Milo Ventimiglia is one of the stars of the hit drama series This Is Us and many fans know him as the character Jess from Gilmore Girls. And, for those living under a rock, he’s also recognizable from his many shows and films over the years. But, Ventimiglia has other loves outside of acting and one of them is motorcycles. This Is Us starts filming again in July 2019 but while it is on hiatus, Ventimiglia is enjoying life and has also teamed up with Harley-Davidson on a project. Speaking with Ventimiglia, he’s as warm, genuine and enthusiastic as one would hope. In our interview below, get to know more about Ventimiglia, his motorcycle project and why you should name your baby boy Milo.
MILO: How’s your day going?
HEAVY: Good. I’m about 7 months pregnant, so just waddling around.
MILO: Wow! Boy or girl?!
HEAVY: It’s a boy. We may name him Milo (chuckling).
MILO: It is the number one, most popular name for boys this year (energetically). My dad told me. Or, you could just name the boy Harley, middle name Davidson.
HEAVY: Harley is a really cool name, to be honest.
MILO: Harley is actually a rad name. He’d be a strong and respectful kid who’s not afraid to break a few rules but is an honorable kid (joking).
HEAVY: So, since we’re talking about Harleys, how did you get involved with Harley-Davidson to begin with?
MILO: I was a consumer. I’ve always been a fan of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and when I started riding, about 12-13 years ago, I knew that the first bike I wanted to buy was going to be a Harley-Davidson. Then, one bike turned into two bikes, turned into three or four. A few years ago, Harley then reached out and wanted to strike up a better relationship. So now, I get to really be considered part of the team, which is nice. It just all started out of a love for Harley-Davidson.
HEAVY: As someone who doesn’t know much about motorcycles, I feel like Harley Harley-Davidson is the brand everyone knows.
MILO: Well, if you ever want to learn how to ride, they have a riders academy and everything … It takes you from the classroom to the road … [Harley-Davidson] is an American institution … being the kind of the leader of American-made motorcycles, I think it’s just a brand that everyone identifies and they know … For me, it’s the styling of the bike, it’s the ride, and the technology in the bikes … pushing the limits of engineering.
HEAVY: So, tell me about what you’re working on with them right now.
MILO: They have a custom bike-building competition that is now global, called “Battle of the Kings”. Local dealers are working with local trade schools, to create custom bikes that will go into the competition … People can vote on the bikes online from April 15th – May 15th, 2019. They will narrow them down to about 40 bikes and then go in on a bigger competition, to see who is the king of the competition. What I love about it is, all of my Harleys have been customized, and it’s all personal … This is Harley’s way of building that next generation of mechanics.
HEAVY: Well, between this and other projects, clearly, you are insanely busy.
MILO: It’s funny. I’m actually busier when I’m on hiatus than when I’m on the show [This Is Us].
MILO: Yeah. When you’re on the show, you’ve got your five days a week that you work, you bring your work home and you learn your lines, think about your character, but it’s pretty much clocking into one job. When that job is on break, I’ve got … family and friends, other projects, or producing endeavors, or teaming up with Harley-Davidson, or taking a trip, or home repairs. Things like that all stack up and then it feels like filming a TV show seven months out of the year is a little bit of a vacation.
HEAVY: So then, are you counting down the minutes ’til you start filming [This Is Us] again?
MILO: I’m totally enjoying my break but I do look forward to going back to the show in July … This is the first hiatus I’m kind of taking a break.
HEAVY: So you can spend time riding your Harley. (laughs)
MILO: Yeah, I have some trips I’m hoping to do while I’m on break.
HEAVY: Well, one thing that I think is just awesome about you, work-wise, is that you’ve just been a part of these projects that truly touch viewers, from This Is Us to Gilmore Girls. What’s it like to be a part of shows that really hold special places in the hearts of people?
MILO: It gives me a deep satisfaction … When I have someone walking up to me and talking about how they want to be a better father because they saw the way Jack [from This Is Us] was with his kids or a better husband … It’s always encouraging to me. It’s exciting. It also makes me feel like we, the creative team at This Is Us, have done such a good job with Jack, that he’s a role model, even though he’s completely fictional … Or, same thing with Gilmore Girls or Heroes, or any jobs that I’ve done … the art impacts real life.
HEAVY: Well, just so you know, I’m picturing Jess [from Gilmore Girls] raising the baby with Rory, so …
MILO: (laughs) There you go!
Milo is judging Harley-Davidson’s “Battle of the Kings” – the largest dealer custom bike build competition in the world. From April 15, 2019 through May 15, 2019, fans can help Milo by voting for their favorite custom builds at H-D.com/BattleOfTheKings.
And, for those unfamiliar, the spoiler at the end of the Gilmore Girls Netflix revival is that Rory Gilmore tells her mother she’s pregnant. Jess is Rory’s ex-boyfriend, who casts an adoring look her way, in a scene before Rory’s confession.