Cape Town - He was shocked when he dredged up old pictures of himself.
“I had enough opportunity to show off my hard work,” the now buff Anton Taylor quips about his role as Darren Nudelman, the groom-to-be in Showmax’s super popular spoof reality show, Tali’s Wedding Diary.
Anton (30) dropped almost 20 kg before he nabbed the role, deciding to turn his life around. And after the show’s runaway success, he’s certainly glad he did!
“In one of the episodes it’s my bachelor’s in Muizenberg,” he tells YOU. “I had this horrendous mankini on. No-one batted an eyelid.”
As a pupil at Bishops in Rondebosch, Cape Town, he played rugby – but a knee injury meant he had to stop playing and the kilos started piling on.
“I was an emotional eater and drank a two-litre cola almost every evening when studying,” says Anton, who’s currently working towards a creative writing Master’s degree at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
So what prompted the drastic lifestyle change?
“It was a combination of things. I just became much more serious about how I look. I had to break bad habits, like cutting out booze completely. After that I dropped off weight very quickly.
“I still had to control what I ate. Eat just when you’re hungry, not when you’re bored or lonely. Ask yourself every time: Am I really hungry? Be aware of what you snack on. Cut down on sugar. Colddrinks have a lot calories. I still eat carbs.”
It’s been nearly three years since he’s had a chicken burger from his favourite fast-food restaurant. “I wanted a better body. I stopped dopping [drinking alcohol] in September 2016 and started gyming. I wanted stomach muscles.”
He’s also an amateur boxer and goes a round or two against an opponent every now and then.
His weight dropped from 90kg to his current 74kg. He’s 1,78m tall. Filming Tali’s Wedding Diary started in June last year and within a month he lost the last bit of belly fat in order to look good for the cameras.
“It was such a cool thing to be in the show. It is a weird feeling,” he says. His dad, Allan Taylor (63), was especially excited because he’s a big fan of Julia Anastasopoulos (AKA SuzelleDIY).
“She’s so beautiful and talented. Her husband guided me and helped with my underplayed and chilled Darren to balance out the more hysterical Tali,” Anton says.
The show wasn’t Anton’s first time in front of the camera.
He was in the short film Keys, Money, Phone that did well at the Durban International Film Festival in 2015. He’s been in several advertisements, as well as in YouTube series Jozi Shore.
He’s been a voice rugby commentator on DStv’s SuperSport 1.
Tali’s Wedding Diary follows a self-obsessed Sandton princess (played by Julia) who’s moved to Cape Town and is filming the build-up to her wedding to her property-agent fiancé Darren.
“Tali and Suzelle are very different characters,” Julia says. “Everyone loves Suzelle but audiences are going to love to hate Tali – she’s definitely a bridezilla, who’s determined to have the perfect wedding, with or without her husband-to-be.”
She says while Suzelle would love Tali, Tali would find Suzelle irritating.
Tali’s Wedding Diary was inspired by Julia’s own wedding to SuzelleDIY director Ari Kruger. Their shared sense of humour was part of what brought them together and they had lots to laugh at in the build-up to their wedding. “There’s so much comedic material in getting married,” Julia says.
Another character that features in the series is that of Darren’s best friend and fellow estate agent, Rael Rosen, played by comedian Glen Biderman-Pam. “We were in Bishops together,” Anton says. “In between takes we kept up the banter between Darren en Rael by talking a lot of k*k.”
READ NEXT: Everybody loves Rael!
There’s talk of a second season and hopefully a spin-off which would see Darren, Rael and the property business more in the spotlight.
Since premiering on 14 December last year, Tali’s Wedding Diary was Showmax’s most successful show ever on its first day, with more than double the number of first-day views of any previous show, publicist Kevin Kriedemann confirms.
“To put it into a little more perspective, Tali had more than four times the number of viewers on its first day than Game of Thrones S7 on its first day on Showmax.”