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Straight Talk With Adamo Ruggiero

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21-year old Adamo Ruggiero first became a gay icon at age 16. Too bad the Degrassi: The Next Generation actor hadn’t yet come to terms with his own homosexuality. In fact, it wouldn’t be until this year that Ruggiero – who has a long history of extracurricular activism – would come out to the public.

The part-time film student and full-time artist recently gabbed with our editor about the pros and cons of playing Marco Del Rossi, why Canadians don’t care about celebrity and how his acting experience gave him a new view of the U.S.

Andrew Belonsky: Hi, are you?

Adamo Ruggiero: Hi, Andrew. How are you?

AB: I’m very well. So, what are you up to today?

AR: Oh, me? Oh, nothing, just paperwork. Organizing my life.

AB: You’ve always gotten a fair amount of attention in Canada, I’m sure, but I imagine you’re getting much more attention now that you’ve done the Fab magazine interview. What are things like for you these days?

AR: Oh, well, it’s been very exciting. It’s been a pretty exciting ride. I didn’t really know what to expect, if people would care. It was really for the kids watching the show. But I didn’t know what to expect. I mean, everyone’s giving me the opportunity to share my stories in all different mediums, on radio, on television – all this support shows everyone how important the cause is.

AB: You’re 21-years old, correct?

AR: Yes.

AB: So this is a lot of pressure for you. Do you ever – I mean, you now essentially have to watch every step you take.

AR: Yes.

AB: But maybe it’s not the same because you’re in Canada and there’s less paparazzi up there.

AR: There are no paparazzi up here. This whole thing with Degrassi, the actors on the show, there’s really no celebrity system. We were just regular kids working on this show and were always ambassadors to the issues we were presenting as characters. Taking on the gay role developed me into a role model. There’s always been that responsibility on me and at times it has been overwhelming, but at this point right now – coming out and opening up -I feel more in control of it. I’m actually more confident now. I have nothing more to hide. It’s a lot easier.

AB: Why do you think Canada isn’t as enamored with celebrity as we are here in the States?

AR: Well, I feel like, I can only talk about Toronto, but I think the thing with Toronto – we’re a family company, we’re all working on the same projects. Our industry’s so close and there’s really no rivalry between people – we’re all friends, we’re all buddies. There’s no celebrity to it. I mean, we have our own little concept of celebrity: Toronto personalities and things like that, but they’re always attainable. You see them on the street, “Oh, the Degrassi kids”. Everyone’s just really normal and down to earth and that’s just the culture, because it’s a lot smaller. There’s a whole construct of American celebrity and we are definitely established on television abroad, so a lot of our “celebrity” is projected.

AB: How did you approach your mother? I understand you did it in your bedroom, like Marco, but can you tell us how this went down?

AR: My mom’s a gem, fantastic – she’s very accepting. She’s not clueless and she was not clueless at all. I think the time came when – I was seeing someone at the time – this was about three years ago, I was a kid. I was seeing someone and my mom asked me where I was going and I opened up to her and I was like, “Mom, I’m seeing this person” and it was a guy, of course, and she didn’t seem taken aback at all. It was almost as if she was waiting for confirmation. As soon as I came out, she was like, “Okay, now let’s talk about your father”. It was like she was waiting for me to come out and we could do it together. It was quite a scene.

AB: You’ve described your father as “an intellectual,” so I’m assuming he took it well.

AR: Yeah, I mean, my father was born in Italy and came here and he’s from a different generation, from different times, but he’s the sweetest, most gentle man and is so compassionate. I know he supported my mom’s business and me being an artist and my brother’s a soccer player and traveled the world. He’s such a supportive guy, but I had to be as realistic as possible and know that despite how gentle and understanding he is, it was going to be hard for him to grasp. It was going to be a learning experience for the family, especially for him. So, I stuck with him and hung out with my dad and got really close. He was so ready to learn.

By:           Andrew Belonksy
On:           Feb 15, 2008
Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

  • 23 Comments
    • DW
      DW

      I grew up watching Marco on Degrassi. He helped me come out to my friends. (Aided by the fact that my best friends and I would get together and watch Degrassi every Friday night and they were equally immersed in his character’s story as I was.) I wish others before me had characters like him to relate to as I did.

      In terms of his comments about the US: I would actually miss the political fervor if I were to ever move away from America. But, something about seeing the little rainbow flag stickers on churches in Toronto still linger in my mind. I’ve travelled all around this country and never seen a church bold enough to do such a thing.

      Feb 16, 2008 at 12:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ryan
      Ryan

      While I haven’t even heard of Degrassi, he sounds like a nice guy and is cute to boot… so I wish him well! I totally don’t get the celebrity thing too. I wish I could ask people “why do you give a damn?” when they hear the latest Britney gossip or something, but I guess I do understand it, even if it doesn’t do anything for me. Thank god I’m a political junkie instead of a celeb gossip one.

      Feb 16, 2008 at 1:13 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SeaFlood
      SeaFlood

      Um, it DOES play on an American station. I can’t remember which one (and maybe it’s just in Seattle…) because it plays re-runs and I have seen most of those thousands of times.

      I think it’s funny that he’s just now coming out — like many of his fans, I thought he was already out. It was so obvious that the character was drawn with him in mind — everything about him seemingly — that he was not out strikes me as odd, but it goes along with “Marco” too. In fact, there was an episode about it where he encourages another kid at Degrassi to come out. The kid is kicked out and ends up on Marco’s doorstep. Then he comes to find out Marco isn’t out himself.

      Brutal.

      I don’t share his awe of American politics. I believe people approach it with the fervor of the Superbowl without realizing we aren’t talking about teams or sides but trying to find candidates that are best for our country… not our country’s image, not in keeping with our ideas of who “should” be a president…

      My best friend lives in Toronto… I hope to have a love affair with it, too!

      Feb 16, 2008 at 5:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M Shane
      M Shane

      He seems to be about as healthy as sa gay kid could be. Shows what just being out of the U.S can do. Think how pathetic effeminate or not gay upbringing is here.

      He is understandably naive about Amewrican culture: e.g. that the paparazzi and public interest in stars is mostly one among a dozen things that empty people keep distracted by. God forbid with all that obscene attebntion that you be gay.
      Alsio he’s sweetly naive about the American electorate: the only reason peole are concerned now is that the country is swiftly sliding down the drain, and everyone is upset that this is the end.
      Usually the only thing that can jar that kind of interest is a football game.

      BTW Gorgeous eyes! Good interview, Andrew,
      You really got to some substantive matter in a short time.

      Feb 16, 2008 at 12:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ballababyy
      ballababyy

      omg! i was sooo disappointed when i found out marco was gay…i had had a HUGE crush on him for like–EVER! so yeah…well at least now i know it’s not gonna happen but i am glad that he did it. we (as dedicated and obsessed DTNG fans) have a right to know lol
      dw i still love you adamo btw love your name props to your mama for naming you…<3 she did a good job…lmao i just like <3 your name

      May 23, 2008 at 4:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • denymelove
      denymelove

      Adamo is it possible for you to reach me we meet in Montreal-Quebec at the next star,,contest,,you called me rock n roll dad…for some reason you stolen my heart and i just wanted you to know that i never had feelings like this before,for a man.and now i feel lost.it hurts to be without love…were so alike in so many ways,just want to be loved and hug.. i am 5″6..135lbs..in great shape..well you saw me and i saw you..my email address::::dokisde@worldline.ca…….bye chat with you later ,,,denys loving you in Montreal,Quebec…

      Jun 3, 2008 at 1:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • madeline
      madeline

      i love the show degrassi,Marcos a great character.Im glad he came out to his parents and im glad it worked out.=)anyway i love the show and i would have to say u are my favorite character.

      *madeline*

      Jul 16, 2008 at 11:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Anais
      Anais

      It’s awesome he came out, I’mnot surprised, but i guess that’s because i’m used to seeing him as marco.

      he rocks lol, plain and simple.

      Oct 6, 2008 at 2:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gaybrit19
      Gaybrit19

      Adamo i swear you are so fricken Bloody Hott! I love watching degrassi when ur on it…

      Oct 12, 2008 at 8:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Troy
      Troy

      Yes it shows on noggin in america for the past 10 or 12 years. Also on 98 in michigan. his website is http://www.the-n.com

      Nov 13, 2008 at 8:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sun_shine_bear
      sun_shine_bear

      i love you adamo! you’re a great actor I love you as marco!! i watch degrassi all the time and the best episodes have you in them!

      Nov 30, 2008 at 1:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • manda
      manda

      man…. You are so fuckin sexy and I love u so much LOL ur such a good actor and wish u well oh n I so wish u were not gay LOL cuz I would so hook up with you LOL but totally support gay rights !!! And degrassi comes on the n and is on alot!!! And love tha show so much and I love just loooking at u on it LOL real talk hun!!!!???? Luv ya lots peace!?!? —manda

      Dec 28, 2008 at 1:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Opal
      Opal

      Wow, hearing what he said about Canada, compared to the US… I don’t need any more reason, I definitely want to move to Canada. Things seem so calm and friendly there.

      I also wanted to say that you’re adorable, and very photogenic Adamo Ruggiero! Lol, I can’t even take pictures of myself because I hate the way I look in them. Keep doing what you love Adamo!

      Jan 9, 2009 at 3:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Future top chef
      Future top chef

      OK! I recently started watching degrassi and i was always really confused about how i should deal with my sexuality because im a muslim but watching Adamo like helped me out emensliy. If Adamo is reading this i want you to know you are like my biggest hero because i was like soooo lost before i saw you on degrassi.

      Feb 20, 2009 at 11:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob Yanashusky
      Bob Yanashusky

      Hey Adamo,

      I love to watch you on the show.

      It is much better when you are on.

      I would love to keep in touch with you but

      I will leave that up to you. Please reply

      back if you can man.

      Bob

      Feb 23, 2009 at 12:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Renee
      Renee

      Hey, What’s up I watch Deggrassi every Friday and i love the show. U know if u are really gay I don’t care and people should understand that. But if your not your a cool person.

      Thanks,
      Renee
      email me rmiller100@live.com

      May 11, 2009 at 10:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Abraham
      Abraham

      Adamo! I first have to say that you are my biggest role model and that I love you on the show. I am still waiting to “come out”. I completely admire you and am trying to get into acting myself. Love You!!!!!! Abraham

      Jul 8, 2009 at 1:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DONNA
      DONNA

      DEAR ADAMO I LOVE YOU SO MUCH ON THE SHOW ANY OFF I AM FINE AT YOY ARE GAY I STILL LOVE YOU I LOVE THE SHOW I ALSO LOVE THE THEME SONG DO YOU KEEP IN TOUCH WITH THE CAST I KNOW YOU LIVE WITH STACEY AND LAUREN I ALSO LIKE STACEY I LIKE ALL OF THE CAST
      I WOULD LOVE TO BUY THE DVD`S OF THE SHOW I THINK THAT YOU ARE CUTE AND VERY NICE SWEET PERSON GOD BLESS YOU ALL BY NUMBER ONE FAN OF DEGRASSI THE NEXT GENERATION AND DEGRASSI JR HIGH I LOVE THEM ALL BY DONNA(XXXX-0000)

      Jul 15, 2009 at 12:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Christian
      Christian

      OMG ADAMO I FRICKEN LOVE U UR SO AWESOME IM A FAN OF URS UR SO CUTE AND UR GAY WHICH I THINK IS AWESOEM CUZ IM BI AND ITS ALWAYS KEWL WHEN GAY PPLZ COME OUT

      Jul 20, 2009 at 10:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Emmitte Hill
      Emmitte Hill

      I need u ask y a question?

      Jul 27, 2009 at 7:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ash
      Ash

      Adamo is one of the best actors that ever is/was.

      Aug 26, 2009 at 1:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DEVANTE
      DEVANTE

      HI ADAMO, HOW ARE YOU

      Nov 27, 2009 at 4:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • norman geddis
      norman geddis

      Hey how is it going I am bi but I don’t know how to tell them any advise

      Dec 30, 2011 at 3:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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