"I remember feeling like I was in Disneyland," actor Noah Mills tells PEOPLE of appearing in Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" video


Love may be a battlefield, but appearing as Taylor Swift‘s ex in her “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” video didn’t exactly prepare Noah Mills to play a combat medic in The Brave.

“The music video thing is much more about the image,” the actor, 32, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “There is that disconnect from music videos into having a lens in your face and telling somebody that you love them or you’re angry.”

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Credit: Katie Levine

Before scoring his first leading acting gig in the NBC military drama, Mills did learn a little bit about what goes on in Swift’s world.

“It was super goofy,” Mills recalls. “I remember feeling like I was in Disneyland. Everything was super upbeat.”

The former model doesn’t describe his time on The Brave‘s New Mexico set quite the same way — especially because the show brought an ex Navy SEAL on to consult about military life.

“As far as the real technicalities, we’ve done a lot of stuff in rudimentary,” Mills explains. “I got a whole schooling just about what you do if you come upon somebody with a fracture or laceration, so I’ve learned to do some suturing, hook up an IV and bandaging. I’ve also learned a lot about the guns. We do fire real blanks; I feel like I’ve picked that up really, really well.”

The Brave - Season 1
Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

Mills worried his modeling background — and his stint as Samantha’s boy toy in Sex and the City 2 — would keep him from landing a role that wasn’t based on his looks.

“It garnered me some attention and some press, but in hindsight most people were screen grabbing my ass,” he says of his SATC 2 role. “Being that type of character, it does hinder and I think makes people second guess you for more serious parts, more rugged roles.”

Mills continues, “Bringing that to this job, I was giving [creator] Dean [Georgaris] a big hug because I was like, ‘Thanks for just looking past some of that stuff and letting me do my thing.’ And he’s like, ‘I didn’t even know you were a model!’ ”

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The Canadian admits his modeling days didn’t earn him much recognition.

“That’s the funny thing about modeling. There’s something about that still image that removes a bit of you,” Mills says. “And that’s what’s exciting about the acting, is getting to talk and have a personality. Hopefully people will identify. I look forward to having fans.”

The Brave airs Mondays (10 p.m. ET) on NBC.