MERIDEN — After moving to California to pursue a career in photography, Clint Brandon Cave found himself modeling for an up and coming shaving company’s campaign plastered across Penn Station in New York City.
The 26-year-old’s main goal was to be able to make a name for himself in a new place when he moved to San Diego two years ago.
“My original goal was to see if I could thrive in a city where I knew no one, and see what I was made of,” Cave said. “The things that I’ve accomplished, I can give myself a pat on the back and say that ‘you’re doing the best you can and you’re succeeding.’”
The Meriden native’s modeling journey began by networking with photographers in the San Diego area. He was on set doing behind the scenes photography for a photo shoot and was asked to go in front of the camera.
Although reluctant, Cave agreed and said it felt very natural. He continued pursuing modeling opportunities, doing several shoots including one for gaming headphones maker, Recon.
Fast forward to being selected to model for the new shaving company. Manscaped, based in San Diego, sells men’s below the waist body grooming tools. The company was featured on Shark Tank in 2018 and accepted a $500,000 offer from Lori Greiner and Mark Cuban.
Cave modeled for photos and waited. A friend from his hometown noticed the Manscaped campaign in Penn Station and sent him photos through social media.
“I screen shot it and sent it to my mom and I was like ‘I think this is me,’ ” Cave said. “I saw the sneakers and the shirt and I was like that’s definitely me, those are my sneakers. I was like ‘this is so cool!’”
His mom and younger brother immediately went to New York to see the ads. The 2012 Wilcox graduate said when he returns home for Thanksgiving he will definitely make a stop at Penn Station to see the photos in person.
Cave said he wants to continue modeling, photography and videography. He considers himself a “behind the scenes” photographer, capturing the moment before it happens.
“Being a sports player, I feel like that is the most exhilarating feeling,” he said. “Right before you get out on the court or right before you go out ... You get those butterflies and jitters and rush of adrenaline. I feel like that is my niche.”
Steven Wodarski, athletic director and math teacher at Wilcox Tech, remembers Cave as a great student and a standout four-sport athlete — tennis, basketball, football and soccer.
“He was easily the most charismatic student I’ve ever come across,” Wodarski said. “There was never any doubt in my mind that that kid would be successful in anything he does.”
Cave admitted when he initially moved out of state he would tell people that he was from New York because he didn’t think people would know much about Meriden. After having a conversation with his brother about the various talented people from Meriden, he said he wants to help put the city on the map.
“Growing up in Meriden, going to Wilcox and just being in the community and all these things molding and shaping me,” he said. “Whatever traction I do get, I want to be able to bring it back to where I’m from and help the people who’ve helped me get here.”