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NUNN ON ONE: TV Jai Rodriguez: Animal magnetism
by Jerry Nunn

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The Animal Planet channel is styling its way into season two of the reality series Groomer Has It. Jai Rodriguez returns as host to the show and catches up with Windy City Times about what's gone on since the last time he was interviewed.

Windy City Times: How are you, Jai? The last time I spoke with you, you were wrapping up Queer Eye for the Straight Guy in 2007.

Jai Rodriguez: Wow, time flies.

WCT: How has life been since winning an Emmy for that show?

JR: Busy, really super-busy. I have started a couple of series since then. I am in the process of doing a couple of more. In about two weeks I am going to Miami to shoot a new series for Si TV. It is very similar to America's Top Model but the Latin-formatted version. And, of course, there is "Groomer."

WCT: Tell me about the new season of Groomer Has It.

JR: Well, unlike last year, these guys bonded right out of the gate. They were best friends instantly, which is interesting because this is a competition. It definitely made for a fun show this year. There were a lot of challenges. We kept everyone on their toes.

WCT: They have to groom a potbelly pig in a challenge?

JR: Yes, we do take them to a pig farm. They don't know what they are doing until they get there and then we show them. It's pretty hilarious.

WCT: There is a doggie wedding on the show? This interview should go in our Pets section!

JR: Yes, there is. This is Los Angeles and people do things like that very seriously. It was an opportunity for us to have a little fun.

WCT: I saw a lot of tears on the preview.

JR: There was a lot more crying this year. There were tears from the judges. The prizes have gotten a lot better for one thing. The winner receives $50,000 cash, a mobile grooming truck, a brand-new Subaru Forester and, of course, the title in that industry is extremely prestigious. You can charge whatever you want after winning that.

WCT: One of your dogs is the "messenger dog" on the show?

JR: It's funny to see Nemo's role bumped up. Which is hilarious to see that your dog is a bigger star than you are!

WCT: You have an upcoming movie called Oy Vey, My Son is Gay. It looks hilarious and touching from the preview.

JR: It's a coming-out story. John Lloyd Young is my boyfriend. Lainie Kazan plays his mom and Vincent Pastore from the Sopranos is in it, along with Carmen Electra.

WCT: A good group to work with there. Are you still singing?

JR: I am releasing a summertime single called "Moves." It is a fun dance song in the vein of Lady GaGa's "Just Dance." I am shooting a video for that next week.

WCT: You are busy.

JR: Trying to be. In a city that is very unstructured and laid-back, I need structure for myself.

WCT: Chicago is pretty well-structured, like where you are from in New York.

JR: I was just saying how I hope I will actually get to Chicago soon. There was a little doggie shop that I visited downtown near the shopping area. It was a really great store—gay-owned—and these guys were fantastic. They totally helped me out and gave me all this cool swag.

WCT: You have a one-man show called "My Truth," correct?

JR: I just finished that show, produced by Wayne Brady. It was kind of Moulin Rouge-style, as in the story was new and all of the music was familiar. It was fun because I got to show L.A. what New York already knew. Wayne was able to add comedic edge to what touching moments from my life that a lot of people don't know about. I am hoping to tour with that.

WCT: You could come to Chicago on tour.

JR: Where would I go? I wouldn't know where to begin.

WCT: I could work on that for you, some cool venue.

JR: You get on that!

The new season begins Saturday, April 11, on Animal Planet. See for details.

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