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Days of Our Lives’ Paul Telfer Prepped for Playgirl Cover Shoot with Bed Rest and Fried Chicken (Exclusive)



aul Telfer has no qualms about his “soap opera hunk” persona.

Earlier this month, Telfer, 44, and his strapping Day of Our Lives costars stripped down to their underwear for Playgirl’s April digital issue. With the steamy cover causing a stir on social media, the soap opera star, 44, exclusively tells PEOPLE of the unconventional methods he used to get photo shoot ready.

Though Telfer “really wanted” to train for his Playgirl debut, he reveals that he had come down with the flu “a couple weeks prior” and was still on the mend before the shoot. In addition to plenty of bed rest, the actor shares that he also indulged in one guilty pleasure.

“The whole time I was like, ‘Well, I know I’ve got to take my shirt off in a week or so, but god, this fried chicken looks tasty,’” he laughs. “So I just couldn’t resist.”

“Luckily” for him, Telfer says that staying in peak physical condition is a “part of the job” being a soap opera hunk on Days of Our Lives. He explains that his character Alexandros “Xander” Kiriakis is known to roam shirtless in Salem so he does his best to “keep it locked down a little bit as much as possible throughout the year so that I never have to work too hard to get into shape.”

“But yeah, I would’ve liked a couple of extra weeks of time on the elliptical if I had the chance for sure,” he adds.


Despite wanting a little more time in the gym, Telfer explains that the most crucial part the process isn’t pumping iron, but adopting a carefree and confident mindset before baring it all for the camera.

“What’s most important in these things is to be relaxed and not self-conscious,” he says of the experience. “So by the time I got there, they were all so friendly and it was all such a fun atmosphere. It was just very easy just to play along.”

For the women’s lifestyle magazine’s digital issue this month, Telfer, Robert Scott Wilson, 36, Eric Martsolf, 52, Bryan Datillo, 52, and Christopher Sean, 38, celebrated their reputations as soap opera hunks with a sexy shoot that featured not only their chiseled abs but also discussed what the term “soap hunk” had come to mean to them.

When asked if Telfer felt any pressure with adhering to the archetype, the actor admits that he feels “the opposite.”

“I’d always had body issues and I’d always been self-conscious,” he explains. “I think most people are really when they’re being artists and the soaps actually really helped me with all that stuff. And either way, as long as I’m relaxed and as long as I’m comfortable in my skin, it can be attractive and people like it.”

Telfer added that learning and understanding that “not everybody is attracted to the same thing” has helped him take “the pressure off” of looking like he’s at the “top of a bodybuilding stage.”


“It’s more just that desire to continue to preserve that sense of fantasy for the fans so that they’re actually getting what they tuned in for. But beyond that, it’s been mostly positive from my sense of self-image,” he says.

On the plus side, Telfer shares that he’s worked out a system that aligns with Days of Our Lives’ filming schedule “having to be shirtless as much as I have throughout the year.” Knowing when he’s expected to film and getting the script beforehand allows him to not be blindsided for a sexy scene and prep accordingly.
“So you’re either in shape or you feel confident you’re in shape or you don’t,” he explains with a shrug. “But either way, your shirt’s coming off. And so over the years of doing that, it’s made me just a lot more comfortable in my skin and not minding that sometimes I’m really ripped and really put together and other times, I’m a bit softer and more cuddly.”

Days of our Lives is currently in its 59th season and streaming exclusively on Peacock.

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