THE Yummy Clint Brink says his success is thanks to his hard work and not his pretty face.
The 33-year-old has certainly matured in recent years, from starting out as barman Shawn on Backstage in the 1990s to the now suave and sophisticated Tino Martins in Scandal! on e.tv.
We catch up with the actor-cum-singer at his co-owned gym at Pirates Rugby Club in Greenside, where he pursues his other passion: Muay Thai, known as Thai kick-boxing.
“This is more than a hobby for me. It’s a profession. I’m a pro fighter. I train twice a day. Been doing it for 10 years. This is where I come to vent and take out all my frustrations — especially the frustrations of this industry,” he says.
The “industry frustration” becomes evident as he warms up to the theme.
“All the back-stabbing and people who don’t want to see one succeed — I can’t fight them, so I come here. There is a lot that is happening in this industry.
“People don’t get jobs on merit. People get jobs because they know someone who knows someone or because they have a pretty face. It grinds me.”
This venting, frustrated persona is a far cry from the affable Brink, who always has a ready smile for friends and fans alike.
His social media profile pictures often show off his toned torso, much to the appreciation of his 23 768 Twitter followers who often profess their undying love for him.
But today he seems reluctant to take off his shirt, coaxing his partner and trainer, Henry Madini, to take off his instead. “Now I could do with some of this guy’s abs,” he jokes.
Eventually he relents. The vest comes off and his tattooed back, chiselled chest and muscular arms are revealed in all their Greek god glory.
“I’ve heard this thing that I’m a ladies’ man, but I don’t take it seriously,” says Brink, who blushes easily.
“I see myself as an ordinary guy who has worked very hard to achieve my goals. I’m a perfectionist and I’m also a very private person. I hate causing scandals just to get attention. I prefer being seen as a role model.”
While on the topic, Brink says it’s sad that most women view men as unambitious, lying cheats. So in the spirit of Women’s Month, he and DJ Cleo have released a song with the eyebrow-raising title F**k You.
“Women need to know that not all men are terrible. And if they are with such men, they should tell them f**k you — express their feelings,” he laughs.
A fan of Donny Hathaway and Marvin Gaye, Brink admits that he is also shocked when he listens to the song because he doesn’t like cursing and knows the song seems crass, “but someone’s gotta do it”.
He sees himself as a decent guy who would make the perfect husband and father.
His love life has hardly made it to the public domain since his girlfriend, Backstage co-star Marubini “Ruby” Mogale, died in a car accident on New Year’s Day in 2002. Brink was travelling with her.
He has recently been linked to Backstage and Scandal! co-star Lorcia Cooper, but he denies such claims. “All I will say about that is we have grown together as actors. I respect her work and think her talent is underrated.”
So is there someone?
“We will have to see,” he says coyly.
Brink is more focused on being a role model to young men, and he will turn down any part that perpetuates the “useless Coloureds” stereo type.
“I played a silly naive boy on Backstage. But that was cool; it was a ground-breaking show in South Africa. Then I moved on to Generations to play Bradley Paulse, a Cape Coloured dyslexic bartender who had a prostitute for a mother.
But what pissed me off was when they changed Bradley’s surname to Baadjies and said the surname came from the coloured people who were moved from District Six in Cape Town, and they had nothing but baadjies (jackets) to keep them warm. What bulls**t is that? I became the joke on set.”
After that distasteful chapter, Brink says he approached Scandal! to play the role of Tino — a rich property developer with a background very far removed from the stereotype.
“My history is an important part of me and I will not be ridiculed,” he says.
Brink grew up in Paarl near Cape Town, and says the reason for his success is hard work and a family who remind him of his roots.
“I go home often and I’m no celeb there. I have to wash my own car, walk to the shop for bread, pray with my mum and hang with my true friends who I grew up with.
“My mum is a teacher, and my dad laboured hard to keep the family going.
“They are my inspiration to work damn hard and be recognised for making a difference in other people’s lives.” — Sunday World.