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I went from 7st geek to sex god on a mission to get buff. Nothing could stop me. As well as running and lifting weights, I dined on pasta salads made with seven cans of tuna and drank lots of protein shakes. I was determined to leave behind felt good enough for girls. the scrawny geek with bad hair. But it was time for a change. Just months later, as I finished Determined to get a new my A levels, I had the hot bod I’d haircut and have a fresh start, always dreamed of. I worked as many Saturday My training had gone so well, jobs as I could fit in. I took it on as a career. I became I did a paper round, worked in a personal trainer, helping other a restaurant and stacked shelves people to get their ideal bodies. in Tesco, until I’d finally saved I got a buzz from my new job enough cash to visit a posh and loved my fit physique. Like my hairdressing salon. hair, it boosted my self-esteem. I went shopping for tight T-shirts A new beginning and trendy jeans to complete my ‘I wanted hair like Ryan Giggs’ ‘No more home cuts for me,’ look. And as my confidence inched I said to Mum, after booking an up, I started to get looks from girls. appointment at a top salon in The first time a girl eyed me up Manchester. ‘I’m getting a proper hairstyle.’ in the street, my tummy flipped. It felt so good. Mum raised her eyebrows. But as soon as she’d turned away, and giggled We’d always had our hair cut by a mobile to her mates, my old insecurities crept back in. hairdresser who wore stonewash jeans and ‘Was I good enough?’ I asked myself over and had a streaky, blond 1980s mullet. over again. It seemed it would take a while for I set off for the hairdresser’s in town. my head to catch up with my new look. Slipping into the plush leather chair, I blushed. ‘Make me look cool,’ I said to the stylist. Being Dad He hacked off my gimpy curls, and an hour Then, a few months before my 19th birthday, later, he swirled me round to face the mirror. I got together with a girl I’d met while taking As I gazed ahead at my on extra work in a clothes shop. reflection, my mouth fell We fell for each other quickly and I finally open and my heart started lost my virginity at 18. to thud at super speed. But just months later, she missed a period. ‘Oh, my God,’ I said, ‘I’m pregnant,’ she told me bravely, her gently touching my bottom lip trembling. newly shaved head. It was such a shock. The room started to spin I looked good. Better and I felt a bit sick. But I knew instantly I wanted than good, I looked hot. to be the best dad I could. My age didn’t matter. Without my curls, you could see my defined Our relationship fizzled out and we split up cheekbones and manly chin. ‘I’m not ugly,’ I before our baby arrived. But we stayed best mates whispered to myself. I couldn’t believe it was me. and I was there when our daughter was born. But I was only halfway there. I still had a ‘Hello Mia,’ I whispered, cradling my little girl scrawny body. It didn’t match my face. for the first time, tracing her tiny fingernails and So I signed up at the local gym. cute button nose. She was perfect. The instructor didn’t laugh at my bony body as I was overwhelmed with the need to protect her. he drew up a muscle-building programme for me. Over the next few years, her mum and I worked I soon became addicted to the weightlifting out a routine, where we both took care of her. machines, heaving heavy weights above my Being a daddy meant so much. Looking after head three times a day. Mia made me realise what was really important. Over the next few weeks, I transformed my Whenever she peeped up at me, I forgot puny chest into manly pecs and my Twiglet about my body hang-ups. I felt so lucky. arms into bulging biceps. I had a lad’s lifestyle, going out with my ‘Don’t overdo it, love,’ Mum warned. But I was mates and enjoying a pint or two for half of

after BB the week, and the rest was spent with Mia. Doing dad stuff meant everything. I read The Princess and The Unicorn every night before I tucked her up in bed, and made her boiled eggs and soldiers for her breakfast. Yet while being a dad was the best thing, I still longed to fall in love. I believe everyone has a soulmate.

Looking for The One

I met a girl and we dated on and off for three years. But I thought I was ready for something more serious than she was. And anyway, I wasn’t 100 per cent happy with my looks, my old insecurities still bothering me. So, just weeks after we broke up, heartbroken and desperate to find love, I applied to go on Big Brother 9 on a whim. I knew that Mia, five, would be OK with her Mum for a little while. ‘You can watch me in the mornings,’ I said, telling her about the edited breakfast-time show. Going into the house, I hoped viewers would see me as a nice guy on the lookout for love. And a tiny bit of me thought I might meet the girl of my dreams. But while I made some great mates, there wasn’t a girl for me. My old insecurities niggled in my tummy. I was worried people would see the old geeky Stuart. I couldn’t escape my low self-esteem. I was proud I went on Big Brother and really grateful for the positive support from viewers, but it felt strange watching the show afterwards. And now, even as everyone is moving on from this year’s series, I’ve only seen a couple of clips of my Big Brother journey. I’m still quite shy, but I’ve been doing lots of photo shoots, interviews and TV appearances, which are helping to build up my confidence. Maybe one day, I’ll think I’m sexy. Girls come up to me in clubs and tell me I’m fit, so I must have some good qualities. Mia thinks I’m a cool dad, too. ‘You were my favourite,’ she said when I came out. ‘But I liked Kat as well.’ And I’m really flattered to have been offered a contract with YSL. Modelling their Touche Éclat For Men means so much to me. Being a dad, my hard work in the gym and new hair have all boosted my confidence. But while Big Brother has raised my profile, I now worry about trusting girls. I wonder whether they like me or the fame that follows. I know one day, I’ll find a soulmate who will love me with or without Ryan Giggs hair. And for now, I’m focusing on my career and my number-one girl, Mia. n

Stuart Pilkington was a total dweeb at school and had no luck with the ladies, but when he cut his hair, everything changed…

P

oking out my tongue in concentration, I carefully scrunched my hair, running the gel through every strand. My eyes flicked to a poster of Ryan Giggs – the Manchester United footballer. ‘Not bad,’ I grinned, as I twisted two bits of hair around my fingers, recreating his wavy, curtained look. At 13, I thought it looked so cool. When, in fact, it made me look like a geek. And my sad hairdo, paired with my skinny 6ft 2in, 7st frame, meant the girls in my year weren’t interested in snogging me. From 11 to 17, I didn’t have a girlfriend. While my mates were getting off with fit young ladies at house parties, I was alone in the corner. Although my mates joked and rubbed my hair, no one told me I looked bad. So I didn’t associate my single status with my appearance. Every time one of the kids in the playground teased me, or whenever a girl rejected me for one of my mates, my confidence sunk lower. Hiding inside baggy tracksuits and listening to rock bands like Oasis, I tried not to mind

that I was like a leper to females. I didn’t blame the girls for not fancying me, and I became too shy to approach them at discos. For a while, I got by. I played loads of football and wagged lessons with the trendy kids. But while I acted cool, I still looked like a geek. And when all my lad mates started going further with girls and losing their virginity, I was left firmly on the sidelines. I’d barely kissed a girl, let alone got near enough for sex. ‘Who’d want you?’ I told myself. But then, as I started my A levels, I slowly started to realise what was holding me back. My Ryan Giggs-like hair and skinny body. For seven years, I’d been single and not

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words/photos agency/writer

photos paul postile hair and make up safia styling semra

‘I now worry about trusting girIs – do they like me or the fame that follows?’

‘I hope one day I’ll find my soulmate’

AS TOLD TO CARLY HOBBS YourStories@loveitmagazine.co.uk 020 7198 3102

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Stu