This is how I interview.
By Katrina Rasbold
Anyone who knows me knows that I hate to do interviews. It isn’t that I dislike actors. I love actors. I just admittedly do not have the interview flare like some of my friends do. Then this that over there to the left happened.
We were at the Past Cast event and I was still flying high on my encounters with Jonathan Frakes and Michael Gregory that day.
I remembered the character of Julius, Kate Howard’s best friend on General Hospital, very well, but had never met his real life alter-ego, Gregory Zarian, until that day. That can only be described as a tragic pity.
Gregory Zarian is what we call “the whole package.” He is right there in the moment and gives you – and life – all he’s got to give. The photo you see of Zarian with me above and to the left, which has made its way all around the internet and ended up being an example for “How not to interact with stars” in my book, The Insider’s Guide to the General Hospital Fan Club Weekend, started out to be one of my rare handful of photos of me with an actor.
Because I am all over that event, I rarely get time for my own photos. I usually have one taken with the actor whose line I managed that day and if I can, Blake Gibbons, because he’s my Boo. This year, I was managing Blake’s line, so that was even one less photo. At the Past Cast event, there were a few I really wanted to nab. Gregory was one of them and the others were Michael Cole, Michael Gregory, Julian Stone, and Sam Behrens. I got a whopping four fifths of that list knocked out and considered it to be a win.
When I took my break from working Julian Stone’s line to grab Becca Gomez-Farrell, my beautiful, fearless, intrepid, talented, and very patient-with-me photographer and started flying around the room to collect my photos, I very much underestimated how things would progress. Gregory was my last photo before scurrying back to the warm and loving gaze of Julian Stone. I went to stand by Gregory and the photo quickly turned into a game of “Oh yeah? You’re going to do that? Then I’m going to do this…” We never made it to “checkmate,” mostly because I had to get back to my line and there were a number of other soft, warm, abundant bodies waiting in line to see Gregory. My daughter was in charge of Gregory’s line, which you would think would give me some kind of special line magic, but it was more like, “MOVE THE LINE ALONG, LADY!” Gregory now calls that photo session, “The hug that started a friendship.”
Checkmate? I have since learned that this is how Gregory Zarian lives life. His favorite hashtag is #HellYeah. He engages life to the fullest and keeps his heart open, strong, and fearlessly available. Whether he works with his twin brother, Lawrence, or on his own out in the world’s grandest industry, Zarian gives the project his all and never fails to deliver. One of the things about Zarian that impressed me most was the way that he gave every person in his line his undivided, focused attention. He made them all feel worthwhile, adorable, and very special and important to him.
All of that considered, you have to know that it was a true surprise to me to have the thought slam into my head, “I have GOT to interview this guy.” A few messages later and the deed was scheduled. Below, you find a look into the mind and the life of one of the busiest people I know; a man who does it all. He is a motivational speaker, a cook, a lifestyle consultant, a model for all forms of media, a life coach, host, and an actor (TV, film, and commercial), among other things.
He also gives great interview:
Gregory, thank you for taking the time to give All My Writers this interview. Wow…What a day you had at the General Hospital Past Cast Event! How did you feel about all that attention you received?
Humbled. I am still overwhelmed and touched at how awesome everybody was. What a fun and lively group of women and men!
Your autograph line was very near the line I worked for the day, and from what I saw, it never seemed to let up. A lot of smiling ladies walked away from your table. What is your secret?
Making a personal connection with every person that stood in my line was very important to me. And, of course, a little charm never hurts…along with Listerine breath spray.
You have done so many things in your career. You started on Days of Our Lives, is that correct?
Yes. I played Brent Anderson.
So tell me how you landed the role of Brent on that show.
I was working at Nordstrom and one of the head writers, Thom Racina, asked if I was an actor. I said, “Sure,” thinking nothing of it and 2 months later I was on the show…on my first acting job. In hindsight, I wish I had taken that gift more seriously. I was young and very green. After a few months on the show, Brent walked out of a restaurant and was never written to come back in… ouch.
When Kate Howard emerged on General Hospital, you were a nice bonus. What are your memories of working on that particular show?
I loved everything about it. Megan Ward, who played Kate, is a long-time friend. So, when I walked on set…everything stopped and we just hugged. She introduced me to Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos) and he couldn’t have been nicer. And from that moment on, it was wonderful. They gave me freedom to create “Julius” as this fun and fabulous fashion designer who loved to kiss his Kate and couldn’t keep his hands off of Sonny. [Gregory later told me that he discovered who Julius was through his hands. For him, Julius was all about what his hands were doing.]
So tell me about the baguettes.
My character Julius had a heartfelt scene with Sonny, protecting Kate. In the scene, I say to Sonny, “you think you’re more than just a French baguette…and you’re not.” The fans loved Julius so much and wanted to see more of him so they sent French baguettes to ABC, quoting his line to bring him back. Along with the French bread, there was a national campaign to reunite Julius and Kate. General Hospital has approached me to several times to come back. Unfortunately, as of yet, it has not panned out but I would love nothing more.
Is there a big difference in soap opera taping versus other types of work you have done?
Yes. Soap operas move so fast that your first take is often your last take. With commercials, TV, & film, you get multiple takes until it’s perfect.
The series HEALTHline is such a tremendously prolific project. What subjects did you cover that were the most meaningful to you and why?
Being part of HEALTHline has changed my life. Every subject that we talk about is important to me. The ones that stand out are bullying, cancer, and addiction. I have a deep and personal connection to these three topics. One note about bullying is that is does get better…Trevor Project and It Gets Better Project.
Since you started on Days twenty-something years ago, you have accomplished what is nearly impossible in this industry. You have remained consistently employed. To what do you feel you can attribute this ongoing success?
Three important words: Thank you and please.
One of the projects for which you are probably best known is working as a lifestyle expert on The Rachel Ray Show. What would you say is the biggest lifestyle challenge men and women face today?
Letting go of the past, being fearlessly honest and present and realizing feelings aren’t facts. Bottom line: stay out of your head. It’s not a safe place…ha!
Some of your fans will probably be surprised to know about your other career as a motivational speaker. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Over 14 years ago, I was at the right place at the right time. A modeling job I had with Ford Models in Arizona led me to a 10 year stint with 25 trips a year, traveling all over the county, talking to aspiring models and actors regarding fear. The company’s name was Proscout and to this day, it’s some of the most fulfilling work I’ve done. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing someone shift with the blink of an eye from something I’ve said or coached them through. My work as a motivational speaker/ life coach has also led to some really great tv work such as MTV’s Bromance, VH1’s I Want to Work for Diddy 2 and, most notably, as a recurring lifestyle expert on Rachael Ray with my twin brother, Lawrence, the Fashion Guy. There is nothing more fulfilling than transforming someone’s life from the inside out.
Did I actually see you cooking with Lisa Vanderpump?
Me and my magical and sexy breakfast burrito? Absolutely. You don’t believe me? Take a look.
You are a familiar face to a vast number of people from the print work you do. What are some of the many products you have represented?
Disney, Men’s Wearhouse, Coke, Pizza Hut, Microsoft, Purina, American Express and Super Cuts…to name a few. Most recently, I have been contracted to be the new face of Margaritaville Menswear.
You starred in the very moving and intense feature film Reconciliation with Eric Nenninger, Jack Maxwell, and Chelsey Crisp.
Reconciliation tackled some really tough emotional issues and won a number of awards. Your role in particular was almost painful to watch. Was it a difficult emotional experience for you to go to the places where portraying Patrick took you?
Yes. It’s a true story and one that is very real and personal for me, as it relates to so many people in my life. It is more than just a story about sexual preference and God. It is about love and forgiveness. This movie has changed lives, including my own. As an actor, I feel that it is some of the best work I’ve done. Just talking about it makes me teary…Dang it, Katrina. Tissue break.
Speaking of your feature film work, I understand you have two new projects underway. Can you talk to us about those?
I co-star in the feature film Hot Guys With Guns with fellow General Hospital star, Marc Samuels (Felix) which is currently a festival darling. Variety.com’s review is already insisting on a sequel. Yay us! The same director/writer, Doug Spearman, just cast me in the upcoming feature film Welcome, Sinners. We film in LA, NYC, and Philly this fall and it’s a role unlike anything I’ve ever played. Very excited!
Any other fun places we can find you?
Yes! I recently became a part of the gaming world with the one and only Felicia Day. I had a blast shooting Ignite the Spark for Magic the Gathering. Take a look!
Gregory, thank you so much for sharing your time and your insight with us. It has been a pleasure to interview you.
Zarian brought his own camera to the General Hospital Fan Club Weekend Past Cast Event and had photos taken with actors and fans for his own collection. Here are some he wanted to share:
For more fun updates, find Gregory on the web at:
His official website: http://www.GregoryZarian.com
His Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/gregoryzarianfanpage
His Twitter account: https://twitter.com/@gregoryzarian
His Speedreel: https://www.speedreels.com/talent/gzarian/gzarian.php#