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Secrets in Summer Bay

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Secrets in Summer Bay

Sunday Herald Sun

21 August 2005

Paul O'Brien, 27, has had many jobs, from working as a short-order cook to stand-up comedy. The latest gig for this jack-of-all-trades is acting. He plays a Jack - Jack Holden, the newest cast member of Home and Away

What's it like being one of the new kids on the block?

It's a little overwhelming. The day I walked on to the set for the first time, I couldn't help thinking, "Oh, my God, that's so and so" or "I can't believe I'm standing near her." But everyone's been so supportive and encouraging. They've all been sensational. They can all sympathise, because they've all been in the same position and all of them have approached me and offered to help.

Are you being recognised yet?

We've only been on air for two weeks and I haven't been out much in that time. It's hard to tell because sometimes people sort of look at you, but you don't know if it's because they know what you do. Nobody's come up to me yet and said, "Oh, you're that guy from Home and Away."

You're relatively new to acting. How are you finding it?

It's great. I've done a little acting, but it has always been a bit weird. It's like living in a parallel universe where I get to be my character, Jack Holden, more than I get to be myself.

Tell us about Jack.

He's a 22-year-old cop. He's from a tight-knit family. There are three of them. His mum died when he was young. He's the rock of the family, he holds everyone together. His younger brother, Lucas (played by Rhys Wakefield), is much more introverted, and his dad, Tony, (played by Jon Sivewright), has obviously been through a bit, so he's quite stern, but appreciative of life. There's a big secret. In fact, I think there's more than one, but you'll just have to watch to find them out.

You came to Australia from South Africa when you were seven. Do you remember it?

Very much. Africa is an amazing place, a totally different world. Even the trees and clouds are different shapes. I lived in Johannesburg and remember it being so cold at night that the milk, which was delivered, used to freeze on our front doorstep. I also remember the smells of South Africa, which were fantastic, and the fact that pretty much everything in our backyard could kill us.

You've done a lot, from working as a chef to stand-up comedy. Is acting different?

It's very different, especially from stand-up, which is a lot scarier and a lot of pressure. Some nights you're good and some nights you're bad and think you're not funny. It's very psychological.

Do you still cook?

All the time. I love it. I worked as a short-order cook on the beach at Burleigh Heads for two years. I can make lots of stuff, but I don't know how to make many desserts. My stand-out dessert would have to be caramel bananas.

You act, dance and sing. Are you going to release a CD like every other soapie star?

I love music and have always loved doing lots of things. I'm always willing to try new things, so who knows?

You spend a lot of your week filming, but what do you do when you're not filming?

I love surfing and bodyboarding. On the weekends, I sometimes play touch footy with Jon and some of his mates. That's fun.

What's something the world doesn't know about Paul O'Brien?

I love plants. I even have one in my bedroom. I'm a big fan.


> We've got 10 Home and Away hats to give away. For a chance to win, reply to Home and Away Contest at the email or snail mail address in the How to Enter Stuff Contests box at the bottom of Stuff, Page 6.

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