As one third of hugely successful man band Blake, gorgeous Stephen Bowman (top left) has seen rather a lot of the world in his time. But what was he like when he was an innocent young 16 year old contemplating his future. As he and his bandmates unleash their dazzling Christmas album A Classic Christmas featuring legendary crooner Dame Shirley Bassey, Stephen reveals all.
What kind of guy were you at 16?
I was extremely shy, very much a wallflower, except for when I had an acting or singing role, then I could happily play the buffoon in front of others.
What kind of pupil were you?
I was occasionally studious in subjects I really enjoyed like English literature, music and theatre studies, but generally quite lazy. I spent most of my time writing and singing music, always my joy in life.
Were you popular at school?
Nope, I never managed to infiltrate the cool kids club, though I dabbled on the periphery; rather like now.
Did you ever suffer from bullying?
I got bullied for wearing thick glasses and having a ‘Princess Diana’ haircut at various times, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?
Who was your teen crush? Have you met them since?
I really fancied Gaby Roslin from the Big Breakfast TV show, and bizarrely, she’s now a friend. Life is strange!
Did you have lots of girlfrends at school?
I started dating late, then caught up quickly. By 15 I had a girlfriend who I stayed with for 2 years. An older girlfriend, best thing for any teenager!
Was sex part of your life? If so, were you a duck to water or were you shy about it?
I remember all that being pretty awkward at first, but I got the hang of it in the end. Practice makes perfect
What kind of sex education did you have?
I went to a Catholic school, sex education was hilariously timid and cautious. I think most of us learnt the majority of our knowledge from VHS copies of ‘The Good Sex Guide’ that an older sibling passed around.
Did you have any hang ups or anything that caused you to feel low at the time.
I was a skinny, spotty and gangly teenager, plenty to be getting on with.
What were your career aspirations at this point or did you always want to do what you do now?
As far back as I can remember I wanted to be a pop singer, I guess I got half way there!
Who was the person who inspired you most back then?
S: I had a music teacher called Richard Dunster Sictermans, he’s pretty much responsible for me believing I could sing, one in a million teacher, with the humour of Rik Mayall! Great bloke!
What was your favourite record of the time?
Leftfield’s ‘Leftism’ – still one of my favourite albums of all time
What were you wearing?
I had zero fashion sense as a teenager, that came later on. I think during the mid nineties I was wearing cargo trousers, branded T-shirts and DC trainers; wannabe skater look, with zero skating skill.
Have you ever stolen anything?
I think I’ve done as much mid teenage petty shoplifting as the next person, a few sweets here and there; I was no Tony Montana.
What would you say to your 16 year old self now?
Don’t give a shit about the cool kids at school, about what they think of you or about trying to fit in with them; in twenty years they’ll be chubby baby makers and you’ll be having the time of your life touring the world with a band.
If you had to do it all again, would you change a single thing?
Not one single thing, I love who I am now and could only have arrived here via the journey I took, filled as it often was with mistakes and stupidity.
Right, moving on to now, how do you keep fit these days?
I don’t drive a car, I walk everywhere and cycle 10-20kms a week; I also swim at my local gym. Lots of gentle exercise is far more gratifying than beating yourself up in circuit training.
What’s your daily food in take?
Two meals per day, avoid tons of bread, eat out a lot, barely ever cook, can’t actually remember the last time I cooked (unless warming something in a microwave counts?)
Do you drink a lot or have you cut out drinks for health reasons?
I’m a non drinker. Gave up 2 years ago after a bad 5 year run of overindulgence. Best thing I ever did.
Which bit of your body are you happiest with?
My bum, lots of walking and cycling keeps it fairly perky
What would you like to improve?
My chest, I’m slim but would love better pecs and a real six pack rather than my current 2 pack
Have you had any health scares? Are you cautious of any bumps or lumps you find?
None as yet, fingers crossed it stays that way.
Have you had someone close to you get ill which has made you sit up and start thinking about life.
My grandmother died from cancer not so long ago and the slow deterioration and pain she went through was hard to watch. Sadly it’s hard to avoid the big C, even with a healthy lifestyle, so appreciating and enjoying every day we have is essential for all of us. Treatments are getting far better now though.
Are you happy to go to the doctor or are you a scaredy cat?
I’m crap with going to the doctor, always let things get much worse before finally getting off my backside. Daft male trait.
Do you take care of your skin?
Yep. I model and clear skin helps a lot. I drink a lot of water, I don’t drink booze or smoke, exfoliate and use decent creams. I refuse to ever use Botox, so it’s up to me to take care of what I have.
What product can’t you live without?
Boot No.7 men’s moisturiser, it’s superb stuff!
What scent do you swear by?
Ralph Lauren Black label, clean classic scent.
Are you a bath or shower type of person! What’s the first thing you wash???
I hate baths, such a waste of time and water. I start with my hair and work downwards.
Blake Classic Christmas is out now. Follow Blake on Twitter
Get in the Christmas mood with this gorgeous collab!