Enigmatic Colin Mathura-Jeffree has always stolen the spotlight, with his suave and sophisticated appearance turning heads wherever he goes.
But in recent months, the TV star and model has undergone a physical and emotional transformation that’s come about from being true to himself and, for the first timein his life, falling in love.
Colin has taken control of his life, with a strict health and fitness regime. He says he feels more energetic and youthful, while at the same time he’s vulnerable, “stripping back the layers” to become the man he always felt he was meant to be.
The bubbly New Zealander, who last month celebrated his 42nd birthday, says he’s relieved to have let his barriers down to reveal the real Colin.
“I’m finally in love and when you are in love, it’s simple. I don’t think people have ever seen the real me. They see the performance, the show. I didn’t expect someone would look at me like this and lay me bare.”
Colin’s love interest, a man whom he won’t name in order to protect their privacy, has flipped the world of the NZ’s Hottest Home Baker host upside down. And since Colin first confessed his love, the relationship has given his life a complete shake-up. He’s lost 9kg, but gained muscle, putting him in the best physical and mental shape he’s been in since his twenties.
“It was amazing, powerful and frightening for me to watch myself physically changing.
"My whole world has gone into overdrive. My modelling career has resurged. I’ve dropped from a suit size 104 to a 96 regular, which I haven’t been since the ‘90s! I’m turning away jobs,” says Colin, who’s never before felt the need to validate his sexuality to the New Zealand public but in this exclusive interview speaks candidly about his love life and new found feelings.
“I’ve always loved women,” he explains. “But falling in love with my partner has been such an incredibly amazing time. I fell for intelligence and then noticed those good looks too. I’ve never felt so powerful and vulnerable at the same time. I’ve never felt so good.”
It’s been more than 20 years since Colin embarked on an international modelling career that took him from Auckland to India. There, he carved his early career as a fashion model and received the royal treatment with a driver and servants at his beck and call. He admits to having had a colourful love life, but is finally fulfilled.
“It’s the most beautiful and magnificent thing. I’m incredibly happy! It’s like that old story about cupid with the bow and arrow. I wasn’t looking for love at all. One moment I was sitting with a friend and the next I was madly in love with that person,” he smiles. “But just because I am in love, I am not sacrificing myself to that other person.”
Usually dressed in designer outfits, with his chiselled good looks playing to the camera, Kiwis have seen Colin’s image plastered over billboards and magazines and in numerous TV roles.
“I transitioned from a runway model to an editorial fashion model, actor, TV presenter; to a man who endorses products! There are many layers to me, so I understand why actors lose themselves. I was wearing so many coats. Now I’ve shed them. I feel amazing and calm.”
Colin has made an effort to keep personal life private, but his intrigue and outgoing nature ensure he regularly pops up in the social pages.
“People seem to be fascinated by getting to know the real me. When I was on New Zealand’s Next Top Model, I was hired to be the catwalk coach and a gay persona, but in a review I was described as not ‘gay enough’, which I found to be insulting to the gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender community. Now I’ve decided to stop performing for people when they hire Colin. It’s about time people see who I am.
“I’m not perfect, I’m full of faults but I am good, kind and loved by someone who I simply love too.”
Since falling in love, Colin has “softened”.
“It’s the first time I’ve really been in love. It’s a feeling when someone haunts your thoughts and you never think the worst of them and always hope the best for them,” says Colin, who adds that his loving energy has been felt by the wider community.
“With warmth, you generate attraction, that’s why I think other men and the occasional lady are asking me out! Is it unwanted attention? “No,” he laughs, answering his own question. “I like the attention!”
The new super-fit Colin says his shape-up has not come easily – it is the result of 10 hours a week in the gym.
“I started feeling euphoric working out and then my body started changing. My body is better now than it’s ever been, thanks to my increased fitness, happiness and self-awareness.”
Colin’s change has also led to new modelling prospects. In March, he visited the US at the personal invitation of LA-based artist Geoffrey Prince, who counts Dame Elizabeth Taylor among his muses.
“He had a fascination with my look and wanted to paint it. When we met, it was explosive,” says Colin, who posed nude for a series of photos he describes as “sexual but sensual”. While Geoffrey is often surrounded by beautiful people, he’d never seen anyone like Colin.
“I found him shockingly beautiful,” Geoffrey tells.
“As I got to know him, I was surprised to find him still very much a work in progress; a beautiful, sophisticated man who loves dinosaurs, comic books and ice cream.”
It’s Colin’s love of food that has directed him towards another opportunity – an offer to open his own Indian-themed eatery at Auckland’s SkyCity.
“I eat out all over the world, so conceptually I know what wins. It will build on my Indian roots and I’ll have a large role in the design,” explains Colin.
“I feel spoiled by the attention, but you have to embrace opportunities when they come. My career’s been built around travel. I never let people get too close to me. But since falling in love, I feel amazing and calm and live in the now, and the now is awesome.”
Colin's fitness tips:
Set goals. Train for something to keep you motivated.
Train smart. Be short, sharp and effective. Don’t over-train, it beats up the nervous system. Do lots of variety and make it fun. Swim, run, box, ride horses.
Stretch, do yoga. Improve circulation and energy flow, correct your posture, calm the mind. I stretch first thing in the morning to switch my body on.
Meditate daily. Reduce stress and reclaim parts of those hectic days. Know yourself.
Drink lots of water. It’s imperative for staying healthy and keeping energy levels high. Often thirst is disguised as hunger.
Sleep. It’s essential for muscle and nervous-system recovery. Rest is as important as exercise.
Choose colour! Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables that are brightly coloured. These contain more nutrients and antioxidants. Raw is better.
Don’t diet. They are not sustainable and don’t work long-term. Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day.
Make a lifestyle change not a quick fix. The reality is we can achieve any goal if we want it badly enough. Choose to win, and support people training. Spread the love not the butter.
Fitness tips from Colin and his Les Mills personal trainer, Scott Morris.