Justin Baldoni Covers BELLO Fashion

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FATHER. PHILANTHROPIST. ACHIEVER. Justin’s vision is world embracing.
words by MICHELLE GANNEY
photos by TJ MANOU

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I spoke to Justin as he was on his way to dinner to celebrate his father’s birthday. The knowledge of this simple fact warmed me to him straight away. “Today is beautiful. Today is my Dad’s birthday. I am going to take him to a restaurant that I grew up going to, his favorite Italian place in Santa Monica”.
You might recognise Justin Baldoni from his unparalleled role in Jane the Virgin alongside the beautiful Gina Rodriguez. He plays the captivating yet mischievous “Rafael Solano” on The CW’s hilarious hit show. However, in spite of Justin’s supreme acting talent, he shines far more for his philanthropic take on life and his applause-worthy humanitarian devotion.
Acting is a passion of Justin’s, yet he was clear in his vision to use his gifts to help humanity. “I started a production company called Wayfarer Entertainment about three years ago. I actually left acting to do it, partly because I felt I was not being of service to the world as an actor”.
Justin is a devotee of the Bahai’a faith, which ignited a sense of motivation in him. This led to the beginning of a documentary series called My Last Days. “I started this documentary series, that is based on a quote in the Bahai’a writing which says: ‘I have made death a messenger of joy to thee. Wherefore dost thou grieve?’ It is this idea that death is inevitable, death is around us. Nothing is permanent, everything is temporary, yet we live like time is infinite and we wait for the last minute to do everything in our lives. We wait to call our parents to tell them we love them. We wait to turn in that assignment. We think that we are going to be here forever and the fact is, we are not. I was looking around the world and I was thinking, ‘How am I going to make a difference?’”
With this philosophical quandary present, Justin was encouraged by this quote as a means to move people. “I thought I could take that quote and figure how to make it inspiring. To remind people that we have to act now. We have to be of service. We have to do more. We have to take care of each other. We have to love each other more and we have to say the things that we want to say. It ended up becoming the most watched documentary series online ever, which lead to the formation of my company.”
Although the world can see the enchanting chemistry between Justin and Gina Rodriguez’s character on Jane The Virgin, there is more to their character friendship than meets the eye. “Gina and I have a lot in common. It is really interesting that we were paired together in this crazy show. When we met, there was this instant chemistry but it was not a sexual chemistry. It was not necessarily about the acting, but rather about what we can do outside of it. I think we both really believed that. It is really nice to have someone on the show who genuinely wants to do good with the platform she has.”
With his production company sailing and his longstanding character “Rafael” firmly entrenched in the show for many episodes to come, life is looking pretty good for Justin at the moment. Of course, that is completely and utterly down to the two most important females in his life.
“Fatherhood is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me besides my wife [Emily]. It has been such an incredible journey. Maiya [his daughter] comes everywhere with me, that is part of the deal. I am running a couple of companies and I am also acting so my wife and daughter come to as many things as they possibly can. I am working for them and I am also working for the good of the world but for me, family is what keeps me going. Quality time with them is more important than anything.”
Justin is a rare, genuine and selfless soul. His values encapsulate everything people should aspire to be and aim to achieve. He is a true inspiration.

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photography TJ MANOU www.tjmanou.com
styling FRANZY STAEDTER www.franzystaedter.com
groomer PATRICK CHAI for Exclusive Artists Management using American Crew
photo assistant PANAS WIWATPANACHAT

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PASSION PLAYER
quick questions with JUSTIN BALDONI
by MICHELLE GANNEY

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YOUR FAVOURITE QUOTE
Justin Baldoni: “Where there is love, nothing is too much trouble and there is always time.”

LIFE ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO YOUR DAUGHTER, MAIYA
JB: I would say put God first, before anything and everything and through that you will find the answer.

YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF EMILY
Emily and I sort of had two different meetings. The first was when we met at this party for a movie that she did, which was actually a re-make of a movie that I did. I remember looking at her, her having a boyfriend at the time, and I remember thinking she was beautiful, of course, but I had a girlfriend at the time. So there was nothing there. Then, five years later, we reconnected when we were both single, and I remember looking at her, and as beautiful as she is, I remember just thinking, “Wow. That’s the kind of woman I want to be with”. It was one of the first times, as a 27-year-old guy, that I looked at a woman and [I] just felt there was so much more that I wanted to figure out. I was so attracted to her soul, it did not matter how hot she was. That was kind of my first impression of her.

MOST MEMORABLE BIRTHDAY
I would have to say last year because we did the first ever Homeless Carnival. I asked all my friends, family and people to come to this Carnival, which we threw in one of the worst places in the country. For me, I feel like birthdays should be about celebrating others, like our parents, our friends and people less fortunate. I just thought that if every single human being on the planet gave to someone else on their birthday, then we would have a very different world. Last year, we had 300 volunteers, and it was not about feeding them or clothing them, it was about connecting. People were dancing. They were singing, they were playing, there was a rock climbing wall, people were connecting, hugging, eating and for me that’s what it is all about. In the middle of my birthday, I was looking around and I saw all these amazing souls and I could not tell who was helping who. That was the most memorable birthday I’ve ever had and I want to do it again this year.

Below an exclusive outtake of Justin and his beautiful daughter Mayai!

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About The Author

Stephane Marquet
Creative Director

First of all, excuse my French! … I was born in the South of France. Lived in Paris for 10 years and travelled the world until I moved to Los Angeles in 2008, because obviously recession was a great time to move to a new country! I also arrived around Halloween and was greeted at the Social Security offices by a nurse who directed to the window Number 6 so a witch could hand me my social security number. Welcome to America. I am a painter, a photographer and the creative director of BELLO mag.

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