INTERVIEW

Rory Gibson Is Thrilled To Call Y&R Home

While growing up in Bakersfield, CA, Rory Gibson believed his love for feature films would be the closest he would ever get to the entertainment business. “I was always the movie buff in my community of friends and family,” the actor notes. “I knew all of the names of the actors, directors and even producers of any movie. I was really invested in film at an early age, but in Bakersfield, there’s not much of an outlet for acting. Even when I would visit my dad, San Pedro was detached from L.A., so acting was never something I thought was a feasible thing for me. I never really considered it, I just knew I had a genuine love for film and I really admired acting.”

Gibson knew a life in academics wasn’t in the cards when high school barely kept his attention. “I was the student all of the teachers enjoyed but would get frustrated with,” the actor shares. “I was the goof who messed around in class, but I was respectful, so I kind of charmed the teachers. They all liked me but I was always in trouble, too, and they never got really mad. It was more like, ‘Dang it, Rory, you’ve gotta stop doing that, bud.’ My grades were good — when I tried. I did well academically, but I had such a lack of interest in pretty much all subjects.”

That sentiment continued after graduation, but not for long. “I moved to Fullerton [CA] to attend junior college, where I just wanted to get my associates degree and maybe go to UC Irvine, even though I had no idea what I wanted to do,” he explains. “I had to fill a credit and there was just one class available and it was a theater class. I always thought acting would be cool, so I took the class and I really dug it. I remember thinking, ‘This feels kind of great actually.’ My teacher, Stephanie Keefer, suggested, ‘You should look into doing this.’ ”

Gibson took the advice to heart. “I dropped out of school, much to the dismay of both my parents, but they were supportive of me pursuing something I felt passionate about,” he recalls. “My girlfriend was already living in Los Angeles, so I moved in with her and just tried to figure out what I needed to do.”

Gibson’s significant other is fashion model Alicia Ruelas, his high school sweetheart. “I was 16 and she was 15 when we met,” he smiles. “We actually went to different high schools in Bakersfield and when we met, we ended up having a great conversation. I remember thinking, ‘Wow, this girl is really cool.’ We had only known each other a week when I decided I would ask her to be my girlfriend. I did and she said yes. We’re very similar and we easily melded together. She got scouted as a model while she was still in Bakersfield and she moved to L.A. and was working as a model. She moved to London for a little while, then she was living in Milan and then Greece and it turned into this huge career, and 10 years later, we’re still together.”

Once the couple was cohabitating, it was Gibson’s turn to forge a career in his newly chosen vocation. “I had no idea where to start,” he admits. “So, I figured I’d take an acting class and meet people who could teach me to act because I didn’t know what I was doing. I hoped that would then point me in the right direction of how to get auditions and representation because I had zero connections. I started training at Ivana Chubbuck Studio and that helped build my confidence. After that, I got discovered online by Jon Simmons, who reached out to me and asked me to send him a tape of my acting. After watching it, he said, ‘You need a lot of work but I think there’s something we can work with here.’ He brought me into his acting classes and became my manager. I got a couple of credits under my belt and in 2017, I was lucky to book this weird sci-fi movie [Watch Jessica Die] in Las Vegas for two months.”

At that point, Gibson assumed the offers would start rolling in (“I was blissfully ignorant”), but his movie was never released and, “I didn’t book another job until the following year,” he winces. Three more films failed to launch him into the showbiz stratosphere. Then came the work stoppage of the Covid shutdown. As Hollywood production started to resume, Y&R popped up on his radar. Gibson landed the role of Nick and Sharon’s firstborn despite showing up at the audition with a black eye. “I got kicked at Muay Thai while sparring,” he groans. “I thought it would ruin the audition but everyone was cool with it.”

Gibson learned as much as he could about his character — “He’s definitely a resilient dude” — but stopped short of watching past shows. “I know [predecessor] Robert Adamson did an incredible job but I wanted to make something that was my own, especially since this is the biggest thing I’ve ever done thus far and my first time on TV,” he explains.

Which is why Gibson is grateful for the leeway he’s been given in bringing Noah to life. “I was nervous because I assumed, especially because I was a recast, there would be an exact way they would want me to do this, and it’s been the exact opposite,” he marvels. “They’ve given me a ton of freedom to explore and do what I want with Noah. I was told that he comes back with a newfound confidence and edge to him, so I get to be a little intense and cool. He’s been living in London for five years and a lot can happen in that time. Heck, I wasn’t even acting five years ago!”

Gibson’s first soap job “has been everything that I hoped it would be, and nothing that I was worried it would be,” he enthuses. “Everyone has been so cool and any kind of fear coming into it has been absolutely eradicated. I’ve been having a great time, and I feel like I have this whole new set of friends that are already starting to feel like family. And now I can call myself a working actor!”

Just The Facts

Birthday: November 22

Born In: Long Beach, CA

Back & Forth: “I moved to Bakersfield with my mom when I was 4, and I grew up bouncing between there and San Pedro, where my dad lived.”

In Between: “My older brother [Keith] and I have the same dad, so in that situation I’m the younger brother. And then my younger brother and sister [Zander and Lena] and I share the same mom and in that dynamic, I’m the older brother. So, I’ve got the whole sibling spectrum.”

Hero Worship: His late father, Gary Gibson, was a professional football player. “He played with the [San Francisco] 49ers for two years and then for the Boston Breakers in the United States Football League until that disbanded. He then went to a kickboxing gym in San Jose called AKA, which is now hugely successful and has produced some UFC [Ultimate Fighting Championship] champions and my dad was one of the original six guys from there.”

One Of The Good Guys: While working as a fitness instructor for Barry’s Bootcamp, he interacted with many celebrities. “Josh Duhamel [ex-Leo, ALL MY CHILDREN] is an absolute sweetheart. When he had to leave early, he would always shake my hand and thank me.”

Stars Shine

How much does Gibson love his co-stars? Let him count the ways.

Joshua Morrow (Nick): “Josh is so chill. I’ve never seen someone be more relaxed and ready to go in front of the camera like him. He brings a good vibe to the set.”

Sharon Case (Sharon): “She has such a genuine quality to her and you know she cares about what you’re saying. She’s a sweet, sweet lady.”

Peter Bergman (Jack): “Peter is a gem of a human being. I’m bummed because I haven’t had a scene with him in a while, but every time I see him, I get so stoked.”

Cait Fairbanks (Tessa): “I absolutely adore Cait. In a very short while, she has become a close friend and we’re already sharing secrets. Any day that I get to work with Cait is a good day.”

Camryn Grimes (Mariah): “Camryn is awesome. We have that brother/sister dynamic, where Noah and Mariah are messing with each other, but you still see a sweetness between them, and it’s the same off camera with us.”

Reylynn Caster (Faith): “Reylynn is really cool and sweet. We’ve never lacked in conversation and she’s so wise. When she told me she was 18 I said, ‘Wow, you’re the smartest teenager I’ve ever met.’ ”

Hunter King (ex-Summer): “Hunter is so bubbly and friendly. She was one of the first people I had scenes with and she made me feel extremely welcomed.”

Michael Mealor (ex-Kyle): “I couldn’t tell you one bad thing about Michael. He’s a great dude. He texted me a couple of days ago about grabbing a coffee.”

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