Travis Fimmel

Many people probably wouldn't recognise Travis with his clothes on, since he shot to fame posing on traffic-stopping billboards in nothing but a pair of Calvin Klein briefs. "I can't take it too seriously," says the 5ft 11in blond of his now-legendary pose. "But I'd love be recognised for something other than being the guy in his underwear."

Born on July 15, 1979, to a cattle rancher dad and a nurse mum, Travis was the youngest of three sons raised on the family farm in Echuca, Australia. Aged 17 he left his hometown to head for Melbourne, where he played football and studied project management at RMIT University. Not long after a broken leg put an end to hopes of a football career, the handsome youngster was discovered by a modelling talent scout as he worked out at a gym.

In 2000, after spending time in Europe and Asia, he decided he wanted to pursue an acting career and headed to Los Angeles with just $60 in his pocket. Barefoot, his trainers slung over his shoulder, he walked into a modelling agency and was immediately signed. "He had a beautiful face, a very funny personality it all clicked," says LA Models agent Paul Nelson. "We helped him out with money and a place to stay. We believed in him from the beginning."

Within months, the green-eyed hunk was appearing in videos for Jennifer Lopez and Janet Jackson; then came his big break with Calvin Klein. The rest is billboard history.

Despite gaining fame for his shapely bod, Travis hasn't given up on his original goal of acting. He takes the profession seriously and has been taking drama lessons for some time. "People take years learning how to act. It's a skill, not just a job… It's not the kind of thing you can get into just because of your looks," he says. The model's perseverance paid off after beating hundreds who tested for the part, he scored title role of Tarzan in a 2003 US TV series. Though Tarzan only lasted one series, Travis scored a second acting gig in the short-lived TV show Rocky Point.

The former farmboy, who reportedly collected six figures for his Calvin Klein campaign, is unlikely leave modelling while it remains so lucrative, however. Having dubbed his career choice the easiest and most boring job in the world, he quips: "You don't have to be smart to be a model, but you have to be dumb not to do it."

Straightforward words from a pin-up who has a reputation for speaking his mind. He openly admits he hates modelling, saying catwalk work "would make you feel a bigger tit" than milking cows, and revealing that boss Calvin Klein is down to earth despite being "rich as f***".

He's quick, though, to clear up a couple of oft-repeated anecdotes concerning his alleged remarks regarding J Lo's derriere and his decision to break up with All Saints' Nicole Appleton. "I say what I want," he remarks, "but this thing going round about me saying Nicole was boring and Jennifer Lopez has a fat arse is absolute bullshit, mate. I've never even met Jennifer. And Nicole is great, we're just different." He adds: "And she dumped me, I never dumped her."
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