How many times do we make the mistake of judging a book by its cover? How many times do we make assessments and draw incorrect conclusions about people simply because of the way they look, the way they talk, what they do for a living, yada yada yada?
Such is the case with Gilles Marini.
In case you don’t recognize the name, he’s the guy in the 2008 “Sex and the City,” movie. The guy with the gorgeous face, the fabulous washboard abs, and the oh-so-naked tush. The movie created quite a bit of buzz for Gilles, who plays Dante, the Casanova who lives next door to Samantha, (played by Kim Cattrall) who is voyeuristically delighted by his sexual prowess. Ooh là là!
That exposure, shall we say, got Gilles an invitation to compete on Season 8 of “Dancing with the Stars” in March 2009. For 11 weeks we were dazzled by the professional polish of his dance routines that earned him high marks, including perfect scores for an elegant waltz, two tantalizing Argentine Tangos, a spicy hot Salsa, and a shirtless Paso Doble. Gilles was able to achieve that despite the fact that he pulled a muscle in his groin and separated his shoulder and couldn’t lift his arm without considerable pain. But for Gilles the show must go on. He spent weeks suffering through grueling, exhausting rehearsals and nerve-wracking performances and only had the surgery when the show was over.
LIFE LESSON: When you want something bad enough be willing to do the extraordinary in order to succeed.
Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”
– Lance Armstrong
If you watch this video you’ll see why millions of fans thought Gilles deserved to win instead of coming in second to Olympic Gold Medal Gymnast, Shawn Johnson.
DWTS opened the door even wider for Gilles and his acting career when he was offered a recurring role on one of my favorite shows, the hit ABC drama, “Brothers & Sisters,” where he plays French artist and smoldering lover, Luc Laurent.
Okay, now that we’ve established that Gilles Marini is that sexy guy, what else do people really know about him? Probably not too much, which is why I headed over to the Palazzo Hotel to interview him while he was in Las Vegas during the 2010 Memorial Day weekend for the launch of Moët & Chandon’s Ice Impérial, the company’s first and only vintage ice champagne.
I went up to the suite and was greeted by the warm and friendly Frenchman with a heavy accent who had danced so beautifully on TV. I was impressed to learn that when Gilles came to this country he didn’t speak a word of English. How do people make such a huge transition in their lives and go to another country without knowing anyone or speaking the language? That takes such courage.
LIFE LESSON: Don’t limit yourself. There are so many opportunities if you are just willing to grab hold and go for it.
During the interview, Gilles talked with such intensity about growing up in the Côte d’Azur, the coastline of the southeast corner of France known as the French Riviera. (Erase any images you may have of a young boy enjoying the good life.)
“Life was hard,” he told me. “I grew up at a time when drugs and violence were prevalent.” I don’t want to give away too much of the interview, but I will say that Gilles’ childhood and his relationship with his father had a profound effect in shaping the man he is today.
Gilles also spoke about his love and adoration for his wife Carole, their son Georges and their daughter, Juliana.
“You answers are so heartfelt and eloquent,” I told him.
“Eloquent? It’s the first time I hear that word. Does it mean ‘makes sense?'”
“No, it means that you express yourself beautifully, with such emotion,” I told him.
“I’ve never had these questions. It’s been great. And I learned a new word. I will use it in another interview and you will say, ‘I taught him that.’”
We continued talking until Gilles had to leave to get a massage. I still had a few more questions, so he suggested that I go down to the pool and hang out in his private cabana. “When I’m finished we’ll have lunch and continue the interview,” he said.
So that’s what I did. I went down to the AZURE Luxury Pool at the Palazzo, where all the young, hot bodies hang out. While I waited in his cabana, I thought about how someone as tall, dark and handsome as Gilles Marini was never my type. I’m sure if it was my insecurities and feelings of inadequacies that caused me to think gorgeous men can’t be trusted or that they are egotistical and shallow.
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.”
– Wayne Dyer
That saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” came back to bite me. Gilles definitely didn’t fit the playboy stereotype. In fact the exact opposite is true. He is a sexy man who is not only smart, but serious, sensitive, and devoted to his family.
LIFE LESSON: Before you make any kind of judgment and stick labels on anyone or anything, take the time to educate yourself and get all the facts.
Read my full interview with Gilles for Luxury Las Vegas magazine, Up Close and Personal with Gilles Marini. I’m sure you’ll find that though his book jacket is gorgeous, what’s inside is even better.