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INTRODUCING

Introducing…Marcus Schenkenberg

His little black book contains the numbers of some of the world's hottest female celebrities - as befits the world's first male supermodel. Paul O'Mahony looks beyond the washboard abs of Marcus Schenkenberg.

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.

Maybe tofu?

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.

Check.

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?

No.

CELEBRITY

Is Elijah Wood in Sundsvall and what is he doing there?

It is not that Sundsvall is not a nice town. It is just that it is not normally the place where Hollywood stars go for a night out. So rumours that Elijah Wood was visiting the town quickly went viral on Thursday.

Is Elijah Wood in Sundsvall and what is he doing there?
The main shopping street in Sundsvall. And Elijah Wood. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT & Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

The 35-year-old actor of Lord of the Rings fame was reportedly spotted visiting restaurant 'Tuppen' in the central Swedish town, which posted picture evidence on Facebook and Instagram late on Wednesday.

News of the unexpected celebrity visit quickly dominated local news headlines in Sweden, and was picked up by some of the national newspapers too, with growing excitement on social media. Several newspapers even asked readers to call them if they had any more information about the visit.

“Starstruck at Tuppen. Celebrity visit in the shape of Elijah Wood himself from the Lord of the Rings. Thanks for the visit!” wrote the restaurant.

Not everyone was convinced that it actually was the star, however, and some speculated that it could just be a lookalike or a clever PR trick by the restaurant itself to attract more visitors.

“I think it's fake. They had a customer who looked like him and wanted to joke,” wrote one person on their Facebook page. “Is it fake or is he looking for the ring in Sundsvall now?” wrote another.

Wood, who's currently starring in BBC America series Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, visited Stockholm last month to perform at the Södra Teatern venue with his friend Zach Cowie as DJ duo Wooden Wisdom. His film production company SpectreVision, of which he is a co-founder, helped produce Swedish 2013 science fiction movie LFO.

With a population of some 50,000 people, historic sawmill town Sundsvall is the third biggest town in Sweden's northern region Norrland and Sweden's 21st biggest town overall. It is home to one of the campuses of Mid-Sweden University as well as Sweden's first-ever international casino.

Sundsvall's nearby island Alnön was recently voted one of the most beautiful places in Sweden. Restaurant Tuppen is one of a number of restaurants in the town. It opened in May this year and aims to serve locally produced meat and fish.

The reason behind Wood's supposed visit to the town was not immediately known, but it would not be the first time an international celebrity has fallen in love with unexpected places in Sweden.

Last year US-Haitian rapper Wyclef Jean revealed that he wanted to move to Sandviken outside Gävle. British actor Hugh Grant recently bought a house in Torekov, southern Sweden. And rapper Kanye West paid a visit to the rural town of Älmhult to convince its Ikea headquarters to let him design furniture.