This Monday at The Pink Heart Society our very own Trish Wylie introduces us to hero inspiration she would never have found had it not been for the *curse of Hugh*... meet Justin Bruening...
Sometimes, in times of crisis, a gal has to admit defeat - fire her current hero inspiration - and recruit another. I think many of us have been there. And there seems to a glut of it when it comes to The Pink Heart Society's favourite man in a towel...
In fact PHS ed Donna Alward recently suffered the same fate and talked about it on her Blog. So that's at least three of our eds now. The problem with Hugh Jackman, as Donna quite rightly pointed out, is he's too darn nice in real life. And try as we might, sometimes knowing that about the image we're using to represent our fictional hero can effect what we're discovering on the page.
For me it was in my Modern Heat book The Return of The Rebel - released this month as a Presents titled At The Billionaire's Bidding. I merrily cast a rather yummy pic of our Hugh and started writing. But nope. The words just weren't coming. My hero, Connor was lacking in something. So having fought and fought for a while to keep the lovely Hugh I eventually admitted defeat and went-a-Googling. And this time I wanted someone completely new to me so I think I Googled something basic like: Dark haired actor. And then looked through the images.
That's when I discovered: Justin Bruening... And Connor came to life!
Born September 24th 1979 in Chadron, Nebraska Justin was raised in St. Helena (a town with a then-population of 85). Graduating from high school with only nine classmates he then briefly attended Chadron State College studying biochemistry - I'm gonna take it that means he's smart ;) But deciding on a change of career he moved to San Diego, California where he was discovered by a modeling agent - reportedly while he was working at a McDonalds - and soon after got his first modeling job for Abercrombie & Fitch.
Following his first commercial job, Justin began to study acting and was noticed by a casting director from the Soap Opera by All My Children. Originally auditioning for the role of J.R Chandler he was eventually cast as Jamie Martin in July of 2003. (when he started they didn't have a suit for him so he wore Josh Duhamel's suit... bit of trivia there for you...) And for a brief time in 2004 and 2005 he also played the same part on One Life To Live as part of a crossover story. And while playing the part he was not only featured as Daytime's Hottest Star in Teen People, Us Weekly, Star and J-14 magazines, he was also a winner of Adonis 2004 on Soap Hunks.net... Can I pick em or can I pick em??? Mind you, he endeared himself to me with:
"If you make a complete fool of yourself, that attracts me more than anything." when talking about his ideal woman to Soap Opera Digest in 2004. (I have a sneaking suspicion we'd have got on great - I'm a pro when it comes to making a fool of myself!)
In addition to his work on soap operas, Justin has had guest appearances on Hope & Faith, Cold Case, CSI: Miami and a small part in the movie Fat Girls and was even up for the role of Superman in the movie Superman Returns before it went to Brandon Routh (lucky escape there in my humble opinion but that's tapping into my inner geek again...) He might also want to foget an appearance in a Britney Spears music vid...*cough*...
In 2007 it was announced he'd be starring in a new spin of the original Knight Rider series (can't tell you how much that series takes me back!) portraying the original Knight Rider's son, Mike Traceur in a two-hour special. The original having been portrayed of course by actor David ('The Hoff') Hasselhoff newspaper The Hollywood Reporter immediately took notice of the similarities between the two castings, saying:
"...the choice of Bruening closely resembles Hasselhoff's casting a quarter-century ago. Like Bruening, Hasselhoff was a soap star (in The Young and the Restless) with few other credits when he landed Knight Rider. He was almost the same age as Bruening..."
Justin proposed to former All My Children co-star Alexa Havins on the set of the soap opera, having been friends with her before they fell in love. They married in 2005 and Justin has been quoted as saying:
"I loved her from the moment I first saw her." How romantic is that?!
Some extra trivia for you:
Justin is a big Denis Leary fan but didn't watch his wife's love scene with him on Rescue Me - joking he was jealous of her. In his spare time, he collects Converse All-Star sneakers (my neice would love him!). He considers playing the guitar his therapy (she'd love him for that too!) His worst summer job was artificially inseminating animals (let's not go there) And he says he TiVos Heroes, Dexter, Supernatural and Las Vegas (never mind my neice - I could watch TV in his house!)
So there you go - Justin Bruening - the guy who helped Connor to come to life on the page for me... Thankfully I broke the curse of Hugh this year in a Romance title ;) Never say never I say...
H's & K's
Because in the USA and Canada for the Presents collection Taken By The Millionaire she has Connor's story At The Billionaire's Bidding.
Meanwhile in Australia and New Zealand for the Sexy Sensation line you can find one of her favourite books: His Mistress: His Terms...