Some actors are instant stars. Some never really make it. And some age like a fine pinot noir until the spotlight finally tilts their way. And they own it. Such is the case with Holt McCallany, who kicked around on TV (CSI: Miami, Heroes) and in movies (Three Kings, Fight Club, Men of Honor) till FX’s critically acclaimed Lights Out came along. With a hulking 6’2” frame and an Irish mug that projects equal parts menace, world-weariness, and sensitivity, McCallany easily inhabits the role of Patrick “Lights” Leary, a cash-strapped ex-boxing champ — and sometime MMA fighter — forced into a risky comeback. Read his timeworn advice below. Then catch the new episodes Tuesdays at 10.

What item do you never leave home without and why?
HOLT MCCALLANY: I’m the spokesman for Doxa watches. They’re really beautiful. It’s a hundred-year-old Swiss company. Jacques Cousteau used to wear the watches.

What’s your drink of choice after a tough day at work?
HM: Vitamin Water. I like the one called Energy.

What grooming, style or fitness thing can a guy do in the morning to look good all day?
HM: I believe that you have to take care of your skin. I use a moisturizer — it’s an aloe vera cream. And I use eye cream. I know it maybe doesn’t sound very macho, but you’ve only got one face.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about women, and who gave it to you?
HM: My mom. She said: “Always be a gentleman. Chivalry is not dead.”

What can Lights Out teach us about being a better man?
HM: Just being hard-working and humble but believing in yourself and not giving up. I think the most important thing is that and having that confidence in yourself. You persevere and you don’t quit and you’ll be successful in the end.

Any parting words of wisdom?
HM: You’re going to have moments in your life when you’re under pressure and you’re going to be tempted to doubt yourself. Don’t do it. Because you’ll find that those moments pass and you’ll thank yourself for not giving in. Don’t quit.

(Gerri Miller is an entertainment journalist who writes a weekly Ecollywood celebrity column for and contributes frequently to, TV Week (Canada), and Wild Blue Yonder.)