George puts his best foot forward when dancing with the stars
Builder, actor, barrista, now dancer - Packed to the Rafters star George Houvrardas takes it all in his stride.
Known for his role as "Carbo" on Channel Seven's hit show Packed to the Rafters, George Houvardas is dancing up a storm on this season's Dancing with the Stars (DWTS).
Houvardas was rehearsing with dance partner: five time World Salsa champion, Luda Kroitor, when he spoke to Neos Kosmos.
While he is "pretty busy" juggling his busy training schedule for DWTS with filming Packed to the Rafters in Sydney, Houvardas insists the travelling between Melbourne and Sydney is his favourite part of it all.
"If I didn't have such a good time in Melbourne every weekend I don't think I'd be enjoying it nearly as much as I am," he said.
Houvardas said his dance partner Luda Kroitor's previous win -in season eight- with Home and Away star Luke Jacobz, raises the bar more than anything.
"I don't know if it instills more confidence, if anything it puts more pressure on me, Luda's got a good record on DWTS," he said.
The 28-year-old said his dancing is improving and he's hoping that the support base from Packed to the Rafters fans combined with "being funny" will keep him in the competition.
In this early stage of the competition, Houvardas said he sees his main competitors as Home and Away's Esther Anderson, Better Homes and Gardens' Rob Palmer and Tamara Jaber; wife of controversial Idol judge Kyle Sandilands.
Like his character on Packed to the Rafters, Houvardas still resides at home, though he says it's more like using his parent's house as a base when he's in Sydney.
When time permits between busy filming and dancing schedules Houvardas also plays the real life role of barrista, making coffees at the Sydney restaurant he owns with his family.
Houvardas, whose parents come from Lesvos, is hoping to head to Greece for a holiday later this year, which would be the first holiday he's taken since 2005, when he last visited Greece.
"I don't really have a lot of family there still (in Greece) but Greeks can always relate to each other," he says.
Houvardas speaks Greek, but says he finds it improves when he actually lands in Greece, since he doesn't speak Greek at home and describes his family as "pretty Australianised".
Houvardas, who scored his role on Packed to the Rafters after graduating from Australian TV and film school Screenwise, said he only started acting when he was 23 or 24, after he had been working as a builder for five years, something he says he could always go back to.
"Acting has always been there, I still love building, but in this industry 90 per cent of actors are unemployed so it's good to have something behind me for when times are tough, hopefully times won't be tough," he says.
Working in film is his number one goal, and after Packed to the Rafters he would happily go to America or Europe, wherever the work is, the TV star says.
Houvardas said his role on Packed to the Rafters shows progress and that the presence of non-Anglo actors on Aussie TV is important and something that is slowly improving.
"Australia is getting there," he says.
"There's still a lot of typecasting of nationalities, whenever you see the Greek guy on TV he shouldn't always be the criminal or the funny guy, Australia is getting there, but it'll take time, hopefully we'll get there, eventually," he said.
He said shows like Underbelly are helping break down stereotypes but in the same way adding to it as they still portray ethnic people as criminals.
"It's certainly improved since ten, fifteen years ago when the only time you saw a Greek guy on TV was on the Wog Boy or Acropolos Now," he said.
Houvardas' chosen charity for DWTS is the Australian Children's Music Foundation.
Founded by Don Spencer, the foundation uses the power of music to inspire and enrich the lives of Australian children and youth, particularly the disadvantaged and indigenous. "It doesn't matter where they are, music can bring them out of the dumps and transport them to a different, happier place," George says.
To vote for dancing duo George and Luda call 1902 557 714 or text "George" to 191 777.
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