PEOPLE's Hottest Bachelor Mario Lopez Talks Dating

06/18/2008 at 09:00 AM EDT

PEOPLE's Hottest Bachelor Mario Lopez Talks Dating
Mario Lopez
Brian Doben

Mario Lopez

Mario Lopez

Mario Lopez may be PEOPLE's Hottest Bachelor – but the A Chorus Line star and fitness buff has a shocking admission: He was a chubby baby. "I looked like a sumo wrestler," Lopez says in a new interview. "My mom had to pull the fat folds apart when she bathed me!" But that's all in his past.

As fans know, Lopez has mined his love of fitness to create his own book, Mario Lopez's Knockout Fitness. The exercise guru, who is recently single, says that a full slate of projects has kept him off the dating market but that hasn't stopped him from thinking about dating completely.

"I like a girl who's from a modest sort of upbringing, because it's more relatable," he says, explaining what he looks for in a potential girlfriend. "I'm a first-generation American. My parents [Elvia and Mario Sr.] emigrated from Mexico and live in the same house I grew up in Chula Vista, Calif. I'd feel weird if the girl was a little too uppity or affluent, because I'm a very down-home kind of guy."

For the lucky ladies who do manage to snag a date, expect to be flexible. "I like to go to a place in Koreatown in L.A. where they have private karaoke," he says of his favorite date activity. "It's a great place to bring a girl and see how she reacts. If she rolls with the punches and has a good time, then I'm like, 'All right, this girl is cool!'"

Mario bares all in the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday – be sure to pick one up!

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