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Chris Parkinson ’16

British Boys. You see them all the time in movies. For example, Hugh Grant in “Notting Hill” or Robert Pattinson in “Twlight” or Ed Westwick who plays Chuck Bass in the popular show “Gossip Girl”… even Johnny Depp had a random and strange British accent for awhile? British people are in our movies, television and in our dreams, but what if I told you we had one roaming around our very campus.

Freshman, Olympic alternate in Amateur Boxing and Model, Chris Parkinson, actually may be offended that I’m discussing Brits as if they were some form of rare mammal, especially because he made a point to say that, “He is more than just his accent”. During our interview at Market Central, I got a closer look at the man behind the accent.

Tired from a day of training, with cuts scattered across his knuckles, Chris graciously met with me to answer some deep and intimate questions about his life and how he has adjusted to living in the States.

Tell me about yourself:
(Feel free to internally read all of the answers in a British accent)
My name is Chris Parkinson. I was born in London, England where I have lived my whole life until I moved to America to start college this year.

So what was living in England like, tell me about where you’ve come from?
I did not come from a very wealthy family. I’m actually the first of my family to go to University. The way the education system works in my particular area of London is that the public schools aren’t the best so my grandfather decided that he was going to pay for me to attend a boarding school in the leafy suburbs. I then took a year out after high school to go into full time training before the London 2012 games.

How did you get into boxing?
My dad actually starting to take me to the boxing rings at age 8. My mom hated it, but ever since then I’ve been boxing. It’s been 11 years now. I fight in the middle weight class at 165 lbs, and I was actually also 2nd in line from having a starting position on the GB Olympic team.

What brought you out to good ol’ Pittsburgh, PA?
I actually received free tuition from a scholarship foundation back home to attend school here. All of my tuition, training and meals are paid, however, my room and board is not. My parents don’t pay for my room and board, so I pay for it through modeling in London.

Before you came to America, what did you expect would happen and how did you think people would treat you?
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the movie “Love Actually” but it’s a British movie and in the movie, one of the characters travels to America. Once he arrived, the movie shows American girls falling all over him because of his accent. While I thought that was all nonsense, my buddy who had already come to the States told me that was completely true. And I must say, American girls do really enjoy my accent haha. It’s safe to say it’s a very good conversation starter.

…Now for the good questions.

Soo, what’s your favorite pick-up line?
I don’t use pick-up lines.

When you take a girl on a date, what would you do with her?
It depends on what I’m after… just kidding. My dream date would be to take a girl back to London and give her a tour, and let her meet my parents. There’s a place called the “Somerset House” that’s very romantic.

Would you say you were a relationship guy or a playboy?
I’d prefer a relationship to a one night stand any day. It just has to be the right girl. I’m not the kind of person to talk to a girl for three weeks and then drop it out of nowhere. I would never lead a girl on.

What do you look for in a girl?
I definitely look for a girl that’s sophisticated. There’s nothing more unattractive than a girl that has bad etiquette or is too wild. I do prefer brunette’s but I’m mostly interested in whether a girl is actually interested in me rather than being interested in what I could give them. I know the boxing and modeling thing is cool, but if a girl really tries to understand the other things about my life, I really appreciate it.

What is one think that has annoyed you about American girls here, because I’m sure they fawn all over you at parties?
I don’t like girls that will see me and add me on Facebook but will never speak to me in person. I also don’t like when they assume the stereotype that I’m pompous and arrogant. I don’t think I am! Finally, I wish people in general would stop asking me if I drink tea and eat crumpets.

What is one thing that you would like everyone to know about you?
Although I’m normally battered and bruised from training – I’m really easy to talk to, so if you ever see me, don’t be afraid to come up and say hi! 

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