Wilmer Valderrama opens up about the 'remarkable' opportunity of joining the cast of 'NCIS'

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Wilmer Valderrama Joins 'NCIS' as Series Regular

By: Gibson Johns

Wilmer Valderrama is on a roll. Having finished a high-profile stint on the twelfth season of Shonda Rhimes' premiere show, "Grey's Anatomy," the actor will now be headed to CBS' juggernaut, "NCIS," as a series regular.

The announcement that Valderrama would be joining the show came weeks after Michael Weatherly left the No. 1 show on television. Stepping into Weatherby's shoes is something that Valderrama acknowledges and, in an exclusive interview with AOL last week, he called the invitation to join the show amid his exit extremely "flattering."

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Coming off an unexpected breakup with longtime girlfriend Demi Lovato, Valderrama is definitely keeping himself busy outside of acting. One of his focuses? Helping Old Spice on their campaign to help men around the world right their "hair wrongs."

We caught up with Valderrama at Le Parker Meridien hotel in Manhattan last week to talk about how he scored his upcoming role on "NCIS," why his stint on "Grey's Anatomy" is his most talked-about project to date, his partnership with Old Spice and his unique morning routine.

See recent photos of Wilmer Valderrama:

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NEW YORK, NY - JULY 07: Actor Wilmer Valderrama attends the Wilmer Valderrama and Old Spice Right Hair Wrongs at Sharps Barber and Shop on July 7, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 07: Ben Thigpen and actor Wilmer Valderrama (R) attend Old Spice Right Hair Wrongs at Sharps Barber and Shop at Le Parker Meridian Hotel on July 7, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Chance Yeh/FilmMagic)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 22: (L-R) Actor Wilmer Valderrama, singers Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas attend the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/BBMA2016/FilmMagic)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - MAY 11: Actor Wilmer Valderrama reacts during the exhibition game at the Unite States and Denmark wheelchair Rugby Finals at the Invictus Games Orlando 2016 at the ESPN Wide Wordl of Sports Complex on May 11, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Unite States defead Denmark. (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images for Invictus Games)
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 23: Wilmer Valderrama arrives at David Grutman's wedding on April 23, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/GC Images)
GREY'S ANATOMY - 'At Last' - Owen and Amelia take their relationship to the next level; Alex gains some clarity on his future with Jo; and Callie and Arizona continue to struggle with the current custody arrangement, on 'Grey's Anatomy,' THURSDAY, MAY 12 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Richard Cartwright/ABC via Getty Images) ALMA MARTINEZ, WILMER VALDERRAMA, ERICA MUNOZ
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 13: Actor Wilmer Valderrama attends the Photo Femmes Exhibition Opening at De Re Gallery, featuring the work of Ashley Noelle, Bojana Novakovic and Monroe, at De Re Gallery on April 13, 2016 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rochelle Brodin/Getty Images for De Re Gallery)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 12: Actor Wilmer Valderrama arrives at A24/DIRECTV's 'The Adderall Diaires' Premiere at ArcLight Hollywood on April 12, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
GREY'S ANATOMY - 'Mama Tried' - Callie and Arizona are at odds over Sofia's future, and Stephanie questions the status of her relationship with Kyle. Meanwhile, Alex and April work on a pregnant teen that is readmitted to Grey Sloan Memorial, on 'Grey's Anatomy,' THURSDAY, MAY 5 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty Images) CAMILLA LUDDINGTON, CATERINA SCORSONE, WILMER VALDERRAMA, JERRIKA HINTON
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 30: Actor Wilmer Valderrama attends Voto Latino presents an Intimate Conversation with Wilmer Valderrama on the 2016 election on March 30, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lilly Lawrence/Getty Images)
GREY'S ANATOMY - 'Trigger Happy' - The doctors work frantically to save a young boy who was accidentally shot. Meanwhile, Arizona is upset when Callie tries to make an important decision about Sophia's future without consulting her, on 'Grey's Anatomy,' THURSDAY, APRIL 21 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Richard Cartwright/ABC via Getty Images) WILMER VALDERRAMA
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 20: Actor Wilmer Valderrama attends the I Have A Dream Foundation 3rd annual Dreamer Dinner at The Skirball Cultural Center on March 20, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Actor Wilmer Valderrama (L) and singer Demi Lovato arrive at the 2016 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 28, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Actor Wilmer Valderrama onstage during the 19th Annual National Hispanic Media Coalition Impact Awards Gala at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on February 26, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images for National Hispanic Media Coalition)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 25: Wilmer Valderrama arrives at the 3rd Annual unite4:humanity at Montage Hotel on February 25, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 15: Singer Demi Lovato (L) and actor Wilmer Valderrama attend The 58th GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 15, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 13: Actor Wilmer Valderrama attends the gifting suite during the 2016 MusiCares Person Of The Year honoring Lionel Richie at Los Angeles Convention Center on February 13, 2016 in Los Angeles City. (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/WireImage)
GREY'S ANATOMY - 'I Wear the Face' - Meredith goes on an ambulance ride with Owen and Nathan to pick up a heart for a transplant patient. Musician & MS patient Kyle Diaz is admitted to Grey Sloan Memorial with a tremor in his hand, and the residents apply for the Preminger Grant. Meanwhile, Catherine continues to insert herself into Jackson and April's business against Richard's wishes, on 'Grey's Anatomy,' THURSDAY, APRIL 7 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Richard Cartwright/ABC via via Getty Images) WILMER VALDERRAMA
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 21: Actor Wilmer Valderrama attends the after party for 'JENNIFER LOPEZ: ALL I HAVE' and the grand opening of Mr. Chow at Caesars Palace on January 21, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 19: Wilmer Valderrama attends 93.3 FLZ's Jingle Ball 2015 Presented by Capital One at Amalie Arena on December 19, 2015 in Tampa Bay, Fla. (Photo by Tim Boyles/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
SANTA MONICA, CA - DECEMBER 08: Wilmer Valderrama attends the 25th Annual Simply Shakespeare Benefit held at The Broad Stage on December 8, 2015 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 03: Actor Wilmer Valderrama attends the GQ 20th Anniversary Men Of The Year Party at Chateau Marmont on December 3, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for GQ Magazine)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 03: Actors Diego Boneta (L) and Wilmer Valderrama attend the GQ 20th Anniversary Men of the Year Party at Chateau Marmont on December 3, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for GQ)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 22: Musician Nick Jonas (L) and actor Wilmer Valderrama attend the 2015 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/AMA2015/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 22: Actor Wilmer Valderrama attends the 2015 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 26: Demi Lovato and boyfriend Wilmer Valderrama are seen out in Tribeca on October 26, 2015 in New York, New York. (Photo by Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 31: Wilmer Valderrama attends the Just Jared Halloween party at No Vacancy on October 31, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 11: Actor Wilmer Valderrama poses in the press room for the 'Minority Report' panel during Comic Con Day 4 at The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on October 11, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Stewart/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Actor Wilmer Valderrama visits at SiriusXM Studios on September 21, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Wilmer Valderrama visits 'The Elvis Duran Z100 Morning Show' at Z100 Studio on September 21, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 19: Actor Wilmer Valderrama poses in the press room at the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Festival Night 2 on September 19, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 18: Actors Wilmer Valderrama (L) and Taylor Lautner backstage during the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Festival at MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 18, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 24: Francisca Lachapel and Wilmer Valderrama visit the set of 'Despierta America' at Univision Studios on August 24, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)
BUENA PARK, CA - AUGUST 22: Demi Lovato and Wilmer Valderrama celebrate Demi's 23rd birthday at Knott's Berry Farm on August 22, 2015 in Buena Park, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images)
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Check out our full conversation with Wilmer Valderrama below:

Congratulations on recently being named as a series regular on "NCIS"! How did that opportunity come about?

I had done this amazing pilot for CBS called "Four Stars," and I was really flattered that my performance really raised an eyebrow at CBS. They asked me, since Michael Weatherly was leaving, if I would consider coming to join the show with Mark Harmon and the team and just have fun with it. I love those guys, and I think it's remarkable that they're the number one show on the planet. It was very flattering. Sentimentally speaking, as one of the first minorities to have a lead on such a beloved show, to come in and help with the story, in that way, was really exciting.

Anyway, we worked it out, and I start next week!

You're also coming off a stint on the latest season of "Grey's Anatomy." What was that experience like?

It was the most feedback I've ever gotten on anything I've ever done. The fans were so sweet! Shonda Rhimes was incredible, too, by the way. She tailored this character for me. But yeah, I would walk around the airport and women would be like, "I was into you! Why did you have to die?!" It was very sweet. I had a blast with that cast.

Did you know that your character was going to die?

I knew that the arc was only going to be a certain amount of episodes, and we talked about what would be the most impactful way into nature. [Laughs] There's only one way [for that to happen], so I kind of had a suspicion. But what I focused on more was the character, what he was raising awareness for and how could I go in there and disturb the peace a little bit. And that's what we did.

This campaign with Old Spice is all about "Righting Hair Wrongs." What's your biggest "hair wrong" from your past?

It was probably just not understanding and not knowing better, because when I was growing up, my mom and dad kind of encouraged the Erik Estrada thing. (For reference, click here.) But, as I grew up and became "cooler" (in quotation marks), I realized that that was not the look I needed. At some point, I just didn't have the proper haircuts. My hair is too thick, and there's a lot of it, so I need all kinds of products. Sometimes I even cocktail a number of them together, so that it [actually] does something!

That's why this partnership with Old Spice is so great, because I don't really like to have to think about [my hair]. I was never really programmed to think about my hair or my face, so if someone can figure it out for me, that's definitely better.

What are your favorite products to use?

I really like the paste, and the putty is good, too. I try to mix more of the pomade into the putty a little bit, because it holds a bit more. It doesn't give me crazy shine either, because I don't like to look greasy. The combination of both really helps. Also, the fact that Old Spice is very consistent in terms of smell is also really important, because sometimes you can tell when someone is wearing, like, three different brands and then they wear cologne -- and that's a problem. [Laughs]

But what I appreciate about Old Spice is that they've kind of made it easy for us guys to have a one-stop shop [for products], and they have all of the products that you need. For the type of man, which some of us are, who doesn't want to have to think about what brand works for this and what brand works for that, it's nice to have someone [like Old Spice] to just say, "Here's what you need." That makes it much simpler.

What's your morning routine like, in terms of getting your hair ready?

Sometimes I like to leave the product in from the day before, believe it or not. I don't shampoo as often [as other people do] -- I'll condition a little more, but sometimes products work really well when they just sit for a day or two. I don't want to shampoo too much, because I don't want to take off all of the oil from my head. My head also tends to get really dry, so what I try to do is wash it and as soon as I get out [of the shower], I let it dry 60% naturally, then I put the product in. Sometimes if you try to put product in your hair when it's too dry, it doesn't necessarily manage well. When I get out of the shower, the first thing I do is work on my beard a little bit, and then I'll get to work on my hair.

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