'Sexiest Vet Alive' Evan Antin explores the wild in TV show
Evan Goes Wild star Evan Antin uses his fame to teach about animals
Evan Antin may have been dubbed the Sexiest Vet Alive by People magazine in 2015, but that title was never something he was working towards.
But it has been a "positive, interesting thing", as it has given the hunky US veterinarian opportunities to "educate people about animals".
The 34-year-old's Instagram account boasts 1.2 million followers and is where he shares candidly about his work life at Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital in California.
His rise to fame has provided him not only with a burgeoning platform to raise awareness of animals and animal conservation but also his own TV show, Evan Goes Wild.
Premiering on Animal Planet (SingTel TV Ch 208) on May 13 at 8.05pm, the docuseries features Antin travelling to exotic locales to observe, interact with and at times tend to injured native creatures.
According to the bona fide Internet sensation, the hospital where he works has seen an uptick in female pet owners ever since he was featured in People magazine, as well as "more business" after Evan Goes Wild aired in the US.
Fortunately, his US journalist-fiancee Nathalie Basha is "cool with it" and is "proud" of him, and she is also extremely supportive of his fan base.
He told The New Paper over the phone from Los Angeles: "The downside of having that reputation (of Sexiest Vet Alive) is that people might not take me seriously or might not think I am a real vet. But it is not a big issue."
Antin said that he found his calling early. Even as a Kansas City boy growing up, animals "were a big part of my life".
His childhood memories include catching lizards and turtles for play.
After taking biology classes in college, he went on to pursue evolutionary ecological biology, eventually settling into veterinary work - and he "could not be happier".
SHARKS AND CROCS
Filming Evan Goes Wild "dominated" his life over the three-month shoot, where he flirts with sharks in the South Pacific, tangles with crocodiles in the Yucatan and gigantic lizards in the Philippines.
One of the biggest highlights of being part of the show was "working with the people" - meeting and forging connections with conservationists and other wildlife staff, and being inspired by their "amazing" work.
Antin wants viewers to be exposed to and excited about the huge diversity of animal species that exist on Earth.
However, one of his most significant concerns other than the over-fishing of sharks lies in the dark side of animal poaching - particularly for species prized in traditional Chinese medicine such as pangolins, which he calls "the most heavily poached mammals in the entire world".
He feels that raising awareness is paramount in creating a better future for animals and for humans to co-exist peacefully with them.
He also advocates making small changes daily, from basic actions like forgoing single-use plastics when not necessary to taking note of proper waste management, which eventually affects the ecosystem.
Although nothing is on the cards yet, Antin is keeping his fingers crossed for a second season of his show.
"If not Evan Goes Wild, I'd love to do another programme where I work with wildlife," he said.