Q&A: Antonio Sabato Jr.
Antonio Sabato Jr. can charm the pants right off of you … but it’ll be his clothes that come off, as he takes on the role of guest host for Chippendales The Show at Rio. The Calvin Klein model, actor and dancer (he competed on Dancing With the Stars) gets ready to don the famous bow ties and cuffs for a five-week run that ends June 5. Las Vegas Magazine’s Kiko Miyasato sat down and chatted with Sabato Jr.—or, as he joked, “call me Magic Tony”—ahead of his extended run in the show.
What was your reaction when you got the call to guest star in Chippendales The Show?
I got a call from them actually over a year ago, but I was working and on the road with a TV show and just finished doing Dancing With the Stars, so I couldn’t do it at that time. But, now that I’m free, I was like, “Yes, of course.” I think there’s a part of me that just wants to have a great time, a ball, just make those women crazy. I’m 44 years old and when you’re asked to come and do a show like this—it’s a compliment, a huge compliment. I talked to my wife and she said, “Let’s do it, let’s have a great time, let’s make this the best.”
Can you reveal what you’ll be doing in the show?
I’ll be doing several numbers. I’m going to be hosting and emceeing at times. Take some stuff off. Give the audience some pieces of my tank top. And there’s a possibility I might come back and do it again in August. So, this time, now, I’m gonna do a really good run and really be part of the show. There’s about 15 or so numbers and I’m gonna be in about six or seven of them. I’m going to be a part of the show from the beginning, middle and end. But I think I’m going to enjoy it so much that I want to come back in August and actually have my own number. I told (the cast) about it and they’re into it.
What’s more nerve-wracking: this show or seeing your 90-foot Calvin Klein billboard in Times Square in the ’90s?
I think this one, because of the excitement that builds up. This is a good thrill. The billboard was overwhelming to say the least, but Chippendales, you’re right in the audiences’ faces, doing your thing. It’s so close; you’re breaking every type of wall, every protection.
Do you have any tricks that you’ve used throughout your career that settles your nerves or gets you in the zone?
(Here) I got together with the group of guys, the cast, and sat down and talked about everything, the show. The Chippendales cast—these guys are awesome. These guys are very ... man, they work, and two different shows some of them are doing. (Some) work all day and all night. They’re part of Vegas; they know the drill; they’re nonstop. I’m happy to be around these guys, man, they’re pros.
You’ve heard the words “sex symbol” throughout your career—and probably now more than ever being a part of Chippendales. What do those words mean to you?
Makes me feel good. It’s a huge compliment. Even from the ’90s, 2000s to now—there’s always been that term “sex symbol.” I take it with pride, I guess, and I say. yes. What other ways can I take it? I take it for what it is. That I can still be called a sex symbol in my 40s—that’s a good thing! I tend to stay on the positive side of things no matter what. I choose the positive.
What do you want to tell the ladies about being a cast member of Chippendales now? What’s your message?
“Doors are open, baby!” Seriously, I can’t wait. You know, I’m psyched. I never knew I was going to do Dancing With the Stars, and I did it. And now, Chippendales. I’m so fortunate that I get asked, and offered jobs. But you never know what you’re going to do. There’s only a small group of guys that are associated with Chippendales. And there’s even less celebrity hosts over so many years. So this is a good thing. Not many can say they were a Chippendale!