‘Grey’s Anatomy’ star Giacomo Gianniotti opens up about quarantining lives and helping homeless people through pandemic (Exclusive)

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Choosing furniture, barbecuing, painting the walls, cheering on the Toronto Raptors via Instagram and now virtual wine tasting and drag queen bingo – “Grey’s Anatomy” star Giacomo Gianniotti makes the most of his 40s! The Italian-born, Toronto-raised actor has spent the past few months moving to a new home in Los Angeles, Calif., With his wife, Nichole, but as his time out for Grey’s comes to an end. end, he strives to give back to those in need. .

The couple were in New York City to help launch Gianniotti’s campaign with Canadian outerwear brand Nobis when the coronavirus pandemic interrupted normalcy and shut down production of “Grey’s Anatomy” in March.

“We landed in Los Angeles just as it was all happening,” Gianniotti told ET Canada ahead of his latest quarantine project – the My Friend’s Place summer festival, which kicks off Sunday night with an online concert featuring JoJo , Mario and Kenzie Ziegler. “We fair escaped New York and then with lockdown rules on both sides, we quickly realized it would be incredibly difficult to get back to Canada – or Italy where my whole family is.

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“I’m a big family, so the hardest part of it all was definitely not seeing loved ones,” adds Gianniotti, 31. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s something that everyone experiences.”

Although the separation from the family has been difficult, Gianniotti has found some bright spots in the pandemic, such as extra time with Nichole, photographer and hairdresser / makeup artist. The two tied the knot in a flowery, fairytale Rome setting in April 2019 and celebrated their first wedding anniversary in quarantine at their new home, joined by a cute new addition to their family-adopted pit bull, Jazz.

“We did well and found ways to keep busy and keep our hobbies,” says Gianniotti. “We moved to a new place when it all started, so we had a new slate in terms of having to decorate, buy furniture, paint the walls! We had endless plans, so we had a unique chance in this way. “

“The other bright spot is that as artists in Hollywood we move so fast – the pace of our business doesn’t lend itself to slowing down, smelling the flowers and enjoying life,” the star continues. “Known”. “The pandemic forced everyone to slow down, appreciate these little things and be careful of the things they neglected. This is the ray of hope I tried to hold on to.

During quarantine, Gianniotti also started a series of poetry readings on Instagram, “Poetry in the PM,” which featured “Grey’s” teammates including Martin Henderson. He says the idea, which he will consider picking up if fans ask for it, was a fun way to improve his mental health during the early days of the pandemic.

He now hopes to offer viewers the same kind of ‘sanity break’ via Sunday. Stand together concert, streaming on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube starting at 5 p.m. PST. The following day’s show and events will benefit My Friend’s Place, a Los Angeles resource center that helps homeless youth build independent lives, whether that means providing them with food, hot showers and clothing. for job interviews, or by organizing workshops on fashion design and music.

Citywide roaming is something that hit Giannotti after moving to Los Angeles from Toronto, and through his former “Grey’s” teammate Jerrika Hinton he got involved with My Friend’s Place. In 2016, the nonprofit named him Champion of the Year for his efforts, including serving meals, donating clothes, and raising funds at events like Tough Mudder. He and Nichole also generously donated $ 13,000 in funds they received in lieu of wedding gifts to the organization.

As the pandemic continues, Gianniotti remains concerned about the impact of the crisis on people who are homeless. “When it broke, the authorities told us to take shelter at the house, but what if you don’t have a house? How can you not feel insulted or ridiculed? ” he says. “It’s also very scary when everyone says there’s this epidemic and the only safe place is home – if you’re outside it makes an already dangerous situation more dangerous.

Gianniotti notes that those who help My Friend’s Place have been at a further disadvantage due to the donations and distributions they rely on from pedestrians and tourists on Hollywood Blvd stopping. Many now depend solely on day centers like My Friend’s Place.

“They haven’t closed in a single day, which I’m proud of,” says Gianniotti. “They have moved workshops and resources outside to make it safer, but the lack of foot traffic and tourism has taken a hit. The crisis has also forced people living on paychecks to become homeless or to rely on resource centers to feed their families. So these places are overcrowded and in need of donations. “

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After Sunday’s concert, the Summer Festival will continue virtually with a yoga class led by Anna Cantwell on Monday, before the fun factor kicks off with Tuesday’s drag queen bingo. On Wednesday there is a family art class, then a wine tasting with Zach Negin from Tabula Rasa in Los Angeles. Aware of the financial conflicts that many experience, most sessions cost $ 25. The festival ends on Thursday A united night gala, hosted by Gianniotti and which will honor actress / activist Rosanna Arquette and CAA agent Ann Blanchard.

And, when he’s done with the entertainment, bingo and wine tasting, fans will be delighted to hear that Gianniotti is preparing to return to play Dr. Andrew DeLuca on “Grey’s Anatomy,” tentatively. in September.

DeLuca’s mental health challenges became a focal point of the abruptly discontinued Season 16, and the spinoff series, “Station 19,” subsequently appeared to confirm his bipolar diagnosis. While there is more to say about DeLuca’s struggles, the season will begin with a time jump, which will see Gray Sloan Memorial Hospital grapple with the pandemic. “I can’t wait to get back to work soon!” Says Gianniotti.

* Stay tuned to ETCanada.com for more from Gianniotti on what viewers can expect from DeLuca’s mental health journey, and more about My friend’s place and their summer festival here.



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