Is Sunderland home to the North East’s most handsome hunk?

Current Mr North East, Nathaniel Smith.

Current Mr North East, Nathaniel Smith.

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ARE you a model man?

The hunt is on for the North East’s most handsome hunk to fly the flag for the region at the country’s top male modelling contest.

Current Mr North East, Nathaniel Smith, with organiser of the competition, Jodie Breeds.

Current Mr North East, Nathaniel Smith, with organiser of the competition, Jodie Breeds.

Mr North East was launched in Sunderland, and Mackem men and others from the region are being invited to see if they have what it takes to be a pageant prince.

The winner of the title, which will be decided at a final at the Roker Hotel in April, will go on to compete in this year’s Mr England, which runs alongside the Miss England contest.

Wearside businesswoman Jodie Breeds has bought the Mr England licence after successfully running a Miss 24 Carat heat for the past few years, and taking over Miss Sunderland for 2015.

“I was thinking of applying for a Mr Sunderland licence and then the organisers of Miss England suggested I take over Mr North East,” said Jodie, who owns 24 Carat salon in Grangetown.

Mr North east Nathaniel Smith'SAFC Foundation Fashion Strikes 2011 at the Stadium of Light.

Mr North east Nathaniel Smith'SAFC Foundation Fashion Strikes 2011 at the Stadium of Light.

She added: “Running a male heat for Mr England is new to me but I’m really looking forward to seeing who applies. We’re looking for someone confident, with character, who can represent the region well.

“They don’t need to have any previous modelling experience. They just need to be 17-27 and from the North East.”

Nathaniel Smith, 29, from South Shields, was Mr North East in 2011.

He has since worked with major brands such as Barbour and Asda, appeared in films, Cosmopolitan magazine, national TV adverts and is a poster boy for the MetroCentre’s ad campaigns.

“It’s a great experience,” he said. “I would say to any man contemplating applying to just give it a try. I already had a contract with a modelling agency when I won the title, but winning Mr North East gave me great exposure.

“I wouldn’t say there was stigma around male modelling, but some men are wary of pursuing it. They don’t need to be, at the end of the day, it’s good fun and you get paid to wear other people’s clothes.

“It helps to open other doors too, I don’t think I would have been in a film if it hadn’t been for modelling.”

Entry to Mr North East is by photographic submission. Finalists will be invited to compete at the Mr North East event, which will run alongside the Miss Sunderland final, at the Roker Hotel on April 18.

l Anyone interested in applying for Mr North East is asked to email a photo and contact details to officialmrnortheast@gmail.com.