For The Gleeks!
Parks and Recreation actress and comedian Mara Marini puts two of Glee's hottest cast members head-to-head in our weekly debate and asks you to decide: Who's hotter?
Born February 5, 1987, in San Francisco, his father was a director of the San Francisco Opera and then became CEO of EastWest Bank. Before Criss portrayed Blaine Anderson on Glee, he founded a musical theater company in Chicago called StarKid Productions. He played Harry Potter in A Very Potter Musical and its sequel, which together have procured more than 25 million views. With his naturally-curly hair, amazing voice and kind heart, Gleeks around the world swoon for Criss.
With a name like Chord, how could he have become anything but a performer! Born February 17, 1989, to a country-singer father and a make-up artist mother, he was raised on a farm outside of Nashville. His parents always heavily supported his love of music and he moved out to Los Angeles right after high school. With his blue eyes, buff bod and sultry voice, he makes the perfect hunky jock on Glee.
Darren Criss: A classically-trained violinist, he also plays the piano, drums, guitar, mandolin and harmonica. He made his professional stage debut at 10, wrote and composed his first song at 15 and recorded his first EP in his bedroom! He actually originally auditioned for the role of Finn in Glee. Last year, he made two debuts: on Broadway, he replaced Daniel Radcliffe, and in his first feature film, Girl Most Likely, with Kristen Wiig and Annette Benning.
Chord Overstreet: Like his friend, Criss, Overstreet is a man of many instruments. He started playing mandolin as a child and went on to the guitar, drums, flute, piano and songwriting. He modeled for GAP in his teenage years and only had a couple TV and film credits to his name when he booked the role of Sam Evans. For his first Glee audition, he was there for five hours; the second day he sang two a capella songs late into the evening and a week later, he got the part.
Darren Criss: Alongside TV, stage and film, Criss is heavily involved in his music and charity work. Oft described as "humble," he is extremely talented and a very hard worker. He also is a partner and investor of The Motley, a grooming website for men.
Chord Overstreet: When not filming, he is intensely focused on his own music, but also takes time to relax. He loves watching sports all day on the weekends and is an avid reader.
Darren Criss: With no personal trainer, he keeps his ripped six-pack with his own hard work. He does all of his own exercise and meal preparation and his favorite food is sushi.
Chord Overstreet: He apparently spends nearly three hours in the gym and focuses on his chest, abs and triceps and then runs on the treadmill. Although he craves sweets, he keeps them to a minimum.
Darren Criss: Criss supports The Trevor Project (focused on suicide prevention efforts among LGBT youth); he is a spokesperson for Rock the Vote; and was chosen by UNICEF Philippines (his mother is a native of Cebu, Philippines) to represent their organization. He is involved in a handful of other charities and recently received Variety's Power of Youth Philanthropy award for his work with The Trevor Project.
Darren Criss: No pets currently, but he loves animals and said his spirit animal would be a dolphin.
Chord Overstreet: He has three dogs: Harley, Banjo and Apollo.
Darren Criss: He has a degree in performance and acting from the University of Michigan. He majored in theater performance and minored in musicology and Italian.
Chord Overstreet: He left Nashville right after high school to perform.
Darren Criss: Although often asked about his sexuality, he always fields the questions very sweetly. "Whether you are gay, straight, purple, orange, dinosaur, I don't care." Criss has been dating musician Mia Swier since 2010. Earlier this week, rumors started spreading when the two were spotted perusing some "expensive rings." When questioned, his reps said, "No comment." Hmmm... that's not a "no"!
Chord Overstreet: This heartthrob has a long list of famous girlfriends — from Rumer Willis to Emma Roberts — and he was also rumored to have dated Taylor Swift and Ashley Benson.
About Mara Marini
Mara Marini is a Canadian film, television and theater actress perhaps best known for her recurring role as Brandi Maxx on the hit NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation. Marini has also appeared in a number of indie comedy and horror films. In 2013, she launched a popular digital comedy video series called "Inside Dating" on Break.com, will soon be guest-starring on Disney's "Kickin' It" and shooting a politically incorrect feature comedy this fall. For more information on Mara, check out her official website, www.maramarini.com, follow her on Facebook or on Twitter at @popgloss.
Photo credit: Getty Images