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nick zano (interview from 2003)

What do you do when you find out you've been hired to host MTV's hottest new show, Movie House? If you're Nick Zano, you humbly go about your business. "When I first found out I had the job with MTV, I was working at Kenneth Cole. I was on the phone with my manager and, as soon as I found out, I turned around and this woman was asking for a shoe in size eight," jokes MTV's latest VJ. "It was a heavy reality check." At this point, he could use one. He quickly went from sizing people in a shoe store to sizing them up on the big screen. Now he hobnobs with the rich and famous and gets paid for it!

We switched roles with the "actor in disguise" in order to learn more about this hottie who originally hailed from West Palm Beach, FL...

Lindzi.com: How did you first get started?

Nick Zano: I was selling shoes in Florida. I always had the urge to take a crack at [the industry]. One day I loaded the car and went out. It was either New York or LA. I went to each city for four days... I loved LA. When I came out here, the only contacts I had were some friends who had moved out here. I had to set up contact meetings with managers when I visited.

Lindzi.com: What was your immediate goal upon arriving?

Nick Zano: To audition! That's all I wanted to do when I got here. I didn't have a name prior to moving out here or any accomplished body of work. I had to prove myself to everybody I had the opportunity to read for. When I arrived, I started to work at Kenneth Cole on Sunset [Street].

Lindzi.com: What was your first thought when you found out you landed MTV's Movie House?

Nick Zano: It was a long audition process. I always felt good, but I never wanted to assume anything. When I did find out, it was like a dam broke of great feeling.

Lindzi.com: What do you think made you stand out from the others?

Nick Zano: I'm not trying to be anything I'm not. A lot of people, when they audition for MTV, always try to be bigger. They'll be "off the hizzy." They go crazy. I was just real. The MTV audience can smell a fake. That's why everybody on MTV is natural because they're comfortable with who they are. That's the most appealing thing everybody has here.

Lindzi.com: So, you were just being you... who exactly is Nick Zano?

Nick Zano: Nick Zano is... a lonely... {laughs} I'm just a guy chasing a dream. That's it.

Lindzi.com: What has been your most embarrassing moment on the job?

Nick Zano: Thirty-two hours after I stopped selling shoes, I was doing the red carpet special. It was the first show I shot coming here. It was at the Spiderman premiere and I had 12 stand-up's memorized that were being shot in multiple orders. They also wanted me to interview people. I had so much info locked in that -- free thought -- I would lose some of my stand-up's. My worst part was calling Willem DeFoe -- "William" -- and him correcting me on it. On tape, I was like, "Dude, it's my first day." He was really cool, though. The other really cool part was that Kelly Preston kept feeling my bicep. That was exciting.

Lindzi.com: What has been your most memorable moment so far?

Nick Zano: Wrapping the first show, realizing I had a dressing room, and having a trailer at the Movie Awards. I was backstage and I had all my stuff in my hands and it just dropped to the floor when I saw "Nick Zano" on the door. I tilted my head and was staring. I was looking for anybody I knew so that I could show them. Finally, I saw one of the casting directors who helped me get this job and was like, "Danny -- if you need me, I'll be in here" and I started pointing to my name on the door. {laughs}

Lindzi.com: What was it like working on the Movie Awards?

Nick Zano: It was one of the most exciting experiences. I'm a huge, huge Jack Black fan! Prior to rehearsals, I was with MTV vets like John Norris. John Norris knows his stuff and he's so good. I felt really really nervous. My first interview was Jack Black. After I did it, I felt like, "Okay, I can do this." He was a highlight.

Lindzi.com: What were your high school years like?

Nick Zano: High school was awesome! It was the most enjoyable four years of my life. All my boys are still my boys. They're coming out for the Fourth of July. In high school, we had a weekly show -- Wellington Watch. We did interviews and skits and stuff. When I get in front of the camera, I feel that way again. I have a good time and am surprised when I get paid for it.

Lindzi.com: What kind of response have you gotten from the fans?

Nick Zano: In LA, people are too cool to say they know you from TV. I walk around and I don't hear anything. When I did the movie awards, people were screaming, "Nick!" I didn't even look because I didn't assume anything. Then they started screaming, "Movie House!" So, I looked up and couldn't believe people actually knew me. I'm talking to them like, "Wow. You really know the show." Also, Eddie Griffin came up and said, "What's up." He was like... {in a convincing impersonation} "Nick, Love the show. Especially the Undercover Brother episode." It's cool meeting these celebrities that I only know from TV. I'm just a fan.

Lindzi.com: What's your goal with all of this?

Nick Zano: I'm an actor in disguise. I would love to be a film actor. I love comedies. I feel like it's harder to be funny than dramatic. I love it here, though. I hope my stay with MTV is a long one. It's so much fun and so relaxed.

Lindzi.com: How do you think people view you?

Nick Zano: Hopefully good. I just want to be viewed as me being me. Me not trying to impress anybody. Me not trying to reinvent the wheel. Me, a person having a good time, being lucky enough to do something they love.

Lindzi.com: You host a show based around movies -- so I've got to ask... What's your favorite line from a movie?

Nick Zano: My favorite movie that totally altered my view was Goodfellas. "All my life, I always wanted to be a gangster." That line totally whooped me! I thought, "Wow. That must've been so amazing to work on." It made me look into TV and film.

Lindzi.com: Have you had a chance to get to know the other VJ's?

Nick Zano: I'm the only TV personality out [in LA].. When I met everybody at the Movie Awards, they were cool. We all kinda know each other even though we don't. I tripped out when I found out Kurt Loder liked me. He's like Moses at MTV. I was like, "Thank you." I'm a dork.

Lindzi.com: Has he or any other VJ given you advice?

Nick Zano: The one thing everybody keeps repeating is from Chris Connelly. That quote is, "You work in the toy department and everybody wants to work in the toy department."

Lindzi.com: Who would you love to interview?

Nick Zano: Jack Black was huge! He's so interesting. If you look at his eyes, there's so much going on. It's got to be [Joe] Pesci -- I love Pesci and I met him in Vegas once. I never felt so big. He's a little guy and I didn't know it.

Lindzi.com: What's the dating scene like for you?

Nick Zano: I have a girlfriend... a lady friend. I need someone who is extremely funny and comfortable in their own skin. I don't like girls who are afraid to eat. Someone who knows a lot about everything. That impresses me.

Lindzi.com: What drives you insane?

Nick Zano: It takes a lot to drive me insane. People who chew with their mouths open drives me insane.

Lindzi.com: What question hasn't been asked that you'd like to answer?

Nick Zano: How fast I can run!

Lindzi.com: And how fast can you run?

Nick Zano: I don't know! I can run really fast! I'd put my speed up against any MTV personality.

There's no need to, Nick! With his charisma and star presence, our sources say he'll be staying put!

Photos by: Michael Yarish

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