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I was absolutely giddy when I found out that I was going to have the opportunity to talk to actor Donald Faison this week. I’ve been a fan of his since he played Dr. Chris Turk on Scrubs, and some friends and family of mine have been in lust with the actor since he was in Clueless (and in some cases, since he was in Brandy’s “Sittin’ Up in My Room” video). What I learned from our conversation is that aside from working on new film projects and starring on the hit TV Land show The Exes, Faison is a grillmaster. He has teamed up with the National Pork Board to help share mouthwatering recipes and show off his skills with some tongs as we prepare for summer. I was able to chat with him about his partnership with NPB, and we also touched on his career moves, his friendship with the ever-controversial Stacey Dash, fatherhood, and his plans for Father’s Day. Check out what he had to say.

Where His Grilling Skills Came From

I grew up in New York City, and grilling in New York City really doesn’t exist if you live in an apartment building. Sure, you can go to Central Park and do it and stuff like that. But growing up in an apartment building, it was illegal to grill on your balcony because the smoke would rise, and everybody above you would have to smell what you were cooking. But once I moved to Los Angeles I wanted to learn how to grill. I thought it was something cool. And it’s so much a part of the culture out here. You go to parks, and there are grills in the parks. So I was like “You know what? I need to learn how to grill. I want to show everybody I can do this.” And there’s also something cool about the guy standing at the grill with his apron and his oven mitt and his tongs flipping pork. So I moved out here, and the first thing I ever tried to cook was pork ribs. And I failed miserably at it. And then I practiced, and I practiced and all of a sudden, people were eating them. And then, next thing I know, people were taking them home. Then they were finishing them and leaving nothing but bone. So that’s how I learned how to throw down on the grill.

His Plans For Father’s Day

How do I plan to celebrate Father’s Day? Hopefully, my kids plan to celebrate me first of all! We’re going to grill out obviously. We’re going to be together. Me, the kids and the wife. I’m probably going to make ribs that day. Might make some French fries to go with the ribs. You know, maybe some potatoes or a potato salad. Something with a lot of carbs in it. But afterwards I want to take a nap and not have to hear the kids. I love ’em, but you know…it’s my day!

The Greatest Lesson He Has Learned About Fatherhood

You love them unconditionally. No matter what you guys go through that love will always be there.

What’s Next For Him

The Exes is coming back to TV Land this July, which we’re all really excited about. And then I actually start a movie today that I just signed on for with Terrence J and Paula Patton. I’m excited about that, and I’m excited to get to work with those two. It will be out either end of this year or early next year.

Building And Maintaining Friendships With Fellow Actors

I’m going to be honest with you; it’s tough to form friendships through work because you just work together. You know what I mean? That’s what you do. You have an excuse to see each other every day because you’re working together. But when you don’t have an excuse to see each other and you’re working on other projects, it’s like being traded from one basketball team to another. You really don’t talk anymore. But Zach [Braff] is one of those few people I still keep in contact with. Stacey Dash is another one. Elisa Donovan is another one. Seth Green–we all stay in touch with each other. I still think very fondly of my former castmates, but we don’t see each other that much. I should have them over for a cookout!

How He Has Been Able To Have Longevity After 20 Years In The Industry

I think one reason is luck when it comes to being in this industry and this business. And then it’s really about the projects I’ve been a part of. Clueless was the first project I did where people took notice, and it happened to be one of those things where a lot of people saw that. Same thing with Remember the Titans and the same thing with Scrubs. I’ve had the opportunity to work on shows that last a long time. It’s part luck. I wish I could sit here and tell you I planned all of this to happen, but I’m just riding the wave trying to still surf. But, for the most part, always being prepared and being professional are all important things when it comes to being an actor in this particular industry.

I feel like I still have a long way to go until I’m really where I want to be, but it’s still good to be seen, obviously. Where do I want to be? I have big dreams, but you don’t necessarily follow your dreams all the time. You do what you’re good at. If it were my dream, I would be on the level of my idols, people I look up to in this industry: Denzel and Harrison Ford. I’d like to have the opportunities that they had, and maybe I will one day. But as of right now, it’s awesome being me. Everybody finds their niche.

On Standing By His Controversial Friend, Stacey Dash

I stay out of political conversations. I think that’s the wrong way to go–for me. But Stacey is going to be Stacey. The person I know respects my views and the way I feel about things. Who am I to not give her space to talk? When we’re together, we don’t talk about that stuff. We talk about our friendship, our kids, and stuff like that. It’s crazy, politicians hang out with politicians even though they don’t have the exact same agenda. Just because Stacey and I don’t have the exact same agenda doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. So it’s weird when people ask me that question. “You still hang out with Stacey Dash?! Have you heard some of the things you’ve said?” As far as those who’ve cut off contact with her, that’s their prerogative.

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