For someone in the profession of assuming other identities, actor Adamo Ruggiero's career so far seems to nicely mirror his own personal philosophies.
He's currently hosting YTV's kids talent show The Next Star, which will select six contestants to participate in a summer boot camp for young singers. Even those who don't make the cut get constructive advice from the judges – with no Simon Cowell-esque barbs for these under-15s.
Ruggiero relishes the opportunity to share his experiences as a child star with the hopeful contestants, softening the blow to those who aren't selected with his winning charm as well as his own tales of rejection. "I related to the kids, because when I was small I didn't know where to start or what to do. It was a huge trial and error process," he said during a recent interview with TV, eh? on Blogtalkradio. "We're trying to give the kids a head start."
His first major acting role, playing Marco on Degrassi: The Next Generation, launched Ruggiero's own star. However, he points out the difference between the stardom faced by the actors from, say, Beverly Hills, 90210 – which is what he grew up watching, not the previous incarnations of Degrassi – and the more tempered stardom he and his castmates experience, particularly in Canada.
"Instead of doing the covers of big magazines, we're speaking to kids directly about stuff that actually matters," he said, alluding to the educational mandate of the show.
His time on Degrassi has allowed him to represent the "coming-out process as a young person in this new millennium" in a fictional storyline that has similarities to Ruggiero's real-life story. "Marco has been so defining in my life," said the actor who came out publicly earlier this year, becoming an advocate for related issues he believes in.