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Help take Sanjeev Dave to glory in the Cleo Bachelor of the Year contest
Meet Sanjeev Davé. This handsome 24-year-old Indian Australian is in the running to become the 2015 Cleo Bachelor of the Year after making the top 30 finalists of the iconic competition, now in its 29th year.
What started out as a bit of a laugh among work colleagues escalated into a full-blown glamour photo shoot and interview with the famed women’s magazine.
“One of the guys at work put a few of us forward and somehow I was the only one who made the cut,” Sanjeev, or Sanj to his mates, tells Indian Link. “When I got the confirmation, I thought they were kidding. I didn’t know this was such a big thing until after the fact.”
The oldest of three brothers, Sanjeev says he’d never done anything like the photo shoot before but he wasn’t too anxious going into it. “When I got there, it all just happened very fast so I didn’t really have time to be nervous and think about it too much,” he says.
With plenty of team support from the people at work, Sanjeev says, “There is a Cleo magazine opened to my page in the lobby on our floor. It’s safe to say in the weeks after it came out I was copping a bit of flak for it – especially for the wet t-shirt photos!”
He admits he perused the magazine to check out the other men in the running to take out the title. “I think there’s some pretty stiff competition. I think there are some cool guys there. I wouldn’t say there’s anyone who will definitely take it out. I think it’s an open race and hopefully the cards just fall my way.”
Being a good Indian boy, how did Sanjeev’s family react to the news? “I have very relaxed parents,” he says. “They’re very open and nurturing. Their first reaction was exactly what I thought it would be – they both burst out laughing! They found it hilarious. My mum especially is loving it.”
At least she won’t have to pay for his Shaadi.com profile now.
Sanjeev’s father was born to an Indian family in East Africa and his mother comes from Mumbai, though he was born in Australia. “The perception can easily be that I’m very westernised and non-Indian, but I am actually very in tune with my cultural heritage and being Indian,” he says. “I’m very proud to be Indian. Of course being born here and raised here you’re going to have more of a culturally Australian mindset, but we’ve been back to India many times and I love going back. I still would consider myself Indian foremost.”
In what can be seen as encouraging recognition of Australia’s increasingly diverse and multicultural community, last year’s winner of the Cleo Bachelor of the Year title was 28-year-old personal trainer Thien Nguyen. But is this a reflection of the changing face of Australia, or a token effort?
“I think Sydney especially is extremely diverse now,” Sanjeev says. “It’s showing that what people look for in other people, in a prospective partner, their idea of beauty, is very progressive. I don’t think you can call it a token effort if someone from a multicultural background took out the title. Especially with our younger generations, everyone is very open with each other and open to meeting new people and trying new things. This year’s Top 30 shows a very diverse range of people.”
Showing off his cheeky side, in his interview with Cleo, Sanjeev was asked to choose between his birthday suit or fancy suit. His reply? “I would say my fancy suit is my birthday suit.”
When reminded of this, he laughs. “I suppose that was just something that came into my head in the moment when the question was asked. I’m a very relaxed person. I’m comfortable with who I am and with myself. Why not? I’m a bit of a birthday suit person.”
Though he clearly enjoys working out, Sanjeev says he really only got into the whole fitness culture after his friends became involved in the gym. “It’s something you get to do with your friends, it’s something positive to do outside uni or work. Now it’s part of my routine and helps keep your mind and your body sharp.”
For all those students out there unsure of their future plans, Sanjeev stands testament to the fact you can be successful without an exact career vision. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I was younger,” he admits. “It just happened that I fell into my career in the business world. I’m happy to be here, it suits me and my personality. You’re always learning and I enjoy the challenge.”
For all the ladies out there, yes, Sanjeev is single. “I don’t have a ‘type’ per se,” he says. “I’m very on the spot – some people you just click with. I suppose I have a very strange, quirky personality and I don’t really change that around new people. When I meet someone for the first time, if I feel like I have a good connection and chemistry with them, it’s usually for a good reason. I lay it all out very early on.”
When it comes to the future, Sanjeev says he would “100 per cent” want to live with someone before marriage. “Unless you have lived with someone, you don’t know. It’s jumping head-first into the rest of your life without that experience, so I’m big on the idea of living with someone before I get married.”
Ahead of the festive season and Diwali parties, Sanjeev admits he’s “a bit of a class clown” for his family and they’ll all have a laugh about his ‘Bachelor’ status. “I think all the aunties are going to find it hilarious,” he says. “We’re a very close family and I don’t think they’re going to hold back when they give me their true opinion.”
For this self-confessed “normal guy”, the whole Bachelor competition frenzy has certainly been an experience, but at the end of the day, “Nothing really separates me from everyone else,” Sanjeev laughs, tongue-in-cheek. “I’m just a nice Indian boy living in Sydney…looking for the one.”