only Juliana goes to bed and will wake up with lots of cool stuff. Santa is very, very real for her. My son, soon to be 15, is playing the game really well. I love him to death. He's such a good brother. We love the 25th brunch with the family. It’s very important to remind ourselves how blessed we are to just be living under a roof. It's a special time for us. A very special time.
E: You were hilarious as hunky Chef Nicolas on “2 Broke Girls.” What a perfect part – since you really are a Master Baker (Ha!) What are some of your Christmas dinner menu favorites?
GM: My mom always makes shrimp scampi and a huge lamb roast with oysters and La Buche de Noel. Every year since I can remember, she does that. Money or not, she always found the way. And yes, that is funny because on the set of “2 Broke Girls” I actually help out with the pastry for real. Next week is about bread and I always was a specialist on rounding the dough (laughs). Lots of funny jokes coming your way!
E: If you could transport yourself into any classic Christmas film, what fictional Christmas movie world would you want to live in and what character would you most want to play?
GM: Well, my daughter always wanted to have a world made entirely of candies, like, everything. So I guess I'll be playing the "Old Merlin of Candies” in that world, hiding from her that I am actually her dad. She would need to start from the bottom and work her way her to become the Candyland Princess or something like that! (laughs)
E: What is the worst or funniest Christmas gift you've ever received?
GM: The worst I can't say because someone will know who he is! (laughing) The funniest is my dear friend Aury Reyes bought me a tee shirt saying "They Stole My Vespa." Actually, it was a kind of scary story when we got robbed at gunpoint for that Vespa. It’s sad that my wife saved a year of cutting hair to buy it for me to be able to go around L.A. to get to my castings on time. Guess what? It worked! I went to “Sex and the City” casting with that Vespa! Thanks Carole! Anyway, I still have the shirt and wear it sometimes.
E: Christmas is the season of giving and you are so well known for your generosity. You've really reached out this year. You joined the search for the missing man in Bora Bora. You designed a t-shirt for Breast Cancer and went on a motorcycle ride for AIDS research. These are just a few of the many charitable things you did in 2013. Why is it important to you to help and give to others so passionately and tirelessly?
GM: Well, like I said before, I would feel very freaking empty if I was not doing those things for others. The most incredible thing to do is doing sometthing for someone without asking anything in return. One of my best friends is Cheick Kongo and this man does things that no one sees. No media, no BS. He buys food and gives so much to the homeless and people in need that he crosses path with in the poor streets of Los Angeles and other places in the world. I know he would be unhappy that I said it, but it's time for him and the world to understand how good of a man Cheick is!
E: Thanks so much, Gilles, for your time and for joining me for another holiday interview. I’m sure all of your loyal supporters share my wish for a safe, healthy and happy holiday for you, Carole and the kids. Do you have a special Christmas wish or message you’d like to send out to your fans this year?
GM: I want to say to all of you guys that I truly appreciate your support and your love and kindness toward my family and I. I wish for you all to have a wonderful holiday season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Be safe and enjoy the family! Love to you all!
Watch Gilles Marini on “Switched at Birth” which returns on Jan. 13 on ABC Family.