90 Day Fiance Star Gino Opens Up About His Before The 90 Days Romance - Exclusive Interview

From the threats of catfishing to the challenges of trying to meet people in bars to being set up with friends of friends that you hardly know, dating can be challenging. It can be even more of a daunting undertaking after a previous relationship has gone awry, and anyone who's tried to date in either 2020 or 2021 knows that a global pandemic doesn't exactly help. What if we told you that a 51-year-old engineer from Michigan faced all these hurdles and combatted them while being filmed? Yep, Gino — an automotive engineer from Canton — took on all of these challenges and then some, and his journey to find love was caught on camera for the "90 Day Fiancé" spin-off show "90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days." 

Gino's romantic life began to change after he got divorced from his wife of seven years, who happened to be from Brazil. Proclaiming that he's been interested in international dating before, Gino set his sights on getting back into the dating game and met Jasmine, a 34-year-old teacher from Panama City, Panama. Gino sat down with The List for an exclusive interview in which he discussed everything from his first impression of Jasmine to his serious fandom of the "90 Day Fiancé" franchise.

Gino was a fan of 90 Day Fiancé before he went on the show

So I did some homework and read a little bit about your "90 Day" experience from what we can glean before the show starts. I'd love to talk to you about your background, about what brought you to the camera, and so I had some questions mostly about kind of how this all came about with Jasmine. Because she's American, correct? But living in Panama? Or do I have that wrong?

Yeah. She's Panamanian. And lives in Panama.

And you're divorced and going through this whole process. So, kind of going back to the beginning, what motivated you to want to be on camera? To share your love on camera like this?

Yeah, right. Well actually, Jasmine is the one that applied for the show.


It was her and not me.

What did you say when she told you?

I was kind of surprised. Like, "Oh really? No kidding." And I guess kind of at first I was kind of hesitant about the whole thing. And then I did some research on it, and I was like, "Yeah, this could be pretty fun. This could be pretty good." And so my interest level kept growing and growing.

What was it about the franchise that kind of captured your attention?

Oh, but I was always interested in the "90 Day Fiancé" story because I went through the process myself once in the past.

Yes. Your first wife was Brazilian, correct?

Yeah. My first wife was Brazilian, and I brought her to USA on a fiancé visa.

Oh, okay. So this was ...

Very similar to the show.

Yeah. This was similar territory for you.

But I kind of knew the process going in. And so that was had my interest. But I was watching "90 Day Fiancé" before she even applied for us on the show. I was a fan before that.

Was Gino nervous to be on camera for the first time?

What was it like kind of going from viewer and fan to then all of a sudden being on the other side of the camera?

So I mean, it was shocking. I mean I was like, "Wow, I never thought I would end up in this situation that I would be on '90 Day Fiancé!'" But it happened, and it's exciting. And at first, I was a little bit, "I don't know." Kind of, "Do I want to do this?" And then the more I thought about it and did some research on it, I got ... My excitement grew pretty quick.

Absolutely. And so what was it like just being on a reality show for the first time and making that adjustment?

Yeah, so it was hard at first. It was my first time and so I was kind of like ... It was all new for me and I felt like kind of a rookie. It was just all new to me and ... But it was a good learning experience and stuff. It just took me a little time to get comfortable with it.

Yeah. Having a camera follow you all the time.

Yeah. Having a camera following me and stuff and just doing scenes and stuff on camera. That was all new for me. So I just, I kind of adapted to it pretty quickly, I think. And became more comfortable with it. But it took some time.

Did you find yourself trying to bring your most authentic self to the camera? Or were you really aware of, "Oh, there's a camera following me. I should not say this or that, or behave like this?" What was that like?

Well, I think it was a little more difficult in the beginning. Right when I started, I was a little bit more nervous about it. But then, I think I quickly adapted to it and I just was myself really. I just was myself and just let it go and let it flow.


I just wanted to be myself, you know?

What I think what TLC does really well is reality television, but that it's real people that we all relate to and ...

Yeah. Real couples going through real issues.

Mm-hmm. Definitely.


What connected Gino and Jasmine initially?

And so, correct me if I'm wrong, but you met Jasmine on a dating site, correct?

Yes. I met Jasmine on a dating site. Yes — international section of it.

Okay. So then what was that initial part of your relationship like? Just communicating via messaging?

Yeah. Well so, to be honest, we kind of met by a miracle. Because her ad that she had on the dating site, she did not even put up there. Her friend put her ad up. Her friend put her ad up, and she was like a few days away from deleting her ad. And so I ... Well, she was only a few days away from deleting it, and then I messaged her and connected with her.

And one thing led to another?

Yeah. So I was able to connect with her, but she was close to deleting it.

That's wild. And so, of course, it worked to the point where you ... Had you gone to Panama to see her in the early stages of your relationship? What was that like before you came to the show?

Oh, so we video chatted and messaged each other for nine months or so prior to the show.

That's a lot of time. What was that like? Was everything okay? Were there jealousies? Were there tears? I mean, maintaining a relationship when you're in the same room with someone is hard enough, let alone when there's thousands of miles in between you.

Yeah. I don't know. We had a strong bond initially and stuff. And we got to know each other pretty well over nine months. So, I mean, it was ... I don't know. We just got to know each other really good, and we didn't really have any big, huge drama and fights or anything in that nine months. There wasn't anything major. For the most part, we got along.

That's good. And that's great because it's not just a relationship via messaging and videos. It's long distance. It's a time difference. There are so many different components that can make a relationship hard even just from the onset. So you kind of threw some hurdles at your new relationship from the get-go, it seems.

Yeah. Yeah, so we had nine months of knowing each other prior to the show. So, at least we got to know each other pretty good.


And so that was good.

Gino's relationship with Jasmine helped him through the pandemic

And so when you decided that you were going to go on the show and pursue another international relationship, what did your family and friends think of this new chapter of your life? What's it been like kind of navigating that?

Well, I think my family and friends, they were kind of really questioning, "Are you really going to do this?" And, "Are you going to go meet someone? You just met them online, you're going to go meet them in a different country? You don't even really know them." They were concerned about my safety. "Is this person setting you up?"

Yeah, absolutely.

"Is this person real?"

Especially since they've seen you go through a divorce before. I'm sure there was ... They wanted to guard you a little bit.

Yeah. So my family [is] really cautious and concerned for my safety probably mostly. And like, "Oh, you just met this person online, and you're going to go travel and meet them in a different country and ..." Yeah. I like to take risks!

And there's an interesting timing element of it as well. Because then, of course, we had a pandemic thrown in here, so ... It's not like you could really meet people in the traditional means of going to a restaurant or a bar or mutual friends.


It completely changed the dating game, for sure.

Yeah. The pandemic, I'm glad you mentioned it. Because we kind of met like just before the pandemic happened, so we supported each other through the pandemic.

I'm sure that was really helpful.

And that was huge because that was a hard time for everybody. But we supported each other, and so that was nice. That we always support each other and get through that pandemic together.

A lot of people didn't have that kind of support system, so I'm sure that was really nice just to have someone check in at the end of the day, say, "How are you doing? How's life?" It's just, it's the small things that make a big difference.

Oh yeah, absolutely. I totally agree. So yeah, that was a huge bonus to support each other through the pandemic like that and stuff. Because that was a hard time for everybody.


This is when Gino and Jasmine met in person for the first time

And I know the pandemic obviously shut down a lot of international travel, so ... When were you able to meet for the first time in person? 

Well, I actually had plans to meet her that the summer, the summer of 2020. But the Panama International Airport got shut down because of the pandemic. And they shut that down for a while, so I wasn't able to go meet her. The pandemic shut us down for a while on that one.


Your question was, when did I meet her or ...

For the first time, in person.

For the first time? So that was Christmas of 2020.

I bet that was a really special time.

That was. It was cool to meet her. We spoke for nine months. We spoke for a long time. Video chat, texting. Day and night. So, there was a lot of build up over the nine months. And then we finally meet in person, and it was really cool.

I bet there was a sense of relief.

Just finally face to face.

Like, "Finally." Right?

Finally we can meet face to face, and we don't have to do it on the video chat and stuff. And, "Here you really are. This is what you really look like. And this is who you really are." And that was really cool.

What was it about her that initially grabbed your attention when you first started dating? Or when you saw her online profile?

Oh, you mean when I [had] seen her profile?

Yeah. What was it about her that you were like, "Oh, I want to know more about this person."

Well, the profile was kind of ... There wasn't too much detail. Maybe because her friend created it. Her friend created her profile. It was pretty basic. So it wasn't too much detail on her, but she had a very friendly smile and she was beautiful. And the things I read about her were positive in the profile, I know that. I can't remember exactly, but it was positive and she had a great smile, and so why not try to meet her?

And then as you started talking and then obviously once you met in person, what was it about her that you just knew, "Oh, this is someone I want to try to see things through with"?

Well, she's a really caring person. And she's got a really fun personality. She's very fun. She's a passionate Latina. She is super fun and [has] just a good personality. And that's what attracted me to her initially. So, that's what attracted me to her initially, you know?

Yeah, absolutely. And, that kind of compatible personality is always so needed. Especially when you are just talking via text or video for so long.


Is Gino interested in starting a family?

What's been one of your favorite things that you have done with her thus far?

One of my favorite things I've done that we've done together? Let me think. I know meeting her for the first time, that was like, hanging out with her, just for that full day. That was probably the best thing, the very first day I met her, because it was such a build-up to that point. Aand so that to me, just hanging out with her and getting to know her in person like that on the very first day was the best day for me.

That's really sweet. And I know that you have shared that you are really hoping to have a family. What has that been like for you kind of knowing that could potentially be on the horizon?

Well, I mean, I guess I'll have to watch a show for that one. [Laughs]

Yeah, I know. I'm trying to get stuff out of you guys!

You'll have to watch a show to see if ... it turns out that way. But kids is something that I would be interested in in my future. I mean, I guess I could answer it that way for you. I would be interested in having kids one day. With the right person.

And I know that we talked a little bit about COVID. So kind of with that in mind, and then now talking a little bit more about the show specifically, what was the production element of the show like for you? Kind of talk me through a day in the life of filming.

Well, I mean, I can say that it was a great experience for me because I never experienced it before. But for me, it was an awesome experience because I've never done it before, so it was exciting and new. And it was just an awesome experience overall.


I can say that. But yeah, I mean, I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to have that experience to do something like this.

And to share your love with potentially millions of people who are going to tune in and watch. That must be kind of a wild thing to think about.

Yeah. It's going to be awesome for everyone to see our story because it's going to be very exciting. So, it's been a rollercoaster.

Gino keeps up with his fellow 90 Day Fiancé franchise stars

And have you thought about the magnitude of the franchise, and how many millions of people are going to potentially know who you are?

Yeah. That's exciting. I've actually done some research on that, and I was looking at that. I didn't realize the "90 Day" show is actually shown in pretty much every country, I think. That's pretty huge.


That's pretty awesome. To think about, "Oh my God, this show is going to be on in every country of the world."

It's pretty wild.

Pretty awesome to think about it. I mean, if you just think about the USA, that's pretty awesome in itself. But now, think about this being on in China or Japan, Europe, in South America. That's pretty awesome.

It definitely opens so many different kinds of doors.

Yeah. Yeah, it does. It does. And it's just really awesome to think about. I didn't really realize like how big the audience would be.

"90 Days" has turned people into bona fide stars in their own right, especially within the reality scene. I'm thinking of like, I mean obviously Big Ed comes to mind. I got to talk to him, which was really fun. But Elizabeth and Andrei. And then there's the "90 Day" game show with Suki that was held over the summer. There's so many different facets that you could be entering into potentially, which, I'm sure is exciting.

Yeah, it makes it really exciting. And I'll have to be honest: I do keep up with the what's going on with all the cast members. I've done a lot of research on them. Like on a daily base. So I keep up with what's going on and what are the other cast members that have done the show? What are they experiencing? What are they doing, and how is it affecting their life? How is the show affecting their life, I mean. Current cast members and people that have already done the show. So it's all interesting.

Well you're entering a really prominent community of people who all have such a unique shared experience really.

Yeah. Yeah. It's like one big ... It's like joining a family, kind of.


The "90 Day" family, right? So it's pretty cool. Yeah. I'm excited about it.

This is Gino's advice when it comes to finding international love

What would be your biggest piece of advice for people who haven't found that special love yet? You've had an up and down international experience. What would you tell people who are looking for something special themselves?

Well, I mean, I think me personally, I think the power of the internet is ... It can help you find someone, the power of the internet. I would suggest people to use it to their advantage. But if you're interested in international women, I was just going to a dating site with [an] international section, and try to connect with someone and go meet them. And take the risk. Because it can pay off in the end.

Absolutely. High risk, high reward.

It can also go bad, but take a chance if you're into international women. Some people are, some people aren't. Some people are happy with meeting someone in the States here. But I think using that dating site can really help you out finding someone.

Definitely. Well, and it's one of those things as well like you said ...

And make a connection.

It could go wrong, right? But it could also go wrong with someone who lives down the street with you, so you might as well give it a shot.

Yeah. Give it a shot. And if you like international women, gosh, definitely use the dating site with the international section and try to make a connection. Why not? It's not hard to do. All you need is that small connection.


Gino shared that he 'lives, eats, and sleeps' the 90 Day franchise

So one of the things that we do is that we ask people, especially in the reality scene, we ask them a couple of questions that are all the same, just generally just to kind of get a consensus. So one of the first questions I wanted to ask you is if you have a reality TV show this year that you've really enjoyed watching?

You know my answer on that one! "90 Day Fiancé!" I mean, of course. I mean, I watch all the "90 Day" shows. I'm a big fan of the show. Besides being a cast member, I love the show and watch it every day.

And kind of with that then, is there a favorite celebrity couple or even franchise couple that stands out to you?

Well, I mean, most recently I like Jovi and Yara. They were cool. I watched. I mean, their story was cool. Fun, exciting. And David and Annie. They're a pretty cool couple too.


Who else? Big Ed was interesting too.

He is such a character. He's so fun. So, yeah. Those are questions that we always ask people just to kind of get a sense of what you like to watch and do outside of the show, and outside of the subjects that we're talking about.

Yeah, thank you. Yeah, no problem. I live, eat, and sleep "90 Day."

There you go! Is there anything that you want to share with me that I didn't ask? Anything that you think that we left out? Are you feeling pretty good? Did we cover everything?

Yeah. I felt that was a good conversation.


To share some stuff, yeah. It's awesome.

The new season of "90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days" premieres Sunday, December 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on TLC and discovery+.