Dominic Bowden: Cruising the freeway
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DOMINIC BOWDEN CO-HOSTS E! CHANNEL’S THE HYPE. HE ALSO HOSTS THE X FACTOR, DANCING WITH THE STARS NZ AND IS BACKSTAGE HOST ON DWTS USA. HE IS A MAZDA NZ AMBASSADOR
What car do you drive for your role as Mazda NZ ambassador and why this vehicle?
The wonderful Mazda6 wagon. I’m tall and the car is perfect for me, lots of headroom most importantly. I love the stereo, I end up listening to my favourite LA station KCRW when I’m in NZ. I always smile as I hear about the two-hour delays on the 405 freeway in LA while driving to my family’s bach.
How did your relationship with Mazda NZ start and what does it involve?
I started working with Mazda thanks to The X Factor NZ. I gave a Mazda away to Beau Monga at the end of season 2. Since then, they have been incredibly good to me.
Who taught you to drive, and what were you like as a learner driver?
My dad — and I feel sorry for him. It took me a while to get the hang of it ... he was lucky to make it out alive. He still has issues with getting in a car I’m driving.
What was your first car?
A beat-up Ferrari-red Fiat Uno.
What is your dream car?
The Mazda Furai supercar. Saw one in the flesh. Started saving.
You’ve lived in Los Angeles for nine years. How did you adjust to LA driving?
I don’t think you ever truly adjust to LA traffic, I have lived all over the city and sometimes had more than a daily three-hour return commute. When I first got here without GPS back in 2007, there were lot of missed turnoffs, a lot of missed meetings. I’m surprised I still have a job.
And you must have owned a convertible during your time there ...
They say “spot the tourist” in LA. You only buy a convertible once. It’s normally too hot to drive down with the top off and so much of it is on a smelly concrete freeway. The first car I bought, living the LA dream, was a convertible.
What is the scariest or craziest traffic incident you’ve seen when in LA?
I’ve seen a few: 10-car pile ups, lots of car-on-bike accidents but the scary thing is driving next to $2 million supercars (you know your insurance wouldn’t cover that) and they are everywhere. Just a broken side mirror would be the end of me.
What are some star-spotting tips for Kiwis visiting LA?
The biggest misconception is that there are celebrities on every corner. It’s not the case at all. Instead, drive around Pasadena, Venice, Silverlake to Downtown, it’s the best city in the world.
If you must look for celebs, hike Runyon Canyon but you’ll have to look hard, they are doing their best to stay incognito. Good luck.
Which star would you like to go on a road trip with, where to and in what car?
I would like to travel with (Kiwi basketball star) Steve Adams and his whole OKC team to a game in the team bus, in full uniform.