Kiwi actors reveal their most memorable denim moments

New Zealand’s brightest stars on living in blue.

Frankie Adams
actor and model

You’ve branched out from acting into modelling, what’s it like to call yourself a model now, too?
I’ve been thinking about this lately. I guess I am a model because I do so many shoots but I never think to tell people I’m a model. When I was in LA my friends said ‘Okay, so here’s what you’ve gotta do. We’re going to go to this event and you’re going to say that you’re an actress and a lingerie model’, because they knew that I’d done Bonds. And I was like ‘I am not going to do that’. And then at the end of the night [I introduced myself to someone and said] ‘Hey, I’m Frankie. I’m an actress and, ah, a lingerie model.’ And the American guy [I was talking to] was so enthusiastic about it! It’s funny how people react when you add the modelling aspect into it.

What are you working on?
I can’t tell you. I’ve just started writing something awesome, but it’s a lot of hard work and a very new environment for me. But it’s fun! I’ve been doing a couple of auditions and trying to get back to LA. My visa’s hopefully
nearly ready.

What was pilot season in LA like?
I went in there just thinking I’ll give it a crack and see how it goes but the biggest thing about auditioning in America is how different the culture is and how they communicate with each other. They’re very outward, direct, even just the way they project their voices is different. Even though I was speaking with an American accent when I went to auditions, there were times when they thought I was really shy. And I’m pretty sure you know I’m not very shy!

What’s your favourite decade for denim?
I’m going to have to go with the 90s. I love Aaliyah and TLC, how they used to wear the overalls and really baggy denim with their Timbs. And when Aaliyah wore the Tommy Hilfiger denim!

Frankie wears Levi’s jacket, $149.90, and shorts, $99.90. Adidas shoes, $160.

Erroll Shand


What are you working on?
I’m doing a show called Filthy Rich, A very interesting thing I just worked on is a film called Little Secret, which was shot in Brazil. I had to do the part in Portuguese and English.

Did you speak Portuguese before that?
Not an iota! So spouting off the Portuguese wasn’t that easy. There was phonetic stuff I immersed myself in but it was really difficult. Heart attack material. There are many traps for English speakers!

Of all the characters you’ve played, whose wardrobe has been the most memorable?
I played a guy called Tony Michaels in Safe House. He had some tight denim, some well-fitting jackets and some tight T-shirts – not stuff I would normally wear so I kind of dug doing that for a bit as the character. I got back to my normal baggy stuff once I was off set, but I kind of liked it, real dress-ups. And I did live through the 80s but I wasn’t that cool a dude.

What’s one thing your favourite pair of jeans knows about you that no one else does?
I don’t have particularly long legs! I’m a 30 in the leg.

Erroll wears a vintage Levi’s jacket.

Tim Balme

writer and actor

What are you working on at the moment?
The Brokenwood Mysteries on Prime, we’re doing four tele features a season and have just finished the second season. I’m currently trying to come up with ideas for the third.

Of all the characters you’ve played, who’s had the most memorable wardrobe?
The most memorable would be Greg Feeney from Shortland Street, he was kind of indelible in that era. He was the leather-jacket guy. I’d keep coming in and out of the series and each time the leather jackets would get cooler and cooler and the last one was so cool I got to keep it. It sits in my wardrobe but I never wear it. It was leather jackets, denim and pretty debatable hair. It was never a mullet but we got close.

What’s the best denim decade?
I actually do think it was the 70s. I saw a film at the film festival recently which was shot in 1974 and you just look at all the people and it seemed like they came out of the womb wearing denim because no one was wearing anything else, except maybe a hemp shirt and a kaftan. The way people wore denim back then was effortless.

Tammy Davis


What are you working on?
I’ve just finished Born to Dance – a big project that started in January last year. That’s all finished now so I’ve been having a break. I’ve got six one-hour dramas that I’m writing at the moment that I want to make.

Of all the characters you’ve played, whose wardrobe has been the most memorable?
I think the piece of clothing I always wanted was Munter’s Ksubi jacket [from Outrageous Fortune]. It was the one piece of wardrobe that went from the beginning all the way to the end. Everything else changed, the shoes, the pants, the T-shirts, but there was that one piece of clothing that whenever I put it on I felt like I was comfortable.

Tammy wears Levi’s 501 jeans, $159.99. Just Jeans T-shirt, $19.90.

Jono Kenyon


How long have you been in the industry?
Not that long. I graduated from drama school in 2010.

What are you working on at the moment?
I have a group called The Bros NZ with a couple of other actors and musicians and we’re currently writing a mockumentary for a web series where we do live gigs and stuff. It’s a pretty off-the-wall concept. I just finished filming season two of Step Dave.

Do you remember the first pair of jeans you ever owned?
They were ridiculously baggy. I was in England and there was that trend of wearing skater belts that hung right down. And the waist was always too big so the crotch bulged out and down. It was kind of tragic.

Brooke Williams


How long have you been in the industry?
I’ve been in the industry professionally since I left Toi Whakaari in 2006 and I’ve been working since then pretty solidly in television but also a little bit of film and theatre.

What are you working on?
My last job was on an MTV show called Shannara [based on Terry Brooks’ fantasy books] which is a really cool fantasy show about elves, and is set in the future. I’ve been traveling backwards and forwards to Los Angeles quite
a bit. I have a team over there, so I’m getting ready to go back and do a month-long intensive of classes with this amazing woman called Ivana Chubbuck. I’ll do some auditions and stuff while I’m there as well.

Of all your characters, who has the most memorable wardrobe?
I loved Eva’s wardrobe in The Almighty Johnsons, I played the goddess of death and she had this really cool dark, Zambesi-focused wardrobe that was glamorous. She had lots of layering, dark costumes with really interesting texture. The character I just played on Shannara had a really futuristic, cool, interesting wardrobe as well.

Brooke wears Levi’s jacket, $139.90, and jeans, $139.90. Her own shoes.

Antonia Prebble


What are you working on?
The second series of Westside.

Of all your characters, who has the most memorable wardrobe?
Probably my very first job when I was 12 in the TV series William Shatner’s A Twist in the Tale. I was playing a girl from the future, from 2097 who came back to 1997, and I was dressed like an alien.

Do you remember your first pair of jeans?
I think I probably had kid jeans, but when I was 12 all I desperately wanted was a pair of red tab Levi’s – they were the height of cool and I wasn’t allowed them because they were too expensive. But for my 13th birthday I got a pair of orange tab Levi’s and it was the best thing ever.

What do your jeans know about you that no one else does?
They know I love being slobbishly comfortable.

Antonia wears her own vintage Levi’s jeans. Topman shirt, $45. Topshop shoes, $150.

Dean O'Gorman


What are you working on?
I’m putting together a series of works for the Biennale in Frankfurt, where I’ll be talking about photography. It’s a symposium and each year the Biennale does different themes – this year it’s the moving image. Because I take photos and I’m an actor they want me to talk about both those things.

Of all your characters, who has the most memorable wardrobe?
I just finished a New Zealand TV show called Hillary, set from the 50s through to the 70s. They had high-waisted pants for men, which I thought were great. I did a film called Trumbo last year with similar clothes and there was a real kind of elegance for me.

Dean wears a vintage Levi’s jacket.

Ido Drent


What are you working on?
Being a dad actually! I finished a small part of Ash vs Evil Dead, an American TV show, but I’ve taken about six months off to focus on being a dad. I’m just about to head back to LA to pursue some things over there as well.

Of all your characters, who has the most memorable wardrobe?
Jon Farriss from INXS. We did a two-part mini series set in the 80s, with fluoros, leather, big glasses, perms. How can you go past that?

What do your jeans know about you that no one else does?
That I’ve got a really short torso, so they have to sit low to make me look in proportion. But now everyone knows that…

Ido wears a vintage Levi’s jacket.

Xavier Horan


Describe what you do.
At present, I can say officially I’m an actor. It has been 10 years since I walked into the wilderness and I’m very fortunate to be employed and rolling on from project to project.

What are you working on?
At the moment we’re working on Toa Fraser’s feature film 6 Days, which is an action thriller based on the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege. I’m playing an SAS sergeant [along side] Jamie Bell, Mark Strong, and Abbie Cornish. [It’s a] pretty cool project – guns and fire.

What were your first pair of jeans?
Levi’s 501s. They were my older sister’s, but I made them look good!

What’s the best denim decade?
The nineties. Melrose Place and Beverly Hills 90210!

Xavier wears Levi’s 511 jeans, $109.99.Just Jeans T-shirt, $19.90.