By Gina Roberts Grey

 

Sure, they’re great to look at, but these hunks are so much more than just a bunch of hotties. They’re talented, intellectual, philanthropic, genuine – and yes, pretty charismatic, too.

BELLA sat down with this year’s “Sexiest Men” to learn what makes them tick, what turns them on and what they think of their “sexy” moniker.   

Garret Dillahunt: The Sexiest TV Grandfather

Don’t tell Garret Dillahunt, 47, he can’t do something: unless you want him to prove you wrong. The one-time comedian and Broadway staple was told he’d never land a part in a drama but went on to starring roles as cynical Simon Escher on “Burn Notice,” two roles (at once) on “Deadwood” and as a doctor on three seasons of “ER.”

The self-proclaimed “workaholic” has a new sci-fi movie “Looper” due out in September 2012. “I was so honored to be part of that cast,” he says. He’s also starring opposite Alan Cummings in “Any Day Now” as one-half of a gay couple trying to adopt in the 1970’s. 

His current role on the hit sitcom “Raising Hope” is one Dillahunt says he’s surprisingly quite comfortable with, even though he admits it was jarring to be asked to play a grandfather on the show.

“I wasn’t eager to skip the ‘dad’ step, [since] I’ve only played a few fathers. But I was also very pleased about the opportunity to play Burt Chance. This character is really the most like me. I’m kinda goofy and like to laugh a lot. And I especially like that the character has evolved over time,” adds Dillahunt.

Time is actually one of the secrets to his successful marriage to fellow actor, Michelle Hurd. His mantra: Wait to get married. “It took me a while to grow up so waiting was good for me. Also, you can’t be afraid to fight and talk to each other. And [realize that] you’re not going to change the person. Instead, you need to evolve together. My wife didn’t need me to complete her, she was a complete person when we met and got married and vice versa. You shouldn’t ‘need’ a person; you should want to be with a person.”

When asked about his definition of beauty, the smart, rugged and chiseled actor explains that there are so many kinds of pretty. “When a woman is comfortable in her own skin and is at ease, that’s the sexiest thing in the world. When I go back to New York City and see all the different kinds of people walking down the street who are comfortable with their unique nose or bodies, it’s so sexy. Beauty and sexiness is also when a woman is calm, at ease and languorous in her own skin,” he says.

Tidbit: What’s it like to be dubbed one of BELLA’s Sexiest Men of 2012?

“I’m honored and I’m shocked! I certainly don’t mind being thought of as sexy, but it’s a surprise. That’s really a wonderful thing since I’m certainly not conventionally handsome. I’m a little crooked and weird.”

Derek Hough: The Sexiest in the Ballroom

With moves like – or perhaps better than – Jagger, sparkling blue eyes and three mirror ball trophies on his mantel (the only pro dancer on “Dancing With the Stars” to earn that distinction), it’s no surprise that Derek Hough, 27, is one of the sexiest guys of 2012.

But his grounded sense of self and unwavering passion is what landed Hough, a thoughtful, deliberate, and somewhat soft-spoken hunk, on our list of most sexy.

His definition of beauty: Talent, ambition and character. “Oh, and humor,” he adds. “Someone who is talented, funny, ambitious and overall very comfortable in their own skin and self, and happy with who they are, is very beautiful to me.”

“I know it sounds cliché, but that’s so true, especially as you get older. Sure, you can see a woman and think  ‘She’s hot, I like her,’ and that’s so much simpler. But as I’ve gotten older I realize I want substance and character to go along with looks,” adds Hough.

Hough, who’s starring in a new movie “Cobu” due out this fall, says he was born to entertain.  “I’ve always been interested in many art forms. I was just watching some old home videos that my dad pulled out. In one from when I was 5 years old, I was going to town, dancing like nobody’s business. I started dance classes at 10 or 11, but had been dancing all my life, just for fun.”

His current favorite dance is the Argentine Tango; one that Hough says is relatively new to him. “Growing up and competing, that dance wasn’t one of ‘my things,’ I wasn’t taught it, I recently had to teach myself. And as of late, I’ve grown to love it. I love dances that are passionate, intense, sexy and dark; I gravitate toward those. I wonder what that says about my character?” (laughs)

And despite competing with little sister and fellow “Dancing” champ, Julianne, Hough says there’s no sibling rivalry. “There was never any  ‘he’s looking at me’ or fighting as kids. Of course we compete with each other, but it’s never felt like rivalry. I took care of her and worried that she was OK when we lived in England. So I was more of a caretaker than someone who was teasing her or pulling her hair. We’ve always been supportive and in each other’s corners.”

Hough has a busy 2012 planned. He’s developing projects with his sister. “There are a few collaborations in process who want to combine and join forces within the dancing community to create a live show. It’s exciting,” he says.

And as far as his personal life, Hough says it’s all about romance.

“If you have a smoking hot career and are happy with the person you are, a great relationship may come, but that’s not always the case. As you get older, I think a great relationship is the most important thing. It’s really important to have someone you can share things with.”

Tidbit: What’s it like to be dubbed one of BELLA’s Sexiest Men of 2012?

“Really?” I’m surprised but it’s really cool. Thanks!

Michael Steger: The Sexiest in 90210

In 2008, Michael Steger, 32, burst onto the scene as well-to-do Navid Shirazi on the second coming of “90210” and hasn’t looked back. But the tall, dark and boyishly handsome, and relative newcomer, isn’t cocky about his successful role on one of television’s iconic dynasties. And the calm, cool and collected Steger isn’t cracking under the pressure of being part of that dynasty.

“There isn’t much pressure thanks to the writers. They write a lot of comedy and inject a lot of interesting, fun energy. I’m so focused when I’m working that I don’t feel pressured to live up to the first 90210.”

That poise under pressure is why Steger is one of this year’s most sexy.

His definition of beauty: Confidence, passion and kindness.

On screen, Steger’s alter ego is confident, smooth and he always seem to have the right thing to say to a woman. Steger says even though he and his character share many similar traits, being a ladies’ man isn’t one of them. 

“We’re both very inquisitive, super friendly, open and good communicators. But I don’t come from as affluent of a background as him; I’m from a middle-class family. And thankfully my personal relationship is much more solid.”

Speaking of that relationship, Steger says his ideal romantic date is whipping up a meal together with his wife, Brandee, and hanging out at home. Awww!

Tidbit: What’s it like to be dubbed one of BELLA’s Sexiest Nen of 2012?

It’s pretty cool. Considering five years ago I couldn’t get arrested if I tried, it’s a cool honor and I’m very grateful.

Coby Bell: The Sexiest Spy

On screen, Coby Bell, 37, wears two very different hats. On “The Game,” he’s retired pro footballer, Jason Pitts, who is a bit of a player. And on “Burn Notice,” he’s Jesse Porter, a former counter-intelligence expert burned by one of his best friends, who runs around Miami as part of a foursome who blows things up (a lot) and gets in fights. But in real life, Bell, who has two sets of twins, ages 8 and 3, with wife Aviss, says he’s “just a dad who helps with homework and tells his kids to clean their rooms.”

And it’s that genuine “Dad Next Door” image that propelled Bell onto our sexy list. 

“Parenting two sets of twins is definitely harder than playing two roles at once. We’re totally outnumbered,” he says. “But I love it. Being a father is so many different things all at once. It’s difficult because you worry about your kids and have all the typical challenges, but it’s also my favorite thing in the world. I love every minute of it, including the challenges.”

And to stay sane, Bell relies on a secret weapon: keeping his wife happy. “Listen, a happy wife means a happy life.”

So instead of being gone for several weeks or months at a time while filming his shows, Bell spends a lot of time up in the air.  “I love being with my family, so to take advantage of every chance to be with them, I fly home to L.A. every weekend from either Miami or Atlanta, depending on which show I’m working on. I’m the king of the airport (laughs). I’m on a first-name basis with airport personnel,” he says.

Bell also loves family traditions. Music played a major role in his childhood as well as his career, he explains. “My father was a singer and was in the band 5th Dimension, and my mom was always very involved with music in choirs. Music was always around and I’ve had a lot of fun introducing our kids to music, too.”

When it comes to defining beauty, Bell says, hands down, that it’s laughter. “That’s definitely a beautiful thing.” So is a woman who’s comfortable, he says – literally. “I love a woman in sneakers because stilettos don’t make sense to me. They look beautiful and sexy, but they must have been invented by a man because they also look uncomfortable. It doesn’t make any sense to put something that shape on your foot that will cause that much discomfort,” he laughs.

Tidbit: What’s it like to be dubbed one of BELLA’s Sexiest Men of 2012?

It’s kind of hard to wrap my head around. I think of myself as a goofy, silly person. And also, I think of myself as a dad. It’s really flattering and humbling; thanks so much.

Nyambi Nyambi: The Sexiest Sitcom Newcomer

On “Mike & Molly,” wise-cracking Nigerian diner waiter, Sam, played by Nyambi Nyambi, adds levity and humor to the ensemble sitcom cast. But life wasn’t always so light-hearted for the Oklahoma-born Nyambi who says he was too serious as a teen and young adult.

“If I could, I would tell my younger self to lighten up, have fun. I was so serious in college and felt I had to impress my coach. And when you get into that land of trying impress someone, it’s over. What I loved became a chore,” he says.

Working on his current show, however, is all fun, he says. “It’s a dream to do what I love with this amazing and beautiful cast and crew.”

And it’s the passion to live life to the fullest and to (finally) have fun that landed the former athlete with an impressive resume in theater and on Broadway, as well as a master’s degree in fine arts, on BELLA’s Sexiest Men list for 2012.

His definition of beauty: “It’s an energy, something that’s behind a person’s eyes and a vibe that’s given off.”

When asked how his personality measures up against his alter ego’s, Nyambi says the two are a little alike. “I have a dry sense of humor as well. And, it seems we both have the same bad luck with ladies. I’m shy to a fault so my love life could be better. I’m not the kind of guy that walks up to a woman and hits her with one-liners. I try to be nice but sometimes my gauge to tell if a woman is interested is off. So she has to knock me over the head with an anvil and tell me, ‘Hey, I’m into you.’”

And heads up, ladies: Nyambi says he’s very single, and is hoping to meet Mrs. Right. He says his ideal woman loves to laugh, is very spiritual and has depth. “Physical beauty is great, but a sense of humor is very sexy.”

Tidbit: What’s it like to be dubbed one of BELLA’s Sexiest Men of 2012?

“I’m surprised … very surprised! I’m flattered and a bit embarrassed. I’m still getting used to being recognized, it’s all new to me. Actually, can I have the title mounted on a plaque for my dressing room door?! It’s pretty nice,” he laughs.

Jason Cook: The Sexiest on the Soaps

The doctor is in! Since 2008, Jason Cook, 31, has starred on ABC’s long-running soap opera, “General Hospital” as the arrogant neurosurgeon, Dr. Matt Hunter. But unlike his alter-ego, Cook is anything but arrogant.

This true Renaissance man plays classical piano, makes fresh pasta from scratch (he was whipping up a delicious breakfast when BELLA sat down to talk with him), is philanthropic, down-to-earth and has devilish good looks. It’s no wonder he made our Sexiest List!

Cook says he doesn’t have a concise definition of beauty. “I hosted the Miss World 2011 pageant and found those women to be so beautiful, but not because they’re absolutely physically beautiful. These women are no-joke. They’re very, very well-educated and make amazing contributions to their communities and countries. That’s beautiful,” he says. 

This soap star is making plenty of contributions of his own. Hot on the heels of directing the documentary “Numb to Life,” Cook, along with fellow soap alum, Arianne Zucker, co-created “LifeChange,” a new reality show due out in 2013 that he says is cut from a unique “reality” cloth.

“This is a dual-purpose show. It’s got a lot of pay-it-forward messages because we take six young adults from all walks of life on a journey toward changing their lives as well as the lives of strangers around them. But there are also some awesome adventures.”

The best part: It’s a real reality show. “Reality shows today are more like unscripted programming instead of reality. We’re aspiring to really capture an authentic true reality and to make the world a better place.”

What’s it like to be dubbed one of BELLA’s Sexiest Men of 2012?

It’s an honor – thank you – but we can’t let my mom know. She’s going to want lots of copies of the magazine to show everyone and then I’m going to have to explain why anyone thinks I’m sexy. That won’t be pretty.

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