Josh Duhamel pro­mot­ing North Dakota

Ac­tor a ‘reg­u­lar’ guy in his home state

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - DESTINATIONS - By Beth J. Harpaz

WHEN ac­tor Josh Duhamel and his wife, Fergie, lead singer of the Black Eyed Peas, need a break from life in Los An­ge­les, they head to a place not known for at­tract­ing a lot of celebrity jet-set­ters: North Dakota. And now Duhamel, a na­tive of North Dakota, is serv­ing as am­bas­sador for the state, star­ring in TV and print ads due out later this year pro­mot­ing tourism there. “When­ever peo­ple tell me, ‘I’ve been to 49 states,’ I say, ‘Let me guess. You haven’t been to North Dakota,’ ” Duhamel said in a phone in­ter­view. “We’re al­ways the last state. I am try­ing to change that! We may be the 50th most-vis­ited state, but we only have one way to go: up.” Duhamel, who ap­peared in Trans­form­ers movies and the TV show Las Ve­gas, is from Minot, N.D., and gets back a few times a year. “We love to take road trips, me and my wife and my sis­ter and her hus­band,” he said. “We’ll drive from Minot to Fargo, stop in ran­dom towns, pop­u­la­tion 20, go in and grab a beer.” Do they get rec­og­nized? “A lot of th­ese guys are old farm­ers,” he said. “They’re not big Black Eyed Peas fans, or Las Ve­gas or Trans­form­ers fans. They don’t re­ally care. They treat us like we’re reg­u­lar peo­ple.” It’s a wel­come change from L.A. “Ev­ery time I go back to North Dakota, the stress level just goes down,” he said. “There’s just so much open road. You can go 100 miles with noth­ing but lit­tle farm­houses. Some­thing about the way peo­ple ap­proach life is re­fresh­ing.” Duhamel spent eight days mak­ing the ads last sum­mer with his son, Axl, 2, in tow. “We trav­elled from Me­dora in the Bad­lands and Theodore Roo­sevelt Na­tional Park, all the way east through Bis­marck to the Lewis and Clark Trail and Devils Lake and ended up in Fargo,” he said. “We made it a whole sort of road trip.” The ads’ ir­rev­er­ent tone play on the idea Duhamel is just a reg­u­lar guy back home. One shows Duhamel meet­ing a cou­ple while hik­ing. They ask for a photo. He as­sumes they want a photo of him, but in­stead they want him to shoot them. Duhamel’s top rec­om­men­da­tions for des­ti­na­tions

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