Grobbelaar flies region’s flag in ‘Manhunt’
EAST London contortionist and model, Bradley Grobbelaar, did well by placing third in South Africa in the recent Manhunt International Contest.
That unfortunately does not qualify him to proceed further in the rankings overseas, but it is still a feather in the cap for our region. The contest seeks male models in the 18-30 age group with exceptional qualities based on physique, personality, character, looks and enthusiasm. The contest began in 1987 in Singapore and went international from 1993.
Grobbelaar said he was surprised to receive a call from an agent in Johannesburg, asking him to represent South Africa in the contest. “The first step after submitting personal information and photographs was a gruelling Skype interview in which they wanted to know all about my childhood, my aspirations, experience, accomplishments, how I see the world and what I would do to change it,” he said.
My friends and family are very supportive, but probably in the back of their minds, they think I am wasting my time trying to follow a modelling career in East London
“After that I had to take part in an audition in East London, where I was eliminated. “ Still, I feel honoured to have come so far,” he said. Grobbelaar said scope for modelling in East London was restricted. “There are good modelling schools here, but opportunities for exposure are very limited. In order to go further, one has to move to a bigger centre,” he said. Grobbelaar started modelling in 2009 while still at Baysville High.
“In 2010 a woman approached me in a shop and offered me the opportunity to work for Fashion TV [Café] while they were still situated here in East London. Obviously, I jumped at the chance.
“It was very hard at first, learning to pose naturally and becoming proficient in IT. In 2012, Rainbow magazine contacted me and offered me a full-time job as a photographic model. “Suddenly I was doing runway and photographic modelling,” he said.
He won the Mr Gay East London 2014 and Mr Gay Eastern Cape 2014 titles and was Rainbow’s centrefold in March 2015. “My friends and family are very supportive, but probably in the back of their minds they think I am wasting my time trying to follow a modelling career in East London!
“In 2015 I participated in South Africa’s Got Talent, doing a contortionist act, and made it to the top 100 in the country. While I was there, I was approached by a celebrity, Texas Battle of the Bold and the Beautiful, who wanted a picture of him and me together. That was an unexpected boost for my self-esteem! When an international actor approaches you for a photo, it gives you a sense of recognition,” he said.
“I am very glad I went into modelling as it is something I love doing with all my heart. I feel that have done well and made a name for myself and for East London. With any achievement comes humbleness, because whatever title you gain there are a lot of other people out there with equal titles and everyone is, after all, an everyday, ordinary person.
“Never give up on your dreams, because if you persevere you can get there one day with hard work. Just make sure it’s something that you love and really want. “Women these days can have a fuller figure and still be models. Gone is the “hour glass” look, now it’s ok to have some extra rolls around you. But remember to be content and happy for everything that you have.
“If modelling has taught me one thing, it’s that there is always someone out there who has less or more than you, so smile and be happy because that smile to a stranger on the street will spread from one person to the next, and before you know it the whole world could be smiling back at you,” Grobbelaar said.