Cream of the Cam

JENNA CORDEROY on the fabulous and the famous currently studying in a college near you. Get stalking.

Ahir Shah alex guttenplan Christiana Spens Comedy Corpus diabolo fame famous genii hannah murray Lily Cole lloyd grossman loyd grossman lulu popplewell mathmo moeen nawazish Sharpe skins snappi nappy university challenge

After watching Mr. Guttenplan gloriously lift up the University Challenge trophy, I was overcome with emotion. Not pride, no, more an overwhelming sense of my own insignificance- what had I ever done? Gone were the glorious school days of being ‘the clever one’, everyone here is ‘clever’ and some of them even have the audacity to be somewhat talented on top of that. If that wasn’t enough, then some are even managing to get veritable endorsement in the form of out of the bubble recognition.  So, through seething envy, here’s a few of the brightest and best at Cambridge right now.

The Beauty Queen:
Lily Cole
The Drama Queen: Hannah Murray
The New Kid On The Block: Lulu Popplewell.


First off, we’ve got the bona fide ‘I’ve been in Heat magazine’ celebrities, the most famous of which is undoubtedly Lily Cole. Forget ‘Heat’ magazine, and try ‘I’ve been on the cover of Vogue and French Playboy’.  Not only gaining a First in History of Art and coming top of the year, she’s hitting Hollywood big time, landing roles in ‘There Be Dragons’, ‘Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll’, and ‘The Moth Diaries’, coming to a cinema screen near you.  Hannah Murray, studying English at Queens', is most notable for playing Cassie from Skins and will be starring in ‘Chatroom’, released sometime this year. On the grapevine, a 2010 Magdalene undergraduate will be Lulu Popplewell.  People will know her for playing Daisy in ‘Love Actually’ and also Lyra Belacqua in the BBC Radio 4 production of ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy.   

The Maths Whizz
: Illdar Gaisin
The Young ‘Un: Niall Thompson
The Ridiculous: Ali Moeen Nawazish

Cambridge has the beauty, but of course, the brains.  I’m not talking about those who show us up in supervisions, but those who are, frankly, unbelievable.  Take Ildar Gaisin for example.  An International Mathematics Olympiad, he is currently working with Professor John Coats on the Riemann Hypothesis.  Did I mention he represents the university in athletics and rows for King’s?  As well as Ildar, we mustn’t forget the child prodigies, including Niall Thompson who came to Cambridge at the age of 15, studying maths at Magdalene.  There was also 22 A-Levels boy, Ali Moeen Nawazish, studying computer science at Trinity Hall (although that should be 21, because he did do Travel and Tourism).  

The Author: Christiana Spens
The Reviewer: Sam Wolfson
The Tabloid Hack: Milo Yiannopoulos

Not content with reading books, we’ve got those that write them.  Christiana Spens is a Philosophy student at Homerton and published author with works including ‘The Wrecking Ball’, though her greatest achievement is clearly her column for The Tab.  Sam Wolfson of King’s writes music reviews for The Guardian, and the fabulous Milo Yiannopoulos has written for The Telegraph and even had time to organise a flash mob moonwalk in London to celebrate the life of Michael Jackson.  Got on CNN too. 

The Festival Veteran
: Lewis Jones
The True Veteran: Loyd Grossman

But, as Shakespeare and ABBA have both said, what is life without music (food of love and thank you for it respectively). And so we have the musicians. There’s Lewis Jones of the band ‘Plaster of Paris’ who has played at the legendary Glastonbury festival, so if you’re looking to advance your career as a groupie this could be an easy way in (King's, 3rd year, Architect).  Now let’s not forget someone who has not only endorsed his own pasta sauces, but has his own punk/rock band : Loyd Grossman.  According to my little Magdalene friends he’s still knocking about there, studying History of Art. No comment on if his voice is still insanely annoying.

The Comedian: Ahir Shah
The Inexplicable: Jacob and Nate Sharpe

Of course, talent doesn’t stop at what we’ve got nice neat little categories for and so we come to the miscellaneous, those who wouldn’t fit in any of the other nice neat little boxes. Enter comedian Ahir Shah. Appearing at Clare Comedy the year before applying, thankfully he was accepted (because that would have been embarrassing). Now gracing college comedy events and smokers near you, he also has a nationwide presence and was on the writing team for Skins as well as appearing on Newsnight.  When I asked whether he could class himself as a diva, he answered ‘I don't know if I've ever done anything particularly diva-ish while doing comedy. Apart from, you know, standing on a raised platform demanding that everyone listen intently while my voice is amplified.’  And then there’s Jacob and Nate Sharpe who put all men to shame.  Shall I start listing their extraordinary achievements?  Or should I let YouTube do all the explaining?   When I asked Jacob how has he dealt with the fame, he replied: ‘Having been a respected diaboloist in the diabolo community since the tender age of 15, and a minor celebrity in the larger juggling community since 17, I am no stranger to the trappings of fame. While I was reportedly an egotistical little shit early on, and let my quick mastery of the diaboloist's art go to my head, at some point I realized that I was playing with a toy in front of people, and that the juggling community was by far smaller, and just as nerdy as the communities of Trekkies.


The TV Star
: Charlie Reams
The Guy With His Own Wikipedia Page: William Seaward
The Diaper-Found Fame: Pierre Novellie

We’ve got the runner-up of series 59 of Countdown in the form of Charlie Reams.  This amazing achievement, however, did not bring the fame Charlie wanted.  When questioning him over his antics, he sadly replied ‘On the day that my first episode was transmitted, I deliberately wandered around the busy parts of town in the hope that someone would recognise me.  Of course no one did.  In fact I've never been recognised at all’.  If you wish to find out more about Charlie Reams to help his ego out, I suggest you go on YouTube and type in ‘classic countdown’.  Then, for a crash course in ‘how to get your own Wikipedia page’ check out William Seaward who took the Fringe by storm with Shakespearean plays (wait for it) performed solely on bouncy castles. This feat even got taken to Britain’s Got Talent, but Piers Morgan sadly thought that the talent involved was too minimal to get through to the next round.

A final, totally bizarre exploit which came to my notice is that Corpus Christi’s Pierre Novellie was the baby on the packet of ‘Snappi Nappy Fasteners’.  But fame wasn’t all it was cracked up to be for Mr Novellie…it has only inflicted embarrassment.  When asked about his modelling past, he replied ‘I don’t want to talk about it…a restaurant in the UK once used my baby photo as the symbol for their kid's menu/crèche.' 

Jealousy pretty much sums up what I’m feeling right now.  You’ll find me angrily staring at a blank wall for a few hours to calm down.