LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 12: Paul Telfer attends Peacock hosts "Days Of Our Lives" Fan Event at XBOX Plaza on November 12, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images) Xander getty days
Credit: JC Olivera/Getty Images

We can understand if fans were a bit confused!

It’s no secret to anyone with eyes that Paul Telfer is a man who believes in keeping in shape. In fact, you might even say that it’s part of the Days of Our Lives fave’s brand. That’s how he put it in a Soaps.com interview.

He’s always, he noted, been body conscious. And because of that, “It becomes a part of your thing. Here’s an actor who’s very tall, here’s an actor who’s short. Here’s an actor who has a six pack. So much of this job is the way you look.”

And hey, that look got him success on mini-series like Hercules and Spartacus and it’s been serving him well on Days of Our Lives. But it was also wearing him down. He’d been working out seriously since he’d been 14 or so and had racked up injuries here and there that he just did his best to ignore and push on, so he’d been in good shape for television.

And then the pandemic struck, Days of Our Lives shut down production and the world just… stopped. For months and months.

“At first, I was good,” Telfer noted of working out. “And then I thought, ‘You know what? I think I’m gonna have a break. I don’t think I’d had a break in… I don’t think I’d ever taken a real break from exercise.”

He still kept active, but he gave his body a rest from the hardcore stuff thinking, “I’m not going to keep it up in the off-chance Days of Our Lives is going to come back in a couple weeks. This is a major historic event. Just enjoy your life for a bit.”

So he did. And then the show came back, and he was, as he put it, “in the worst shape I’ve ever been in as a grownup. And it wasn’t that bad! And I was like, ‘Oh, I kind of got away with it!’”

In their wood paneled motel room, a shirtless and intense Xander holds Sarah's hand.

Years before, he was self-conscious about going to the beach not being in peak physical shape, let alone appearing on television. But then he was on TV and… the world didn’t end. He wasn’t criticized. In fact, fans were still telling him how amazing he looked.

It helped teach him how to ease up a bit, not be so worried about being in perfect shape non-stop and even ease up on the self-criticism.

“What’s interesting,” Telfer shared, “is, our own self-conscious sense and the standard to which we hold ourselves is very different from other people. So you realize this particular way that I feel that I have to look isn’t necessarily what everyone else thinks.”

With that said, fans have come to expect a certain look from Telfer and Xander — but it’s not necessarily one of flawless physical perfection! (Not that the man ever looks remotely bad.)

So when he first shared an important video message from Days of Our Lives on his Instagram, he cheekily realized in no time that he was, as he put it, “#Unrecognizable.”

“Cheers, everyone!” He greets the camera. “It’s me, Paul Telfer from Days of Our Lives!” Crickets. “You know? I play Xander. Xander Cook? Xander Kiriakis? Wait a minute, I’ve got it!”

Telfer then proceeds to remove his shirt and… voila!

“Now you recognize me! I just wanted to let you know that Days of Our Lives is now streaming on Peacock. See you there!”

More: The infuriating twist that just buried a supercouple

So while Telfer has learned to be less self-critical, he’s also not afraid to lean into the hilarity that is Xander’s seeming allergy to clothes. We’ll take it!

As the shirtless man said, Days of Our Lives is now airing exclusively on Peacock. To make sure you never miss an episode, click here. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.

Take a look at our photo gallery of the Kiriakis bad-boy’s scandalous misadventures in Salem. It’s rated X… for Xander!