TOP TEN REVEALED: The Biggest Names in Cambridge, as chosen by YOU
This year’s winner – a self-described “terrible person” – is a SHOCKER.
Having whittled down 1107 nominations to the leading 100 names, we can now reveal the TOP TEN biggest egos in Cambridge.
The 2012 top ten were dominated by the usual culprits – rugby blues, the political crowd from the Union and CUCA, a smattering of stars from the drinking soc scene – and the 2016 winners are even worse offenders in this regard, with half the top ten now made up of that beloved creature, the student ‘politician’.
10. Hesham Mashhour
918 votes, 51.00% recognition, Trinity
Hesham is known in college for his tight, tight shorts and across the university as a whole for his stellar and confusing career in the public eye. He spent the first 30% of his Cambridge career running an LGBT+ magazine and hating on free speech.
In one of this university’s most stunning ideological turnarounds, he has spent the latter 70% founding a conservative magazine, getting in fights with progressive activists and standing up for his own free speech. In an editorial on his website, he avoided any pretensions to modesty: “Am I a big name on campus? Probably. Does that make me any more important than you? No.”
Upon hearing the news, he told us: “As I said before it’s really not about being a BNOC, it’s about being who you are at university and expressing your opinions even if some people hate you for it. Everyone needs to grow a pair.”
9. Will Popplewell
973 votes, 54.06% recognition, Pembroke
Third-year HSPS student Popplewell first made his mark as enthusiastic and widely known fresher, quickly rising to the dizzying heights of Men’s Officer. Elected President of the Pembroke Junior Parlour in a tight four-way race in October 2014 he caused uproar last term when the JPC voted he would be staying on beyond his term of office as no-one had put their name forward to fill his shoes – a decision later reversed.
Outside Pembroke, he is more widely known for his energetic and talented exploits on the musical theatre scene, both as CUMTS Treasuer and on stage, with RENT and the Putnam County Spelling Bee being particular highlights. As The Tab’s Theatre Editor he introduced a daring yet controversial new rating system for plays: 1st, 2.1, 2.2 and 3rd. His attempt earlier this term to put his name down to review a show he himself was directing was given short shrift by the Tab theatre editors.
“I’ve dreamed of this, the highest of honour, since I arrived in Cambridge as a bright-eyed fresher. I’d like to thank The Tab for bringing some light to my otherwise joyless third year.”
8. Jamie Roberts
976 votes, 54.22% recognition, Queens’
Jamie is just an ordinary guy studying for an MPhil in Medical Science at Queens’. In his spare time, he’s an international rugby union star, a career that in fact pre-dates his time at Cambridge, unlike the other BNOCs on this list. Jamie can sometimes be spotted in Cindies, mingling with us mere mortals and rubbing shoulders with other BNOCs possessing significantly more trivial claims to fame.
In December last year, he played Varsity for Cambridge, although he had to leave the game at half-time due to injury. Other fun facts include the name of his secondary school, Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantafis.
7. Lola Olufemi
989 votes, 54.94% recognition, Selwyn
Second-year English student at Selwyn, Lola Olufemi has made her mark as an actor, activist and BME Rep on the exec of the CUSU Women’s Campaign. All her nominators described her as a Social Justice Warrior and, in one case, “fanbloodytastic”. Which is why she probably got the HIGHEST ever number of likes (2472) and shares (378) when she featured on Students of Cambridge.
Upon hearing news of her membership in the Top 100, Lola was delighted by the accolade and encouraged her hundreds of fans to head to The Tab to vote for her.
Lola’s fame also derives from her status as a former Varsity columnist and actor in a number of Cambridge plays, including Othello, as Othello:
6. Chris Jammer
1018 votes, 56.56% recognition, Caius
Probably the most fashionable name on campus, Jammer is known for the unholy trinity of gyming, modelling and clubbing. As rep for every club and big Cambridge event under the sun, Jammer is unlike the rest of the top ten insofar as he doesn’t play at being a politician, get overly worked up about activism or spend too much time in the ADC. He clearly shares the BNOC work ethic though, having set up the now ubiquitous Strawberries & Creem festival in Cambridge and Team First (an app for student discounts).
He has a modelling contract when he graduates and starred (alongside a certain Jeremy Paxman who says: “Chris Jammer? Who the hell’s Chris Jammer?”) in the promotional video for this year’s Charity Fashion Show. In addition to prancing down King’s Parade topless surrounded by lesser models from the show’s massed ranks, he’s featured in the corner of a photo in the Daily Mail alongside the cast of Made in Chelsea. He is also the image for July in the 2016 Red Hot Calendar, which has apparently become “a global phenomenon of frenzied redhead appreciation”. Quite the résumé.
Jammer told The Tab that: “Model, icon, land economist. BNOC should come with the territory. I thought Paxman had already put the crown on my head.”
5. Allan Hennessy
1032 votes, 57.33% recognition, Fitzwilliam
Allan is a second-year law student well-known for his wavey garms, decadent jewellery, huge bushy beard and journalistic exploits at the Guardian and Indepedent. Allan rose to dizzying heights of notoriety when he featured on BBC not once but TWICE, talking about the radicalization of Muslims.
“I’m buzzing. I’ve always wanted to find myself on top of Jamie Roberts – perhaps this is a prophecy of sorts!”
Allan went on to question the ethics of this competition: “What does it mean to be a ‘big name’? Looking at the Top 10, it is hard to know what ‘big name’ really means. Does it mean ‘big bureaucrat’, ‘big twat’ or ‘big ego’? Or perhaps, more positively, it could mean ‘big heart’ – the inclusion of the brilliant and loving Lola Olufemi and Charlotte Ivers gives me hope.
“However, hope is lost when we are reminded of some of the other names on the list. One thing is for sure: biggest name certainly does not mean ‘most liked’ – I just don’t know what my fellow students are trying to say about me. If anything, I’m kinda scared now that I have no friends or, in the biting words of Wealdstone Raider, ‘got no fans’.”
4. Sachin Parathalingam
1158 votes, 64.33% recognition, King’s
The Tab, RAG, Law Soc, the Union, the ADC, the Marshall Society – few high-profile Cambridge societies have been spared the Sachin treatment. Christian Union, look out. One wonders how Parathalingam, who collects and treats grand committee positions like additions to a stamp collection, has time to do it all.
Even if his rise to BNOCdom has had some hiccups and ‘stepping downs’, Sachin’s status as a true demi-god of event-management is surely secure, from the Union’s Bicentenary Ball to King’s Affair, King’s Politics, King’s Law Society and, well, we could go on and on and on. He was a wannabe BNOC even at school, when he held the brilliantly-named, even by his standards, position of “President of the General Assembly at Colombo Model United Nations”. At the Union, he followed up a star-studded lineup as Michaelmas Speaker’s Officer with defeat just before Christmas in the presidential elections to Charlotte Ivers, who may or may not feature further down on this list.
When we asked him for comment, he singled out the few things he has yet to achieve: “I haven’t got a first, a blue or a husband yet so I suppose this huge honour makes up for that.”
3. Oliver Mosley
1461 votes, 81.17% recognition, John’s
Some say that Oliver Mosley’s cheek bones were fashioned by the Olympians themselves. Some say he just has good genes. Most would contest that. Previously Union President, he’s probably happy to have made the top three, but definitely crestfallen he didn’t come away with top prize. Frequently touted as a future Cabinet Minister, he has featured in Tatler’s Little Black Book once, the Daily Mail thrice and the Tab too many times to count. He hopes these figures will sky-rocket as he embarks on his public career.
He told The Tab: “Do I have any comment? I spent 25 minutes trying to find someone I knew in Life last Sunday, before leaving and going to Gardies on my own. This poll is a sham. I blame Xavier. And Julian Assange.”
2. Priscilla Mensah
1657 votes, 92.06% recognition, Girton
Maybe it’s the fact that she was elected CUSU President last year with a record mandate as CUSU’s first ever BME woman President. Or maybe it’s the fact she has the power to send university-wide emails. University. Wide. Wow. Policies effected since beginning her term include running the Freshers’ Fair, trying to ensure academic parity between colleges, campaigning on rent, holding meetings, setting up committees, not commenting to the press, proposing motions and sending emails. #longliveHermes
The fact that she beat the 2012 CUSU President’s performance, the last time we ran Cambridge’s Biggest BNOC, by nine places suggests Priscilla is doing well in raising the traditionally low profile of CUSU.
She told The Tab: “This is a bittersweet victory because of course I prayed I would come first. I first of all want to thank God for the Tab’s existence, and also thank my parents for instilling in me a love of sensationalist, cutting-edge journalism. As Gregor Fisher says to Bill Nighy in Love Actually, ‘it’s been an honour.'”
1. BIGGEST NAME ON CAMPUS 2016: Charlotte Ivers
1662 votes, 92.33% recognition, Pembroke
Woman about town, social justice warrior, Easter 2016 Union President, ex-Tab Editor, former Tab columnist, leggy blonde – some said Chivers has it all. But what would she be without the accolade of Cambridge’s Biggest BNOC?
Her notoriety as a BNOC began when, as a keen fresher, she began writing for The Tab, before rising through its ranks to the position of Editor in Easter 2015. Onlookers were appalled when Charlotte decided to straddle the awkward journalism-Union divide. But rather than spending a year of hacking while occupying shit committee roles, Charlotte went straight for the top jobs.
After running unopposed to become Union Treasurer, in Michaelmas last year she was triumphant in an epic showdown with Sachin Parathalingam – another former Tab journo and BNOC on this list – to become Easter 2016 Union President. Her prior experience in journalism makes her the Union President in recent history with the longest Internet backlog of awkward personal confessions and tacky Tab photos.
She told The Tab: “When I saw The Tab were running this competition, I joked that whoever won it would probably be a terrible person. I realise now that I was right.”
Thank God that’s out of the way.
Just kidding. Tab BNOC Special Mentions coming your way soon.
Contributors: James Wells, Xavier Bisits, Jon Cooper, Ellie Olcott, Finn McRedmond and Joseph Spencer.