SINGAPORE - Hey Gorgeous winner Alfred Low did not take the typical route to get into a polytechnic.
The Channel U reality TV series, which started airing in May, saw local hosts Dasmond Koh and Ben Yeo on a search for charismatic, good-looking and talented students from different tertiary institutions.
Low, 22, a first-year industrial design student at Nanyang Polytechnic, took the unconventional route to pursue his dream course.
After scoring 11 points for his N levels at Greenridge Secondary School and qualifying for O levels, Low chose to drop out to work as a sales ambassador at retail company NewUrbanMale.
After working for two years, Low enlisted in the army - during which he took his O levels twice as a private candidate before he managed to score 21 points and qualify for the poly course he wanted.
The 1.85m-tall tanned and sporty hunk, who plays basketball and sepak takraw regularly, told The New Paper: "I used to be an introvert, so I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and gain more work experience before continuing my studies."
The finals, which aired live on Monday night, saw the top 12 contestants singing and dancing on stage and vying for the title.
Low was chosen based on public voting and bagged a $3,000 cash prize as well as a chance to star in an upcoming Channel U youth drama.
He added: "It was worth it. I've learnt a lot of things that studying couldn't have provided. I learnt to speak up more and also became more sociable, which helped me a lot in the Hey Gorgeous competition."
He plans to start his own business after graduating. Although he harbours no plans to enter showbiz at the moment, Low wants to take it one step at a time and see what comes his way.
"It was very tough getting back to studying again - I haven't touched my books in four years, and I had to study while doing National Service," he said.
"But I feel that we plan our own paths, and not everyone has to take the traditional route in education. It doesn't mean that I am a bad kid just because I entered poly at an older age."
Low was certainly the most popular guy at the Hey Gorgeous finals.
He charmed on stage with a dance routine to Justin Timberlake's Suit & Tie and a cheeky answer during the Q&A segment. When asked to choose what he would wear to sunbathe with his girlfriend at the beach, he opted for a sexy red G-string.
His explanation - "Since I am sunbathing, then I should wear lesser (sic)" - caused the audience to burst out laughing.
Even though he hasn't done that in real life, Low is game for it. He told TNP: "If I have a good body, then why not?"
But the humble hottie insists that he hasn't gained much attention from female students since he joined the competition. He has been with his girlfriend for five months and said he prefers girls with "nice long legs and a good character".
He said: "I like a girl who cares a lot about her family, is kind and sociable, and behaves like my friend and good buddy. I am not comfortable dating pretty girls with ugly personalities."