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Arts/Society Tyler Atkins Takes His Sikh Faith To Hollywood In Search Of His Big Break


May 9, 2006
Tyler Atkins takes his Sikh faith to Hollywood in search of his big break
Ros Reines The Daily Telegraph June 14, 20148:00PM SOURCE

TYLER Atkins is probably the only blond Australian actor running around Los Angeles wearing a turban.

The 28-year-old former playmate of Paris Hilton and co-winner of The Amazing Race has taken to wearing head wraps 24/7, regardless of having a bad-hair day or not.

In fact, Paris Hilton and rumoured lover Lindsay Lohan may not even recognise the new-look Tyler, who left for LA last Friday to audition for a major acting role and take up residence in the world’s most self-conscious city.

“I know the ins and outs of Hollywood,” the former Puberty Blues player bravely declares over chai tea at his favourite Bondi cafe, Porch & Parlour, the day before he is due to fly out.

“I have been chewed up and spat out there in the past. I lived there for six years.”

In his earlier days there Atkins was a T-shirt designer with no shortage of women who lapped up his unaffected charisma. Now he has had a complete change of image as a devotee of the world’s fifth-largest religion.

And if Atkins is leaving town slightly emotionally scarred following his lightning-quick relationship with gorgeous 21-year-old Home and Away star Demi Harmon that began and ended earlier this year, he is trying not to show it.

He has never spoken in public about the relationship ending, and now all that he will say is that it didn’t work out because he and Harman wanted to go in different directions.

“But it’s all good,” he insists. “I have so much love for her.”

This all-or-nothing attitude may have been a tipping point.

“I am a lover, so when I am into someone, I’m really into them and I get sidetracked. They get all my attention.”

He may also have been a tough boyfriend to hang out with, since he dutifully rises ­at 3.30am to practise yoga for two hours. He also teaches yoga.

This is all part of the journey that began after he won The Amazing Race in 2011 with model Nathan Joliffe — and then discovered he was suffering from kidney disease.

It was a wake-up call to change his old partying ways.

“It’s hard because our lifestyle and our industry revolves around drinking,’’ he says. “You definitely need tools to help you because alcohol relaxes you, but now yoga and meditation do the same thing for me.”
Atkins went on an odyssey to India last year, which he says was a difficult experience.

“India is very grubby,” he points out. “It’s not like a clean holiday. You go there and none of your plans work out.

“Everything falls to s... really and that’s the beauty of it because then you can see that you can get through anything.”

The yoga that he now practises is Sikh-based, which is why he has started covering his long, blond, curly hair with a turban.

“Obviously, when you are chanting mantras for two or three hours a day you get really drawn in to living the principles of the religion.

“Sikhs wear turbans to protect themselves from certain energies. You are centred when you cover your head.”

Of course, it is probably not the most attractive look for a skinny white bloke who was so much part of the surfing culture but Atkins doesn’t give a hoot about the effect he is having.

“I know that a lot of people look at me strangely for wearing a turban but that doesn’t worry me at all,” he insists.

As part of his wholesome lifestyle, he has also set up an organic food delivery service, The Living Lunchbox, with close friend Nicole Dabout. This will continue while he is in LA pursuing his acting dream.

He was bitten by the acting bug when he played the character of Darren Peters, the bad-boy surfer in Puberty Blues, and won a scholarship for acting lessons in the US.

“I found acting to be really transforming, especially when I was in a class of 20 to 30 people,” he says.

“You have to really dig deep to find something within yourself to play a character.”

The actors who inspire him the most include Sean Penn and Johnny Depp, who also don’t exactly buy into the Hollywood lifestyle.

“These are the actors who are doing it for the art,” he explains, “and not just for the money or the fame.”

Thankfully Atkins won’t have to rely on waiting on tables in LA, which is what many aspiring actors end up doing over there. He has recently signed to IMG Models and is looking for substantial contracts to tide him over between acting jobs.

Atkins also has a circle of friends there, including many Australians, and he already has a car and a motorbike in the garage.

With some big Hollywood auditions coming up, the only thing that is missing from his life right now is love.

“I’m not looking for it at the moment,” he insists, “but it will come. I have a pure lifestyle with no drugs, no alcohol and no sleeping around with random women.

“I believe that you get one wife and that is it. It’s nice to have those kinds of guidelines, especially when you consider where I have come from.”

And so what if he is the only blond Australian surfer dude in a turban hanging around Robertson Boulevard in LA? It’s just a pity that the hit movie Eat, Pray, Love has already been shot.


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