I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that when I met Alfonso Ribeiro, I had the song "It's Not Unusual" by Tom Jones stuck in my head. But can you really blame me? Though he's an accomplished actor, director, and TV host, Ribeiro is probably best known as Carlton Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and his dance from that TV show, now lovingly known as the Carlton, is iconic. The show ended decades ago, but Ribeiro never stopped dancing; he won the nineteenth season of ABC's Dancing With The Stars. He even brought those famous moves to New York City to help launch Kellogg's new Let Your Great Out campaign, joined by a surprisingly nimble Tony the Tiger who can both talk and tap dance now. Seriously.
Ribeiro is also a father of three, who clearly loves his kids and firmly believes in encouraging them to be the best they can be. That's why he joined up with Kellogg's as they launch this new campaign to help tweens feel comfortable with expressing themselves. "Let Your Great Out is such a great—and I know we use the word 'great' a lot—but it really is a—and I'll switch it up—a wonderful campaign," he explained, "because it is so much about making these kids feel special and making them feel supported and encouraged to be themselves."
Ribeiro's also got a soft spot for cereal, especially the sugary stuff. "Froot Loops was like, for me, the one. It was a treat." And for him, the more cereal, the better. "I was one of those guys that used to have the mega-bowl. A regular bowl wasn't good enough, in my young adult years," he laughed.
These days, Ribeiro is more of a "eggs, bacon, toast, fruit guy," but I asked him about his favorite Trinidadian breakfasts from his childhood, riding to auditions on the front of his dad's motorcycle when he was in elementary school, and what lessons he wants his kids to learn today.
Extra Crispy: How do you like your bacon?
Alfonso Ribeiro: Not crispy. I like it chewy. I like it, like, just done.
Oh, so like borderline raw?
Like borderline. Which is funny, because with every other form of my life, all meats, I want it cooked well. But bacon? I don't want it to go crisp. I want it to be a little chewy. I have no idea why I like it like that. Like, if the fat on the bacon is fully cooked through? I think you've missed the point. The fat on it is the taste. So sometimes, when it's extra crispy, they cooked it out. Nah, you missed it! That's me. I get it when other people want it crispy, but I'm like, eh. It's really about that.
You have three kids, so what do you make your kids for breakfast? I know your daughter's a tween and two young ones.
Yes, the itty bitty one—Well, actually, both the little ones, it's mostly cereal. They might do some oatmeal or something like that, but mostly, my older son will pretty much only eat, right now, all he'll eat is oatmeal for breakfast. But the little, little one actually has much broader taste buds. He'll eat some eggs, he'll eat some cereal. We mix it up with him. The other dude is like, nah. Milk, oatmeal. Done. Done.
What does your daughter like to eat for breakfast?
She doesn't really eat a lot of breakfast, but for her, it's mostly cereal. Cereal's her go-to breakfast food. We'll go out every once in a while and go to a restaurant or something, and there'll be French toast or pancakes, and she's like, "Nah, what cereals do you guys have?"
How do you like your cereal, besides in large quantities?
A little almond milk, I'm an almond milk guy. I definitely love throwing in some bananas and strawberries in there. The Frosted Flakes, banana and strawberry. Sometimes I throw a little vanilla almond milk in there, spice it up a little bit. But that's pretty much how I like it.
And I have to ask about you this because you mentioned it in the press conference, but you used to ride on the front of your dad's motorcycle?
So obviously on a motorcycle, you would normally ride behind, but being so small my entire childhood and life, the safest place for me to ride on his motorcycle was between his arms because then he had full control of me, and I would just hold onto the handlebars as if I was driving it. And he would have his arms on the actual grips, and what's interesting is, I feel like me riding like that taught me how to ride, because I rode motorcycles after that for a while. I no longer do, with the kids. I was like, "Eh, maybe I don't ride."
And him picking me up from school at, like, 3 p.m., and having a 3:30 p.m. audition down in the city, what way are you going to get into the city in a car that's actually going to get you to the audition? Well, you couldn't. So we'd hop on the bike, bam, we were in the city quick, because you could go through.
You must've been the coolest middle schooler.
I was very cool. No, that was grade school! That wasn't even middle school, that was grade school.
You also mentioned that your dad was super supportive and taught you a lot and you want to pass those lessons onto your kids as well. Are there any breakfast you want to pass down to your kids, too?
My family's from Trinidad and Tobago, so there are foods from Trinidad—roti and bake and buss-up-shot, things of that nature that I learned from my parents that I love even today. Problem is, in Los Angeles, you can't get Trinidadian food. You can get Jamaican, which is a very different curry, so it's hard to find the true Trinidadian food while being in L.A. So I have to wait until I go to my parents' house to really get it, or when I go to Trinidad.
What do you think the role of breakfast is in creating a supportive environemnt?
I think breakfast is a great way to start. For me, mealtime, as an overall, is a time for families to get together, and that sit down time and talking in the morning and having breakfast together is super important. It's that time before you send your kid off into the world, or school or with their friends, to empower them is really important. And breakfast time is a wonderful way to connect with your kids.