Tom Clark isn’t the least bit nervous in front of the camera. At least that’s what he tells me, in fact he’s ‘really chilled’ about the whole photo shoot. Not bad for a 17 year old! Tom from Bishop’s Cleeve was actually only 16 when he won the 12-18 male category in the Face of the Cheltonian competition last year.
I asked him how he came to enter. He was in town with one of his friends, he says, when they were ‘dragged in’ off the street. They said ‘no’ at first but changed their minds as it was just a bit of fun. At that stage Tom didn’t expect to make it to the final, let alone win.
His family saw his picture in the magazine and told him that he had made the shortlist, but initially he thought they were winding him up. Readers were asked to vote for the winner and the ceremony would take place in the Beechwood Arcade. It was a real shock when his name was announced as the winner.
Tom is still at school at Bishop’s Cleeve Sixth Form where he recently took his AS levels in English Literature, Law, Spanish and Maths. He says he ‘did pretty well actually’. With those out of the way he has already started his A levels. He hopes to study Law or Literature at University and would like to go to Aberystwyth. He plays sport at school, particularly basketball and still plays in the school team. He is proficient in Spanish and has been to Spain a number of times as it helps him improve his language skills for his A level and he has family over there.
While we chat the subject of his hair inevitably arises. People always comment on his hair, he tells me. His hairdresser has even asked him to model for them. I ask him whether he would like to be a professional model and he replies, ‘only if the opportunity arose’.
His girlfriend Lizzie, however, would love to be a model and recently took part in a beauty pageant. She lives in Worcester where she enters loads of modelling competitions and Tom believes she has the potential to be a model or an actress.
Travelling to Worcester on the train is his main ‘occupation’ these days, aside from school and a part time job at a clothes retailer on Sundays. Hopefully the train travel won’t continue forever as Tom is learning to drive with a little help from his dad who is a driving instructor with LDC (Learner Driver Company) Tom has just passed his theory and achieved full marks. He was pleased with that. Hopefully the practical test will go the same way – he may even have passed it by the time you read this.
Tom lives at home with his mum, 12 year old sister Katie who goes to Pitville School, little brother Charlie who is only two and Meg the Springer Spaniel but sees the rest of his family regularly. He also has an older brother, Ryan, who is 27, and lives in Cheltenham and works as an administrator for a pest control company.
Tom plays guitar and loves to listen to music. His taste covers everything from Bob Marley, The Ramones and also some new stuff. He even admits to liking some country, plus rock, R & B, pop, rap, in fact anything contemporary. Much of this like The Ramones has come from his dad who Tom says is into ‘old punk’. Lizzie also introduced him to John Mayer, an American soft rock guitarist and he really likes him too.
He watches TV and would say his favourite series is Two and a Half Men. ‘I love comedies,’ he says, ‘and I’m also a movie guy. The Hangover is a personal favourite movie!
I watched The Hangover 2 in Worcester recently and it was hilarious. I also love English movies like Snatch, but I like older films as well like Pulp Fiction but mostly horror. Every time I watch a horror’ film’ he jokes, ‘I try to find a more scary one.’
Other hobbies – he loves fashion and clothes and then there’s Nando’s. Tom has an obsession with Nando’s and says he went three times during the Easter holidays alone. The summer holidays have only just started and he’s already been at least once!
The front cover photograph was taken by John Moore of Two Front Teeth Photography in Cheltenham.
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