Sorry, Al­tus! Paula falls for Em­manuel Castis

A new hunk in Hill­side sweeps Paula off her feet and brings out the greeneyed mon­ster in Al­tus.

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7de Laan

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Rest­less and in­se­cure – that’s been Paula’s (Di­aan Lawrenson) emo­tional state of mind for a while now. And not just be­cause she is still re­cov­er­ing from on­line at­tacks by ri­val vlog­ger Brenda P (Na­dia Beukes) in April. Th­ese days it’s be­cause there’s a new man on the hori­zon who might just be able to awaken her fa­mous “je ne sais quoi” again.


It’s ac­tu­ally Xan­der ( Theo Jan­tjies) who puts the Hill­side Times’ team on the new­comer’s trail on Wed­nes­day 27 May when he re­veals that in­ter­na­tional pho­tog­ra­pher Yan­nis Kou­varis (played by well- known soapie star Em­manuel Castis) is busy shoot­ing his new project in Hill­side. So in an at­tempt to draw so­cial but­ter­fly Paula out of her de­pres­sion, Xan­der asks her to in­ter­view the vis­it­ing celebrity even though Paula’s not at all keen. “She’s not re­ally in­ter­ested in him,” Di­aan says. “But that’s un­til she

sees him up close in Op­piekoffie.” On Thurs­day 28 May, Paula’s jaw is on the floor while she’s star­ing at Yan­nis sit­ting in front of her – and there’s only one word that she can come up with: “Yummy,” Di­aan laughs, be­fore adding that Paula’s caught un­awares by his good looks so she ends up fum­bling the in­ter­view. Em­manuel says that his char­ac­ter acts cool, calm and col­lected dur­ing the awk­ward in­ter­view and “re­alises that she’s out of her com­fort zone and knows that he made an im­pact, but he’s not go­ing to make it that easy for her and even acts im­pa­tiently when she can’t prop­erly ar­tic­u­late some of her ques­tions”.


“Yan­nis is a fa­mous in­ter­na­tional pho­tog­ra­pher and an ex­pert in fe­male beauty,” Em­manuel says. “He’s pub­lished many cof­feetable books with fa­mous mod­els and gor­geous women, but he’s re­cently be­come tired of his work and is look­ing for a fresh con­cept for his new pho­to­book.”

That con­cept takes off on Fri­day 29 May when he runs into Paula in the Deli. And like their first en­counter, this one’s awk­ward too… at first. “She falls over when she spots him and he’s there to catch her,” Em­manuel ex­plains. “And in that very mo­ment that their eyes lock, he’s hit by a bolt of in­spi­ra­tion – he wants to make Paula the muse for his new project in which he cap­tures on film the life of an or­di­nary woman in her com­mu­nity.”

So on Mon­day 1 June, at a Bruyn­waves’ cock­tail party to cel­e­brate their newly- ren­o­vated of­fices, Yan­nis asks Paula to be his new muse. Di­aan says that the re­quest makes Paula feel flat­tered. “She never ex­pected this Greek god would want to make her the fo­cus of his new project. She feels hon­oured, but she’s also self­con­scious and for the first time she doubts whether she’s worth it. In the past, Paula wouldn’t have thought twice about ac­cept­ing the of­fer to be the fo­cal point of

a pho­to­shoot.”


Yan­nis may have caught Paula’s eye but there are still a lot of un­der­ly­ing feel­ings be­tween her and ex- hubby Al­tus (Heino Sch­mitt). “Poor Al­tie tries hard to win back her trust and he’s not at all im­pressed with Yan­nis, who only has eyes for Paula,” Di­aan adds. On Tues­day 2 June, Al­tus lays his cards on the ta­ble with Paula and asks her to take him back, which con­fuses her even more. “He de­clares his undy- ing love for Paula and owns up to miss­ing her ter­ri­bly. But Paula’s con­flicted be­cause she’s de­vel­oped feel­ings for Yan­nis and sees a pos­si­ble fu­ture with him,” Di­aan says. With two very dif­fer­ent guys to choose from, Paula’s in a pickle, but is she re­ally ready to move on af­ter Al­tus’s af­fair?


Em­manuel’s an old favourite with soapie fans, who will re­mem­ber him as nice- guy Steve Stethakis on Isidingo (1998-2006) and shady wom­an­iser Cole Har­ris on Scan­dal! (2009-2012). Be­fore join­ing 7de Laan in March, Em­manuel was tour­ing the world with the stage mu­si­cal Jer­sey Boys. “I’ve been away from soapies for more than two years and I re­ally en­joyed get­ting back into the in­dus­try,” Em­manuel says of his guest stint on 7de Laan. And he’s open to the idea of join­ing a soapie on a per­ma­nent ba­sis again. “It felt like I was ‘com­ing home’ when I started at 7de Laan. And I think if the right op­por­tu­nity comes along, I’d con­sider join­ing a soap on a per­ma­nent ba­sis again.”

But first there are a few other projects de­mand­ing his at­ten­tion. “I’m cur­rently busy record­ing four mod­ern con­tem­po­rary songs that I will be re­leas­ing in­de­pen­dently. They’ll be avail­able on iTunes and on my web­site in the next cou­ple of months. Then I’m also on my way to the United States and who knows, you may see me in a movie or two,” Em­manuel teases.

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