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#TBT - Darin Brooks

This interview was originally published in the September 6, 2006 issue of Soap Opera Digest

Why Darin Brooks Left Hawaii And Its Big Swells Behind To Drive Into Salem

It’s a sunny day on the NBC lot and Darin Brooks and I are headed over to the commissary to grab a bite to eat. Women steal glances are they pass him, and really, you can’t blame them. Brooks is so adorable and has such a friendly face and smile, you’re instantly drawn to him.

The actor arrived in Salem with much fanfare last summer. He assume the role of the now-grown-up Max Brady, a race car driver with a huge fan following. The show incorporated the popular sport into the storytelling and Brooks was primed to be the soap’s next big thing. “The first day, they had scenes where everyone was screaming Max’s name,” he recalls. “It was wild.” But the return of old faces quickly pushed his story to the back burner, which left him with a lot of down time. “A lot of down time!” he exclaims. “I was going to the gym and slowly going back to acting class because it’s always good to sit in and learn things that you missed, and hang out with some of your old friends.” Since it was his first job, Brooks wasn’t really banging down the door of the production office to find out when he’d be working again. “You just have to try to roll with the punches. It gets slow and you’ve just got to deal with it,” he shrugs.

Brooks was a freshman at the University of Hawaii when he decided to head to the mainland to try his luck as an actor. “A bunch of my buddies were there and it was fun, but I had to pick up and go when I did because I was young enough,” he explains. “I came out here on a whim. I had some friends in the business and they said, ‘You should give it a shot,’ and a couple of them introduced me around. But I want to go back to college someday. It’s important to my parents to go back to college and finish. So hopefully, I can do that and Mom will stop nagging me about it [laughs].”

Mom, who never watched the show before Brooks joined it, is now an avid viewer. “She’s hooked and she blames me,” he reports. “I said, ‘Mom, you don’t have to watch it all the time,’ but she’s like, ‘I can’t believe what’s going on with….’ And I’ll say, ‘Mom, what about me? What do you think about my character?’ But she and my dad will watch when they get off of work and they call me afterward to say it was a good episode and I am just like, ‘Mom, please.’”

Brooks is close to his family and describes his upbringing in Hawaii as normal. “I was a crazy kid, my mom will vouch for that,” he laughs. “My friends and I had a lot of time on our hands and used to do pranks. We would T.P. my high school every freshman orientation day, even though we were seniors or juniors, because the freshman would take the rap for it. I was a troublemaker; it was fun.”

When he wasn’t pranking, he was surfing. “My mom likes to say that I learned to surf and swim before I could walk,” Brooks explains. “I was about 4 when I started. My dad put me on a long board and we have horrifying pictures of me in a blue Speedo. That’s just degrading. My dad grew up in Santa Monica, so he surfed all his life, too. My brother and I wanted to follow in his footsteps and it came natural for both of us being in the water every single day. The adrenaline rush is addicting — to have a 10 foot wall of water crash down on you at any point is just great.” Brooks considered making it a career. “I did one contest and it was okay,” he recalls. “I didn’t have a sponsor and a couple of my friends had sponsors and I just saw that it was easier for them. I realized it wasn’t for me and I’d rather just surf for fun.”

The young actor says that he misses the 50th state — and his family. “I was very homesick in the beginning,” he admits. “I’m homesick right now!”

So no one special’s keeping him company in L.A.? Currently single, Brooks muses, “It’s not hard to meet girls, I guess. You can always walk up to a girl with confidence and just say, ‘Hi,’ and if they turn you down, then whatever.” What is he looking for? “Someone who can take me by surprise, who can laugh with me as well as be serious with me. A girl who is worldly and likes to travel, but who’s funny and smart and can hold a conversation.”

Until he meets her, his focus is on work. “I’d like to soak up as much information as I can and move on when the time is right,” Brooks says. “I am very grateful for this job and I’m in debt to this cast and crew forever because this is my first job and they’ve given me an opportunity to learn things. Hopefully, it can springboard into bigger things and I can always say, ‘This is where I started.’ I want to travel. I want to do movies. I have a three-year contract and we’ll see how it plays out. When the time is right, things will happen.”


Birthday: May 27

Aloha! Brooks is from Honolulu, HI

Favorite Food? “Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. I’d ask for that on every birthday.”

TV Time: “I’m hooked on GREY’S ANATOMY and LOST.”

Biggest purchase after he got the job? “I bought a computer.”

Web Browsing: “I go to MySpace and to check out the surf every day.”

Cocktail Of Choice: “Jack on the rocks. Otherwise, it’s tequila.”

Movie that never gets old?Wedding Crashers. My friends sand I can quote it nonstop.”

Most Overused Expression: “’It’s crazy.’ I say ‘stoked’ a lot. The surfing terms: ‘Dude, I’m stoked.’ ‘It’s awesome.’