Fabio: Life Behind The Hair

Avoiding Fabio Lanzoni in the 80s and 90s was impossible. With his ripped chest and flowing hair, Fabio was plastered all across American billboards and books. The enigmatic Italian model took the world by storm, living a life we only wish we understood.

No Gaps In His Resume

Fabio was barely 19 years old when he got his first American modeling job. Within days of coming to New York, Fabio was the face of The Gap, which he helped launch. He made $150,000 from his first job.

Goose, It’s Time To Buzz The Tower

Fabio did not appear in Top Gun, but he did encounter a dead goose as he flew through the air. Fabio was at Busch Gardens in Virginia as a public relations stunt for the opening of their new ride, Apollo’s Chariot. He sat in the front row for the inaugural ride. As the coaster pulled back into the station, the previously sparkling Fabio was covered in blood. During the ride, he collided with a goose, killing the bird.

Bring Me The Book Cover Jobs

After moving to New York City, Fabio joined the Ford Modeling Agency and began working. At an industry party, the head of one of the publishing companies approached him. She was a bit under the influence and let Fabio into a secret with her company. Anytime she put him on the cover, the book’s sales went through the roof. Others eventually caught on. He appeared on over 400 romance novel covers during his modeling career.

The One That Got Away

Fabio has admitted to having one love in his life. One woman, named Jennifer, captured his heart when he was a young model. He was 23, and she was a 19-year-old working for L’Oreal. Fabio claims that he was “too young and too wild.” After six years, they called it off. Fabio realized he made a mistake and tried to track her down years later. She had changed her number, and his mother convinced him to let her go.

A Reality Check

It seems that someone with his type of fame would be perfect for reality shows of today. Fabio has no interest in joining the cast of Dancing With The Stars or any of those former-star vehicles. He said, “Usually when people put themselves in that position, they do it because they’re desperate for money and attention. Why do you have to do something that’s degrading? For the money? There’s not enough money in this world to make me do something degrading.”

Keeping The Carbs Away For Years

Fabio’s health habits could be described as anywhere between healthy to maniacal. He got an early start on staying away from carbs. As a child, Fabio was a picky eater, and his parents would complain constantly about his plain diet. Fabio told The Guardian, “I was 14 before I ate pasta with tomato sauce. My dad would take me to the best restaurants, and all I would eat was rice with olive oil.” How can an Italian not eat pasta?

Catch That Thief

It is not the best time to be a celebrity in Los Angeles. Fabio became a victim of a burglary at his West Valley home. The thieves took over $200,000 in items. This included a safe with multiple watches and a collection of gold coins. Fabio is one of many celebrities to fall victim to burglaries in Los Angeles. Police believe the perpetrator(s) organized the crime. Actresses Emmy Rossum and Jaime Pressley, singer Nicki Minaj, and Dodgers’ slugger Yasiel Puig are among the other celebrity victims.

Fabio The Savior

Fabio came to the rescue of his friend and screenwriter Hoyt Richards. Richards got sucked into a cult that believes in aliens and that the end of the world was coming. He rid himself of material possessions and gave everything he had to the cult. After countless efforts to pull him away, Richards confided in Fabio about his troubles when he realized what he had done. Richards request of lodging for a few weeks turned into a year and a half together.

I Ain’t Scared Of No Ghost

With his career as a romance novel cover model taking off, Fabio decided to go all in on romance novels. Once he realized how profitable he was within the industry, he decided to become a romance novelist himself. He did so with the help of a ghostwriter. While many people feel uncomfortable with a ghostwriter, Fabio is very open about it. “Hey, in America, everyone has a ghostwriter,” he once said.

Pick Of The Litter

After seeing his image on billboards and their novels, many women threw themselves at Fabio. “I always got action,” he said. Just because he got action does not mean he wasn’t selective about his ladies. ” I always try to choose good girls. To be turned on, I have to have something more than looks.” They might not have felt the same, but Fabio made sure to find the right girls, especially non-ditsy girls (since apparently he can’t stand them).

What He Looks For In His Women

Although his career might indicate more shallow behavior, Fabio feels strongly about finding the right woman. What exactly is he looking for: “Somebody who’s beautiful inside and out, especially on the inside because in time looks vanish, so you have to be deeper than that.” Not only does he want the full package, Fabio understands that “you have to find a person who really cares for you like you care for that person.”

A Little Humility Goes A Long Way

Throughout decades of romance novels and modeling gigs, Fabio could have developed a big head over his cultural status. He stays humble about his career and his persona. Fabio said, “A lot of people in Hollywood, celebrities, they take themselves too seriously. I want to say, ‘Come on guys, loosen up! Have fun with life.’ The majority, they’re so neurotic… Just relax. God gave you fame and fortune, enjoy! What is there to be so unfriendly and grumpy [about]?”

Eat Like Fabio

Interested in having Fabio’s bulging chest? You can start by following his strict diet of lean proteins. Fabio starts his day with a bowl of oatmeal and follows it with an egg white omelet (which he has every day). The omelet might have either spinach, asparagus, tomatoes, or mushrooms. For lunch, he has some sort of fresh fish – generally cod, sea bass, or salmon – with a side of vegetables. For his last meal, he will choose a different fish than lunch to pair with vegetables.

Typecast As Himself

Fortunately for Fabio, he had enough humility to make it through his film and television career. After he retired from modeling and gave putting his name on novels a rest, Fabio started focusing on a career in Hollywood. In almost all of his onscreen credits, Fabio has had no need for classical acting skills because he is playing himself. He had a multiple-episode guest arc on The Bold and the Beautiful as Fabio. He did appear as a cult leader in 2001’s Bubble Boy.

Believe It

He might not be earning any Oscars for playing parodies of himself over and over, but Fabio did find a nice niche on the small screen as a spokesperson. Fabio became a huge hit in ad campaigns for I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. He has worked with the company as a spokesperson since 1994. One of his most memorable commercials involved Fabio breaking free from a butter sculpture of himself. After a bit of a break, he returned to the brand in 2016


When you are Fabio, you do not need the love (or likes) of anonymous avatars on the internet. Fabio does not use social media to promote himself.  He said, ” I really don’t care [about Instagram] because I have a life. I don’t want people to know what I’m doing or where I’m at. I understand that [models] are using to make a business and a life for themselves, but I’ve already made so many businesses.” He prefers to connect with people the old-fashioned way.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Models get a reputation for being shallow, but not Fabio. He is actually quite introspective. Fabio understands where true happiness comes from. He said, “‘Oh, I’m only going to be happy when I find a special person who is going to make me happy.’ No. In life, you have to be happy with yourself first, number one. When you’re happy with yourself, you have to find another person who is happy with herself so you can share your happiness.” Amen, Fabio.

Keep Those Sweets Away

Cutting sugar from his diet was an easy task for Fabio. Since a young age, he never really liked sweet things. When he was seven months old, his mom tried to give him something sweet, and he spat it out. His worst nightmare as a child: birthday parties. ” Mothers would insist (I eat cake), and I would say no, and they thought I was being polite, and I was like, ‘I’m not polite, what part of “no” don’t you understand?’”

Losing A Loved One

In 2013, Fabio went through one of the most difficult ordeals of his life. His sister Christina lost a long battle with ovarian cancer at age 48. In addition to the heartbreak, Fabio battled critics throughout his sister’s treatment. Christina was treated at the controversial Burzynski Clinic which uses an unproven treatment not approved by the FDA. Fabio claims the treatment got his sister from a bed to a treadmill in weeks even if it could not save her life.

Mr. Big Bucks

As the biggest male model across two decades with one of the most recognizable mononyms on earth, Fabio did quite well for himself financially. He helped expand the modeling industry into an incredibly lucrative career. When paired with his acting career, Fabio pulled in quite a chunk of change. Currently, his net worth sits at $15 million. For a man inching towards retirement age, Fabio will not have to worry about life beyond modeling and acting. Perhaps he will find someone to share his fortune with.

To Cut Or Not To Cut

It is impossible to look at Fabio Lanzoni and ignore his luscious locks. Fabio has treated his fans with his ever-growing locks since he burst onto the scene in his Gap ads. He appeared with shorter hair in those ads but has let his mane continue its impressive growth into his middle age. With women of all ages swooning over it him and his hair, it’s no wonder he has maintained the same look for decades.

Partner In Crime

Fabio might be the king of the romance novel, but he could not do it all by himself. His book covers generally needed a female companion to depict the intense love of its characters. Lianna Loggins was his most frequent partner on the covers. She appeared with him on hundreds of covers playing the perfect foil to his stallion-esque persona. Beginning in the early aughts, Loggins became an actress, appearing in Witches of East End and Lord of the Vampires.

A Super Sensation

Fabio is decades removed from his celebrity peak, but his name still carries plenty of weight. In 2006, Fabio became a huge hit thanks to a Super Bowl commercial. He joined forces with Nationwide Insurance for one of the most memorable ads of the entire game. Following the game, the ad became the most downloaded video from Super Bowl XL. In it, a woman fawns over Fabio, playing himself and a gondola driver, before she realizes the driver is an old man.

Geek Squad

With all the time Fabio spent as a model he probably did not have much time for leisure. That did not stop him from buying and personally setting up one of the largest home entertainment systems in the world. In a 2006 interview, Fabio detailed his entertainment system to Gizmodo. One of the prize pieces of the system is a 15-foot-by-7-foot projector screen. He assembled it by himself, even though another Gizmodo reporter felt his tech savviness is overblown.

The First Kiss Of Stardom

Fabio was not always the romance novel cover guy. He had already been modeling in the United States for a decade before he landed his first cover. His big break would come in 1987. The Elaine Duillo-illustrated cover for Hearts Aflame by Johanna Lindsey became a huge hit thanks to the inclusion of Fabio. The book rose to number three on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Hearts Aflame has been translated into six other languages.

Tough On Crime

With a body like his, Fabio has a lifetime ticket to the gun show. He is also an advocate for the second amendment in America. Fabio made controversial statements on Fox News during an interview with Tucker Carleson. He said, “Look what happened to Nazi Germany – they took away all the guns from people, and you see what happened.” Fabio continued, “Don’t you ever give up your guns. If people lose that right, forget about it. Politicians — they will take everything away from you.”

Marrying His First Love

After all his countless loves and relationships, one stood out against all the rest – his love for America. Fabio married his love when he became a United States citizen on March 16, 2016, after taking his oath with 6,000 others from 140 countries. He said, “I remember my first love when I was 14 was the United States and yesterday I married my first love,” he said…I will go to war for the United States; I wouldn’t go to war for Europe or Italy.”

Bombs Bursting In Air

On his big “marriage,” he said, “It is the biggest honor I have ever had in my entire life. First time I came to this country, I was 14 years old, and I totally fell in love with the country as soon as I stepped off the plane. For the first time, I felt I was home.” Also, he became a citizen the day after his 57th birthday. He called it “the best birthday present I got in my life.”

An Eye On Public Service

Now that Fabio is an American citizen, he holds on to the same inalienable rights that American-born citizens do. This includes running for public office. He told Page Six, “I’m a people person. I love people. I would definitely go for the people.” Understanding the nature of politics in America, he added, “In politics, you don’t go that far when just go for the people. You never know.” Perhaps he can join Arnold Schwarzenegger as European-born former models in public office.

What’s That You Say?

Throughout his extensive modeling career, Fabio encountered plenty of the most famous names in the business. In an interview with the Washington Post, Fabio shared his opinion on two famous ladies. When he was asked about Naomi Campbell, Fabio did not mince words and referred to her as the b-word. He did have nice things to say about Andie MacDowell. A friend tried to set them up, but he said she’s “a beautiful person but not my type at all.”

Fitness By Fabio

Fabio’s bulging chest did not just come out of thin air. He works tirelessly every day to maintain his body. His typical workout looks much like any workout; he does an hour or so of weight training followed by some cardio via running or stationary bike. The trick to his workouts: dirt biking. He said, “That’s an amazing, amazing workout. People don’t realize that when you dirt bike with a motorcycle, you can lose up to four to six pounds in four hours.”

The Little Trouble Maker

As a boy growing up in Italy, Fabio was quite a handful for his parents. He would get himself into all sorts of trouble, constantly getting kicked out of school and breaking any rule that he could. However, Fabio is very serious when it comes to illegal substances. A teenage friend’s overdose shook Fabio never to touch the stuff. This includes staying away from alcohol. He might be the only Italian that doesn’t drink wine and doesn’t eat pasta.

The Big Fight

George Clooney might not be on romance novel covers, but he still found a way into women’s hearts. Clooney and Fabio got into a scuffle at a Beverley Hills restaurant and had to be separated in 2007. Clooney, while dining with his girlfriend, suspected that Fabio’s nearby table was taking photos of them and flicked off the camera. Fabio went over to explain that they were taking pictures of each other, not Clooney. Fabio told Clooney he could teach him some manners.

Fabio Today

Fabio might have retired from the modeling in the 90s, but he still maintains his public persona. He continues to act on various commercials and the occasional film. His most recent appearance was in the fifth installment of the Sharknado franchise. Shockingly, he played a character, not just himself. Fabio still cannot let go of his crazy workouts and diet. The former model has started showing his age, but still looks good for someone approaching 60, and, of course, still has his luscious hair.

Fabio’s Guide To Perfect Hair

Since he entered the modeling world in the late 70s, Fabio’s hair has been part of his iconic look. How does he get his hair looking so perfect? For one, he says eating a diet high in protein and minerals helps. Two, Fabio never uses shampoo with chemicals. Three, he avoids using conditioner (his hair just shines like that). Lastly, Fabio stays away from blow dryers and lets natural oxygen and nitrogen dry his flowing locks.