The Cover That Gave Fabio His Father’s Approval

Jeffery Newbury/TV Guide/Everett Collection

In the 1990s, Fabio was everywhere. If you were looking at romance novels, many of them showcased his long, flowing locks and chiseled bod. He started appearing in movies and television shows and even got his own clothing line and hair care products. We cannot forget those iconic I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter ads.

Now, Fabio, whose full name is Fabio Lanzoni, recalls the first time he was recognized in public. He was dancing at a Miami club in 1987 when a group of women came up to him and wanted a photo. They showed him novels and he revealed, “I go like, ‘Oh my God, that’s me.’ It was the first time I saw myself on the cover of the books.”

Acapulco H.E.A.T Fabio 1993

All American Television/Everett Collection

A few years later in 1993, Fabio recalls being asked to be on the cover of PEOPLE. He said of the shoot in Hawaii, “I loved that shoot, I was treated like a king! It’s one of my best memories of that time in my life.” Now at 65 years old, he is looking back on his career fondly and shared how the cover of PEOPLE finally got his father’s approval.

He shared, “My father was a very conservative man. He called me a mannequin, ‘You don’t want to be a mannequin,’ he would say. For him, the entire modeling industry was not for men.” He added that his father wanted him to follow in his footsteps of becoming a mechanical engineer and was very hurt when he left Italy to pursue modeling. However, when the PEOPLE cover came out, his father changed his tune.

Actor Fabio Lanzoni on the #IMDboat at San Diego Comic-Con 2017 at The IMDb Yacht on July 21, 2017 in San Diego, California

Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for IMDb

Fabio explained, “For the first time in my life, my father said to me, ‘Fabio, I’m wrong.’ My father was never wrong, so I couldn’t believe when he said, ‘You really made it, I’m very proud of you. I was wrong and you were right.’ He said, ‘I’m so proud of you. You made it.’ That was to me, it was the best reward.”

February 2021
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February 2021

1990s Rom-Coms

Pop some popcorn and cozy up to feel-good movies and TV shows from a generation ago.

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