When Mario Lopez walks into a room, you stand, stick out your hand, and try to focus your eyes on him and not his sculpted forearms.
On Monday afternoon, a room full of local journalists did just that when we got the chance to interview the former teen star about his visit to Dallas. That morning, he was the keynote speaker for PepsiCo's Hispanic Heritage Month kickoff event, saying, "I felt good about it, but I hope people didn't have Mario overload."
It would be easy to think that, considering he's entering his seventh season as host of Extra, an entertainment news show on NBC.
The interviews were at the KXAS station, Dallas's NBC affiliate, where the questions ranged from his upcoming memoir (out Sept. 30) to what he doesn't like about Dallas (humidity). But what he does like about Dallas would be the people and the food.
Sunday night, Lopez posted to Instagram, a photo of him eating at an unnamed Dallas restaurant. He told us, while he always likes trying news places, he makes it a point to stop at Al Biernat's on Oak Lawn for its "great food and hospitality."
Coming up on his seventh year of hosting a TV show revolving around celebrities, Lopez told us meeting Tom Cruise, and others, for the first time was something that made him nervous. "First time is always special, right?" he says, with the smallest dimple-infused smirk that could make any lady's ovaries explode.
But as much as we enjoyed hearing -- or looking at -- Lopez talk about Extra and Hispanic Heritage Month, we had to ask, What about that unauthorized Lifetime Saved By The Bell movie? Were you really a cocky 16-year-old womanizer?
Lopez didn't actually see the made-for-TV movie, but assures us it was not accurate. So inaccurate, he dedicated a section to his Saved By The Bell years in his soon-to-be-released memoir, "Just Between Us." It will be about what really went on, or at least his point-of-view. "(The book) is a humorous look back on all the lessons I learned the first 40 years of my life and all the mistakes I've made, and there's been plenty of them," he says. "Just a real candid look, and I'm calling it 'Just Between Us' because it's kind of like a conversation and I share a lot of things I've never talked about before."
OK, OK, but c'mon, Jessie or Kelly?
"Choose one to do what," he asks, like he's never been asked that question before.
You know, which one. Choose one. Like red or white wine, indoors or outdoors, big or small, Jessie or Kelly.
"For my character? Who was he going out with? Jessie, I guess. I love them both as people."
Sigh. Guess that will have to do.
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