Paul O'Mahony · 23 Apr 2007, 16:33
Published: 23 Apr 2007 16:33 GMT+02:00
Who is he and why is he famous?
Marcus Schenkenberg is generally regarded to have been the world's first male supermodel. The hunky himbo with the washboard abs and an eye for the ladies is well know internationally as the Swedish Meatball.
And is it an apt sobriquet?
Just about, yes. Despite campaigning for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the meatball - unlike his former girlfriend, Pamela Anderson - retained his carniverous habits. A male model does need his protein after all.
Surely Pamela needed her protein too.
Yes. But she must have found it elsewhere.
Erm, yes, maybe. Anyway, the tenderloined Swede left home for California in 1988 at the age of just 17. After working for a while as a dogsitter and a nanny, Schenkenberg was spotted by a fashion photographer while out rollerskating on Venice Beach. A picture taken at the time depicts a carefree young washboard skating along the promenade wearing nothing but pink shorts and matching bandana. Flanked by palm trees and an admiring, suntanned crowd, the kid from Solna couldn't have been further from home.
Didn't he tire of sun-drenched beaches and the adulatory gazes of all sexes?
He may well have done because he soon moved east to New York. There the buff boy quickly grew into the main man. In no time at all Schenkenberg became the toast of Manhattan and the scourge of boyfriends everywhere as his image began to hit the front pages of fashion magazines. Suddenly pasty skin and beer guts lost their appeal for hitherto satisfied significant others.
Has the ball of meat ever stepped away from the catwalk to put quill to papyrus or voice to vinyl?
Yes, both in fact. Being the first male supermodel it naturally fell unto him to rewrite the rulebook: 'Marcus Schenkenberg - New Rules' codified the phenomenon. And the muscular Swede with the Dutch ancestry also released a single. For a man purported to speak five languages - none of them Spanish - the decision to release a song called La Chica Marita had more to do with the success of Ricky Martin-inspired Latino pop than his own fondness for some chica called Marita.
Speaking of which: apart from Pamela Anderson, has the meatball had any celebrity girlfriends?
Oh yes. It's basically a case of you name 'em.
Is that a fact? Right then, let's start with a Hilton. Young Paris perhaps?
No, her sister Nicky. Nice try though.
Thanks. Who else? A Swedish reality TV star perhaps?
But of course, a veritable cornucopia of them in fact.
Emma Andersson from Big Brother maybe? She was nice.
Oh good. Right, let's see. What about Paradise Hotel?
Yes, there were two from there.
Then it can only have been lippy lovelies Olinda Borggren and Natacha Peyre.
Flipping heck, you're good at this. Correct on both counts.
There is a certain tragedy in knowing all this.
There most definitely is. I'll put you out of your misery by simply listing a few more before we move on.
Thanks, you're all heart.
Indeed. So here we go. The man with the six-pack stomach has been seen exchanging more than phone numbers with Jessica Simpson, out and about in New York with Victoria Silvstedt, holding his own with Mike Tyson's ex-wife Robin Givens, dating actress Kylie Bax, involved in a mid-flight clinch with fashion model Angie Everhart...
Strewth, he's had it tough hasn't he?
Yes. And not only has he had to put up with dating cartloads of beautiful women, he is also unfeasibly wealthy and is said to be a very nice man who hasn't let fame go to his head.
But wouldn't he have been better off maybe getting an education, staying in Solna and finding himself a sensible wife?