MAMBO, an Australian surf and streetwear brand, is arriving stateside exclusively at Bon-Ton stores and bonton.com in a few months. And last night, we were invited to hang out with True Blood star and U.S. ‘Mambassador’ Ryan Kwanten for the launch of the brand’s Spring 2012 collection, which also included graphic tees designed by Kwanten himself! We chatted with the multi-talented actor, published writer, and triathlete about his history with Mambo, showing LOTS of skin in True Blood, and working on indie movies.
How did you get involved with Mambo?
Well they originally approached me in the beginning of this year. I obviously had heard of Mambo- they’re very, very big in Australia. In fact, I recently read an article where in the last thirty years they’ve [become] one of the most influential apparel labels ever [there].
Do you skate or surf at all?
I do both. I grew up on the beach so mainly surfing. Believe it or not, [I grew up] in the same small little beach town where Mambo is made, which is called Manly. I actually grew up in what we call “Poor Man’s Manly,” it’s the same little stretch of beach but just at the other end.
You play Jason Stackhouse on True Blood, which is such a great show. What’s your favorite episode that you guys have filmed?
Ah that’s impossible [to say], honestly every script that I read never ceases to amaze me. I finish reading it and I think, ‘How in the world am I going to make this happen?!’ Like some of the things that they have me do are just out of this world. I feel that it has really stretched me as an actor and as a person; it has really opened me up to not be so analytical about things. Jason is the kind of person who just jumps off a cliff without even thinking about it.
There’s a lot of nudity in the show. Everybody’s naked all the time, especially Jason. How did you get over that?
It’s interesting because Jason is not the kind of character that is overly concerned with that, he is very comfortable in his own skin. So, the moment I become uncomfortable in my own skin that reads on camera. I just put myself in the trusty hands of [director] Alan Ball and his writers and leave it at that.
Besides True Blood, I’ve heard that you’ve been working on a few movies as well. Is there one coming out that you’re really excited about?
There’s a bunch actually. I just finished one back in Australia called Not Suitable for Children. I did one last year called Knights of Badassdom and one now called 7500.
How do you find the time to keep it all balanced?
Sleep isn’t a priority. I love playing characters and I love what I do. I work so hard to try to get myself in this position so I feel like I’m living the dream.
Photographer: Markus Mamoser