After four years playing bad boy Darryl "Brax" Braxton on Channel Seven drama Home And Away, Stephen Peacocke, 36, is now taking his chances in Tinseltown. Before he arrived in LA, he had mentally prepared himself for many months – possibly years – of gruelling auditions and rejection.
Instead, he was pleasantly surprised. In a matter of months, the three-time TV WEEK Logie winner scored a role in film Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, produced by and starring comedy icon Tina Fey, and Me Before You, alongside Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke.
Soon after, he returned home to play Detective Josh Levine in Channel Seven drama Wanted, alongside Australian golden girl Rebecca Gibney.
"I've been so lucky," he says.
Stephen and his actress wife, Bridgette Sneddon, who have been married since 2014, now live a "modest life" in Los Angeles as Stephen pursues his Hollywood dream. As any actor can attest, adapting to the glitzy town isn't without some hardship. But the laid-back lad from Dubbo, in rural NSW, insists the pressure to find work doesn't faze them.
"Of course, it's not always easy," he says. "It's me and 500 other blokes going for one role. But early on I figured out that if you want longevity in your career, you have to make good choices. Sometimes you can get lucky, and other times you might have to wait.
"But it's a fun job; it's not hard to work hard. And so far, so good."
Stephen's attitude to work is admirable, and proves he's still just a country boy at heart.
"Early on, my mum and dad instilled into me and my siblings that if you work hard in the here and now, the future kind of takes care of itself," he says.
In the meantime, Stephen and Bridgette are enjoying their anonymity, knowing it could all change in a New York minute.
"Things change day to day," he explains. "There are a couple of auditions every week, and there's enough work here that you can prepare yourself for hours on end," he says.
"But when you're on set, everything's so exciting and fast-paced, so it's nice to be pretty low-key and normal.
"I read a lot of scripts, we go hiking and we've done massive road trips all over the US."
Of course, living away from home has its drawbacks – and the lure of Australia can be strong – but Stephen is soaking it all up.
"American food is good, but nothing beats Australia," he says. "I definitely miss the good food, coffee and beer.
"But life is good. We're very happy to be travelling the world together. And so far, we've had the most amazing adventure."
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