Not everyone can claim they've played a part in making Australian TV history. But actor Matt Wilson can. Earlier this year, the 30-year-old was at the centre of the nation's first same-sex soap marriage.
When Neighbours aired its iconic wedding, it was Matt's character, Aaron, who walked down the aisle with his on-screen partner David, played by Takaya Honda. It's a moment to be remembered - and one Matt declares a milestone in his career.
When not on Ramsay Street, Matt is jetsetting and bungee jumping as a host on Helloworld – or taking on obstacle courses as an ambassador for the daunting Tough Mudder event.
His biggest challenge, however, has been learning to be himself on camera.
TV WEEK: What was it like playing a central role in Neighbours same-sex wedding?
MATT WILSON: It was surreal. Most of the time, you just put your head down and get stuck into the work in front of you. But the significance and importance it had on the outside world was huge.
We didn't really realise that until it went to air [in August]. Because our workload is huge, it's easy to forget how important the things we do are.
When it all goes down, when you see it in magazines like TV WEEK, you realise what we're doing is pretty important. So it was a privilege to be such an important part of Australian television history.
You seem to have a great friendship with on-screen partner Takaya?
We've shared a lot together. He's great; he puts his heart and soul into everything. Whenever we're approaching a scene, we have the same intention and goal, and that's to make it as good as it can possibly be. So, it's great to have somebody there who's just as dedicated as I am to work on that.
You've joined the team of travel show Helloworld. How has the transition been from a scripted to a lifestyle show?
It's pretty tricky to try to be yourself. When I first started, I was trying to take an acting approach towards it – I tried to use a whole bunch of techniques, but they just didn't work. It's a lot harder to be yourself than it is to be a character.
I feel like in your head you have a lot of expectations about what people want – but in reality, all people want is to see you being you. It's kind of a weird paradox we somehow get ourselves into.
What was it that attracted you to Helloworld?
Whenever I travel, I always come back with a million stories and wish people were with me.
A lot of the time, I travel by myself, but this time I actually got to document it and show everyone what you can get up to by going out and seeing the world.
With so much time spent jetsetting, does your girlfriend Jessica Waters get to come along with you?
Unfortunately she couldn't come. The work trips for Helloworld are done so fast – I think we had seven flights in 11 days! It was such a hectic schedule because we had to fit it in with the Neighbours break. But maybe next time.
We saw you went bungee jumping recently. Is that part of the show or are you just an adrenaline junkie?
That was just me, not part of the show. It might be one of the reasons I was picked to go on the show. Plus, we've all got insurance.
What's next for you in terms of acting?
I'd love to do a bit of action stuff, because I'm a little kid inside. I think I told myself when I was 10 years old that I'd like to do my own stunts one day, but they haven't let me do it yet.
Tough Mudder [an outdoor mud and obstacle course designed to test a participant's strength, stamina and mental grit] could be my stunt training.
You're part of Tough Mudder's Australia's Filthiest Calendar campaign. How did you get involved?
It's a bit of a coincidence. I'd done Tough Mudder a bunch of times, and that was just out of pure love. Then the guys [organisers] found I was doing it and reached out to see if I wanted to be a part of the team. I think it's a perfect fit.
It's a gruelling event – people go as far as getting electric shocks! How do you prepare for something like that?
The only preparation you need is mental. No matter what your fitness level, you can still get through the course and have a good time.
You just have to go in with the right mindset and look forward to it, not look forward to it being over!
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