NOT even being on crutches could stop this aspiring actor from entering the first Mr North East competition.
Stuart Martin, from Northfarm Avenue, Grindon, needed help to walk down the catwalk after having an operation to repair a chipped bone in his knee, which he injured playing football.
But the 22-year-old still managed to clinch the runner-up spot in the final.
Stuart, who is studying drama at Shiney Row college, was one of 10 competitors in the contest held alongside the Miss Sunderland finals, at Rainton Meadows Arena, on Friday.
“I would have won if I wasn’t on crutches,” he said.
“I’m gutted that I didn’t win, but I’m pleased with being runner-up. I’m just going to go back next year and give it another go and hopefully get the top spot.
“I’ve never done anything like this before but I didn’t really feel nervous.
“I think my drama training helped me out because I’ve learned how to control my nerves and have a lot of confidence.”
He was beaten to the top spot by 22-year-old Nathaniel Smith, from Gateshead.
Stuart said: “They asked me where I saw myself in five years time and I told them that I want to be an actor and a model. I really want to make it big and end up in Hollywood.
“I entered the competition because I thought it was a great way to get known and get my name out there.
“I’ve got a portfolio now so I’m going to start sending it round modelling agencies, so hopefully somebody will want to take me on.”
As well as studying, Stuart works in a Lloyds TSB call centre and does topless butlering for parties and events.
“I’ve done a bit of everything really, but I think I’m going to keep an eye out for events like this and enter more in the future.”
The Miss Sunderland and Mr North East finals included entertainment from The Reason 4 and The Chippendoubles.
It was presented by Miss Sunderland organiser Simon Robertson and Tyne Tees’ Philippa Tomson.