Thursday, June 6, 2013 | 3:38 p.m.
TV heartthrob Ian Ziering becomes a bare-chested hunk tonight with his premiere hosting the hot adult male revue Chippendales at The Rio. Shirtless Steve Sanders of “Beverly Hills, 90210” has even dropped 25 pounds to be in top physical shape for the monthlong-hosting gig.
“I’m ready to go,” Ian told me. “I’m chomping at the bit. I’m tanned from head to toe, and it looks like I’ve been in The Bahamas. I can’t wait to get out there. This is going to be a lot of fun.”
Ian, who follows in the collar and cuffs of other guest celebrity hosts, and I are longtime friends from his days on the first run of “Melrose Place.” We caught up again Wednesday on a break from final rehearsals.
You’ve managed to combine a rigorous fitness regime for this at the same time as becoming a daddy for the second time?
“I’m in fighting shape, now about 180 pounds, so it’s down about 25 pounds. But there’s been a big swing from about 23 percent body fat down to 15 to 16 percent. I’m proud of that accomplishment but prouder of new daughter Pena born on April 25, two years exactly to the day that my first daughter, Mia, was born. So I’ve got two girls born on April 25. The July of each year before was a great month for me!”
Have you looked at yourself in the mirror stripped down to your waist?
“We did today. I got a good look at what was going on. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t blotchy, and, you know, it was a nice transition from where I was three months ago to where I am today. And, really, it’s a testament to the foundation of accountability and doing what you set out to do and committing to whatever it takes to be successful. And that’s what I did. I mean I eat right, I was restricting calories, I was eating the right kind of food, and I was working out twice a day. It became part of my job.”
You are now 49, so how do you describe yourself, your shape and your fitness as you close in on the half-century mark?
“I think my perspective on my age is really irrelevant. I’m at the point where I’ve been so immersed in health and fitness my whole life, and then with what I’ve been doing over the past three months, I’m kinda feeling that the aging process, though we all will get old, the aging process is an optional experience.
“At this age, I actually feel better physically than I did when I was in my 30s. I feel sober and clearer from the experience that I’ve had all these years that I’ve lived. I just feel more well rounded and physically I feel like I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been.”
As you’ve worked out for this run of Chippendales shows, no regrets about signing on for it, right? Exactly the opposite?
“Exactly the opposite; I have no regrets whatsoever about this. You know, this is a job, and as an actor I look at this as another role. I approached it with the same level of intensity and professionalism that I like to bring to every other role that I’ve had in the past.
“However, with this Chippendales opportunity, the double bonus is that I got to focus on myself and my physique, and the level of health and wellness that I’m experiencing is causing this huge boom in just how much I feel like I’m thriving right now. The double bonus is that it’s coming at a time where I just had a baby; my life is in full bloom. I feel very blessed right now.”
And what does your wife, Erin, say about this new physique that’s going to drive the girls wild at Chippendales?
“She loves it! She sent me a picture the other day that was so salacious. It really just validates what I see when I go to this Chippendales show. How women respond to the male physique when it is in peak form. When it’s not, there’s not that level of sexual interest, but when these women see guys that are in great shape, they go out of their minds!
“And that’s why guys come see the show, just to let them see how women react to seeing men with these kind of physiques, and it will encourage them, inspire them to maybe do something different for themselves.
“It’s a sexy, sensual show, and the girls do go wild. It’s not a salacious, scandalous, back-alley production. The theater is $10 million. More people than not have seen me on television in swim shorts, so I don’t have any problem stripping down. We had shirtlessness on ‘90210,’ so I take all this with a grain of salt. With this new look, I have nothing to be ashamed of, and I can now stand quite tall with the other guys in the cast. They are great physical specimens.
“I’m doing what every guy in America has secretly fantasized — being a Chippendales dancer and having women throw themselves at you.”
Ian’s run at The Rio is tonight through June 30 — Thursdays through Sundays. “I’m going to remember this experience forever,” he summed up.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Carnival lasts all year at the Rio. With a float occasionally passing overhead and dropping beads while feathered dancers fire up the gamblers below, the Rio tries to keep its 120,000-square foot casino jumping with excitement. Special Brazilian mixed-drinks are also served throughout the casino. The hotel suites tend to be larger than similar priced rooms on the Strip and many offer excellent views with floor to ceiling windows.
The Rio offers some quality shows like "Penn & Teller" and "Chippendales." Many come to the Rio for the nightlife at the VooDoo Lounge, located on the 51st floor, or McFadden's Irish Pub on the casino level.
Others come for a bit relaxation at the Rio Spa or pool area and still others come to shop at the hotel's 60,000 square feet of shops. In each of these endeavors, the Rio attempts to make the experience a bit more fun and spontaneous.
The Rio also offers guests a variety of dining choices from all-American food at the All-American Bar & Grille to Gaylord India Restaurant for something a little spicier and even Carnival World Buffet for the indecisive.