Home and Away spoilers follow.
Home and Away star Kawakawa Fox-Reo has opened up about the challenges of his character Nikau Parata's modelling storyline.
Nikau is in the middle of a new storyline that sees him thrust into the modelling world thanks to scheming agent Sienna Blake (Rose Riley).
Australian viewers have seen Nikau taking dangerous measures including skipping meals, as he struggles with the pressure to stay in shape and maintain his appearance. As part of the latest twist, he ends up being blackmailed to stay in the modelling world.
Speaking to Stuff.co.nz, Kawakawa explained that the concept of modelling clashed with his culture.
"I can only speak from my experience, and that is that all the Māori and the Pacific Islanders that I grew up with were just raised in a way where you don't celebrate yourself," he said.
"You don't really praise yourself at all. I think, for me, it's really highlighted a Kiwi way of thinking around the body and staying humble and all that – and the modelling industry is the total opposite of humble."
Kawakawa added that he was "a bit nervous" when he started filming Nikau's latest storyline due to his unfamiliarity with the modelling industry, and ended up having conversations with a friend who is also a model.
"I take my hat off to anyone in that world because it's not easy," he said. "In fact, it's a really tough and cut-throat industry to be thrown into.
"It relies purely on how you look, and some people are willing to do whatever it takes to look a certain way. And sometimes I think that gets to the point where it can get unsafe."
Home and Away airs weekdays at 1.15pm and 6pm on Channel 5 (UK) and Mondays to Thursdays at 7pm on Channel 7 (Australia). Selected classic episodes are available via Amazon Prime Video in the UK
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