They met on the set of Spartacus, earning quick cash as extras sporting swords, sandals and oil-slicked bodies.
Now Black Cap Mitchell McClenaghan and his good friend Art Green - the star of TV3's upcoming reality bonkbuster The Bachelor NZ - are set to lift their profiles, and increase their fortunes in the food manufacturing company they run with fellow bestie Ryan Kamins.
McClenaghan, the dashing 28-year-old left-arm fast bowler from Auckland, has landed a lucrative six-week contract in cricket's Indian Premier League with the Ricky Ponting-coached Mumbai Indians on a $64,000 salary. Not a bad wicket.
Will he be accompanied by his 20-year-old girlfriend Renee Brown, an architecture student?
"He will want her there, for sure," laughed Kamins.
The move to India is a great opportunity for Clean Paleo, the young guns' manufacturing business which makes food products such as cereals and protein powders for people following the popular caveman diet.
McClenaghan and Kamins, 26, co-founded the company in 2013.
Green, 26, came on board last year as a shareholder and chief operating officer.
The firm has big plans to move into India and China, and is in discussions with wholesale distributors and major retail chains across the region, including the Taj Group in Mumbai which operates 125 hotels across India.
They're working to get Clean Paleo products listed on Chinese e-commerce powerhouse Ali Baba and Amazon in the US.
"With Mitch being in India, it will definitely open doors for the company. The IPL contract means the Mumbai Indians will build his brand as an individual and that will help build our brand," Kamins told The Diary.
Green, who lives a low-key life in Orakei with eight flatmates, is set to raise his profile next month when The Bachelor NZ hits screens.
It follows a group of Kiwi single girls holed up in a Karaka mansion who vie for Green's attention and affection through a series of oversharing dates and cheesy rose ceremonies.
Green wasn't available for comment yesterday, and Kamins was screening calls to protect him from nosy journos.
TV3 takes a dim view of its stars talking outside pre-planned promotions.
For the entrepreneurs, all publicity is welcome as Clean Paleo hopes to raise funds and lift sales in the domestic market and overseas.
"We are in a capital-raising phase at the moment, trying to raise $1 million for the New Zealand market, and we'll do a second stage later this year to expand further into India and China," Kamins said.
He laughs that his colleagues - both past models with a penchant for going shirtless - are bona fide celebrities.
"I remember when we were all running around on set as extras on Spartacus," Kamins reminisced.
The experience for McClenaghan, who has a commerce and marketing degree, was humbling. He needed money and decided to take part in a modelling shoot for The Warehouse for extra cash.
He entered the Cleo Bachelor of the Year competition and was awarded the coveted Mr February 2013 spot - even admitting in his video-bio that he listens to Harry Potter books on tape when he can't get to sleep.
"[Modelling and acting] was the only kind of work I could get, hanging out for the next job so I could train all the time," he told Fairfax.
"It's hard for first-class cricketers to find work, nearly impossible. Even guys with qualifications, no one will take you on for three months."
He need not worry now. The international cricketer's career and profile is on a meteoric rise.
The Guardian newspaper said this week: "McClenaghan might actually be the best international limited overs bowler you've never noticed."
He was unavailable for comment yesterday. The Black Caps play England in Wellington today.
Too thick-skinned to care
Two rugby stars take a selfie and get upstaged by a photobombing rhino on a leisurely walk.
Hurricanes Ardie Savea and Ma'a Nonu joined the team for a safari park trip in Johannesburg this week, where they saw "a couple of rhinos off for a stroll, a lion taking a poo, giraffes and elephants", as eloquently put by teammate Jason Woodward on social media.
Strewth! Oz job for Ruth
Ruth Wynn-Williams is TV One's woman in Oz. She will be replacing Steve Marshall as One News' Australia correspondent.
She heads to Sydney next weekend to begin a two-year posting. She beat a shortlist of top talent, including Daniel Faitaua and Max Bania.
Fiance Matt Gibb, a TV presenter and social media guru, is relocating too.
"He'll use the opportunity to try his hand across the ditch but will continue to work in New Zealand as well. We're both looking forward to the challenge," Wynn-Williams said.