By Jae-Ha Kim
November 30, 2010
Born in Canberra, Australia, and raised in Sydney, Alex O’Loughlin’s thick Aussie accent is nowhere to be heard on “Hawaii Five-0,” where he plays the lead character Steve McGarrett. “I heard that some people thought I was American,” says the 34-year-old actor during a break from shooting in Honolulu. “I take that as a great compliment. I try to be as authentic as I can for each role that I take. But once I’m done shooting, I sound like me again. I can’t hide it.” “Hawaii Five-0” airs Mondays on CBS.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. Tulum, Mexico, because it’s magic. There’s a yoga retreat at the Maya Tulum Resort that’s really great. I just love that part of Mexico. But Mexico is such a wonderful country in general. I love going out to Chichen Itza and climbing the pyramids and seeing the ancient ruins. The food is amazing, too. The ceviche there was some of the best I ever ate.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. In California, I’d say Santa Barbara, San Diego and Lake Arrowhead.
Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. Claridge’s in London, the Mercer in New York City, the Maya Tulum Resort in Mexico, the Establishment in Sydney and Como in Melbourne.
Q. What are your favorite restaurants?
A. Il Ristorante di Giorgio Baldi in Santa Monica, Diamond Head Cove Health Bar in Honolulu, Rockpool in Sydney and Osteria Gusto in Rome.
Q. How do you like being based out of Hawaii now?
A. I love it. The people are very much like Australians — very laid back and they don’t care about the whole star system. Some people might ask me for autographs or to take pictures with them and it’s my pleasure to do that because the Hawaiian people are really cool. It’s the tourists who can be less cool. Before I came to Hawaii, I didn’t think I’d find any similarities between it and Australia. But the beaches are pretty similar and now that I’m here it really does feel like home.
Q. What’s your take on Spam?
A. I don’t get the love for Spam here. I hate it! I don’t know why they eat it. They have all this fresh seafood and delicious food. Why would they want to eat this?
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. iPhone, sunglasses, toothbrush and credit cards.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. Sydney, Paris, Florence, New York City and Rome.
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I mainly research food and lifestyle before I travel. However when I arrive in a city, I try to talk to locals and get their opinions.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. Tokyo because I love the Japanese culture. I love the food, the fashion and the respect the people have for one another. It’s so distant and seems so different from the western American stuff, which is fascinating for me as an Australian. I did martial arts from a young age and studied Zen. But the best way to learn about a culture is to travel and immerse yourself in it.
Q. What is your worst vacation memory?
A. I love spicy food so that wasn’t an issue, but I had some bad meat and got food poisoning in Mexico. Other than that, it was a great trip.
© 2010 JAE-HA KIM
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