Brawn, brain – and heart

It’s no surprise that an interview with Giovanni Roselli ends with him handing you more than one business card.

After all, the Westchester-raised Fairfield County resident spends most days juggling a handful of careers with impressive precision.

Getting together to chat is an exercise in coordination, though the end result is never in question. As Roselli assures, “I will make it happen!”

And he certainly does, meeting with WAG on a summer morning at Equinox in Greenwich, where he’s carved out a slot from 9:45 a.m. until he has to catch the 11:12 train to Manhattan — for business, of course.

It’s all about the commitment, discipline and dedication Roselli brings to every aspect of his life.

He is a personal trainer, having started with Equinox in Scarsdale nearly a decade ago. He now serves as not only a coach in the elite Tier 4 training program in Greenwich but also as an educator for the company on the national level.

Roselli is also a fitness expert and model, involved in projects with Nike, writing a column for an online resource for professional trainers and serving as the model for the packaging of a product called Maxi Climber.

But if his face is already familiar, it could be from Roselli’s other careers.

For those who follow, he’s a longtime professional wrestler with World Wrestling Entertainment and then independent circuits, whose credits include the 2006 defeat of Vampiro in Palermo, Italy, to capture the Nu-Wrestling Evolution heavyweight title.

And he’s also an actor who’s worked with Academy Award-nominated Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler” and Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in “Baby Mama,” starred as Tony in 2014’s “Jersey Shore Massacre,” appeared on the “Batman”-inspired show “Gotham” and, most recently, had a memorable turn in the premiere of Showtime’s wry new Steve Coogan comedy, “HAPPYish.”


Not bad for the guy who calls himself  “a skinny kid who wasn’t known for being athletic.” Roselli would graduate from Harrison High School and Sacred Heart University, where studies included sports management and business.

“Many people peak in college, and I was just getting started in college,” he says.

Post-college, the longtime wrestling fan found himself living in Kentucky as part of the WWE minor-league system.

“I got called up to the RAW roster,” he says of the marquee division.

And, basically, he never looked back.

“My first match on live TV was at Madison Square Garden,” he says, smiling at the memory of meeting longtime idol Hulk Hogan backstage.

“You talk about full circle… That’s when I knew you could achieve anything in life.”

It has been a career that brought Roselli around the world.

WAG asks what name or character he wrestled under?

“You’re going to find this hard to believe that I was called Romeo,” he says, breaking into a dazzler of a smile.

Wrestling and fitness would go hand in hand.

“I got into fitness because I wanted to get in shape for wrestling,” he says. Eventually, he says, “It led me down this road,” to a related career in fitness training and education.

“Equinox opened my eyes to the fact I didn’t know a lot about exercise,” he says.

Roselli, who proudly offers up that his success has come without any drugs or “shortcuts,” did have a few bumps in the road.

“I feel if what I was doing was better, I wouldn’t have been injured four times.”

Major orthopedic surgeries have included shoulder, knee and bicep. At one point, Roselli needed a second shoulder surgery. He traveled to noted specialist Dr. James Andrews in Alabama, with the surgery, subsequent physical therapy and living expenses wiping out the then-21-year-old’s life savings.

But, he says, it was an investment in his future.

With Equinox, Roselli says he has learned a lot for himself — but also much he can pass along.

“Now I can start, after nine years, I can give back a little,” he says of his expanding into fitness education.

Throughout, he draws on Equinox principles of MNR, movement, nutrition and regeneration, the latter term referring to practices such as relaxation, rest and massage.

“If you’ve got all three of these working for you, you’ve got a pretty nice life.”


Roselli’s life in the world of sports and fitness led him, most naturally, to yet another career, acting.

“It transitioned from wrestling,” he says with a laugh. “I was a professional wrestler. It was like theater.”

Now a member of SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), Roselli’s a New York-based actor with an agent.

“A lot of wrestlers go into acting because (they think) ‘What do I do now?’” he says. For him, it was a more conscious choice. He wanted to approach it by “learning and studying your craft.”

It’s never easy, he says.

“On most auditions you’re not going to get them, and you have to understand this. …You learn to have some really thick skin in acting. To me, there’s life lessons all around us.”

And some of those include the fact of typecasting.

“Let’s face it,” he says. “I kind of look a certain way.”

So, he says, he’s often sent out on calls for “an athletic, fit type.”

These roles, as New York firefighters or Jersey Shore characters, he says get him more experience and propel him farther, since he knows he can do more.

“I like to think I’m funny,” he says with a laugh.

But he’s also ready for more traditional roles and has performed Shakespeare Off-Broadway.


Wrestling these days is relegated to occasional weekends.

“As a full-time job, that is in the past,” Roselli says.

He has, he notes, had people urge him to focus on just one career, but he sees no need. As he reminds his clients, you can always make time “for what you want to make time for.”

“I feel I’m not doing any industry a disservice. …I don’t feel my acting is taking away from fitness.”

All, he adds, fit seamlessly into his home life. Roselli is married some four years, to a reading specialist named Stacey, a woman he met at… the gym.

“I proposed to her on the red carpet of the SAG Awards,” he says, smiling at the memory.

Roselli, who clearly makes time to work out and eat clean, credits his wife for unwavering support that includes the meals he often carries with him for a day filled with appointments.

“I try to, obviously, practice what I preach,” he says.

But he’s not immune to those food temptations.

“Do I have a piece of cake now and then? Yeah, every now and then, but it’s not overboard,” he says. And you believe him when he says he has “really strong self- control” that allows him to “flip a switch.”

It’s a skill that gives Roselli that focus that has led him this far — but he’s far from done.

“The journey never ends, no matter what. I could always be better,” he says. “I know from my life experiences, you can do anything if you put your heart in it.”

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