There’ll be a new face on The Price Is Right next week.
James O’Halloran, an Australian model and actor, has won a competition to join the show as the second male model in the program’s history.
After a nationwide casting call, producers narrowed the field down to a group of semifinalists who competed in various modeling tasks. (Think America’s Next Top Model with less Tyra and more abs.) Three finalists emerged, and America voted for the favorite one. In the end, O’Halloran beat out finalists Jay Byars and Jonathan Morgan.
O’Halloran doesn’t know how much of his success is due to his Aussie accent, but he acknowledges that it didn’t hurt his chances.
“I’m just humbled that I was chosen,” he tells PEOPLE. “I guess my accent probably did help.”
Before he was a model, O’Halloran, 30, worked as an industrial designer.
“I spent four years studying industrial design and worked three years in the industry,” he says. “But I was taking nighttime acting classes. Then, in the midst of a global recession, I quit my job to become a model. I think it worked out for me so far!”
He first tried out to be on the show because the audition time was convenient for his schedule. As the process went on, he found himself getting more and more excited about the opportunity.
“At first, I was pretty laid-back about it, which made me relaxed during auditions,” he says. “But then I really, really wanted the job.”
But O’Halloran hasn’t had much time to bask in his victory – he immediately went to work. Because there are more than 100 pricing games on The Price Is Right, he has a lot to learn.
“It’s complicated, but it’s a very well-oiled machine. Everyone is being really pleasant, and I’m learning a lot,” he says. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity.”
O’Halloran’s shows will air next week; if it goes well, he could become a more permanent fixture. And how will he watch his debut?
“I don’t really like seeing myself on screen,” he says. “I’ll have some friends come over to watch. If it gets too bad, I’ll just go hide in the bedroom.”