“There are so many things that I can be thankful for, but mostly, having that person in my life who has helped mould me into the person I am today. You are there whenever I need. What more could a person wish for.”
So said Marc Buckner, South Africa’s hunky and currently eligible Bachelor, penned next to a recent photo he uploaded to his Instagram feed. Amidst a seemingly endless gallery of sexy abs and tuxedo poses, the gorgeous photo of the former Durbanite and his doting mum, Jenny, is proof that this ruggedly handsome entrepreneur is a real mommy’s boy at heart, and unapologetically so. Aged 37, he might very well be on the hunt for his one true love but, this self-confessed ‘Yes! Man’ says his mom will always be his best friend.
On a recent visit to the city he grew up in and is still so very fond of, we joined him for a latte and got the lowdown on life on Season 2 of M-Net’s The Bachelor South Africa, the lessons he has learned in love and the admiration he has for the woman who gave him life.
“A mother’s characteristics have the power to leave indelible impressions on us and, because of this, as adults many of us, me included, find ourselves attracted to or have a desire to surround ourselves with people who remind us of them. I waste no time in sharing with the world that my mom is my biggest role model and my best friend. She is strong and even-tempered, she is also very independent – qualities that I would love to find in the woman I will share the rest of my life with.”
Tall, with a chiselled body to boot, if our tête-à-tête is anything to go by, Marc is genuine, smart, a go-getter and great at bantering – the perfect example of the Sagittarian man who is optimistic above all else. He’s the kind of guy who sees every moment as an opportunity to learn something new, and who puts his heart and soul into everything he does, and by everything we mean motorbikes, healthy living, wellness, psychology, news headlines, currency trading and investing –every woman’s dream we suppose. He is totally husband material and finally ready for marriage but, and this is a big one ladies, he is pretty picky when it comes to love.
“For me, consistency is one of the keys to everything. I try to be consistent in my thoughts, actions and behaviour. I try not to be emotionally erratic and I try to think and act in a way that will bring more happiness, more wealth and health to my life and the lives of those around me. I don’t always get it right, but my aim is to be the best version of myself and to learn something new every day.”
Never one to easily turn a challenge down, Marc says he lives for the outdoors and adventure.
“I’m a ‘Yes! Man. Game on for new experiences, no matter what they entail. I like to think green, I love hiking, kayaking, sky-diving, doing crazy things in life, but I can also just as easily settle for a picnic with a view. Those are the kinds of things I would like to be able to do with the love of my life one day.”
He is a true believer in the fact that our actions define us, not our experiences, as we should simply be made stronger by these.
“One the biggest crossroads of my life began with my modelling career. It has opened many doors to exotic travel, has been the catalyst for many encounters with interesting people and it has paid many bills, but it didn’t start out that way. In fact, the first trip overseas I took was awful. I’m not sure what was worse – being sworn at in Athens by a miserable stranger or struggling in a rainy Germany with little money to survive on and drowning my sorrows in chocolate.”
Marc admits openly that he was reduced to tears by this gloomy introduction to what was the start of an independent life, but it also woke him up to the realities of being accountable for his own life and that if he wanted to lead successful life of his own, he had to grow a thick skin, roll with the punches and rise above it all.
“It was a real learning curve for me, but I realised that the only way to make something of myself was to be vulnerable to the unknown, and to never turn away an opportunity or give up no matter how hard something may seem. I think ultimately that’s why I decided to do The Bachelor. It wasn’t only about finding love, it was also about investing myself in something that would help me to learn and grow, and hopefully find love in the process.”
Since then, Marc has enjoyed significant success in many avenues of his life and attributes this not just to his own efforts, but to his mom for encouraging his independence, for moulding him into the man he is today.
“What can I say? I live in South Africa’s beautiful Mother City (Cape Town) and I enjoy life, but I work hard. I owe it to my mom for setting that example as a role model who herself was independent from a young age when she was forced, through the death of her mom at the age of 11, to take care of her siblings when their dad worked away on the ships. It could not have been an easy life for her and yet she has never asked for sympathy, she has only ever led by example, and her sister, my aunt, is exactly the same. Both of them have had a massive impact on my upbringing.”
And speaking of upbringings, Marc recalls a childhood in Durban built around big family gatherings, something he is also hoping to enjoy with the woman he chooses to marry one day.
“I love Cape Town, but there is still something about Durban that will always feel like home – that tropical feel and cultural appeal – I can’t get enough of that. Indian culture and food is a huge part of my life because of my childhood in Durban. My mom is a huge fan of it too. In fact, whenever she visits Durban, she has to stock up on spices from her favourite local curry shops so that she can take stock back to Cape Town and bring Durban curry to life when she entertains for family and friends.”
“When I reflect on my youth, I think of school days at Morningside Primary, the safety of the small suburban neighbourhood we lived in, and the house we had on Trematon Drive which I think is the root of my passion for all things DIY.”
Marc’s parents renovated and built most of the furniture for that house on their own and, on weekends especially, Marc spent a great deal of time watching his dad at his workbench, and getting stuck in as much as he could where he was allowed to help.
“I learnt a lot from my dad in those days and I guess I carried that interest into adulthood because when I moved into my first apartment in Cape Town, being particular about the size and style of furniture I wanted, I decided to make my own, and I started on the balcony. I think my neighbours must have hated me.”
Nothing makes us ‘heart eyes’ like a man who knows how to make his own furniture, right!?! And he also loves making memories in the company of family and friends – like the kind of gatherings he recalls from his Durban days spent chilling around the pool and braaing, with regular visits from the native Vervet monkeys.
“Life in Cape Town doesn’t boast those gatherings that were a highlight to me, so I am hoping to find love with someone who has a big family and enjoys that same big, happy family kind of life. When I think about the woman I want to call my wife, I would like to find someone who is honest, career-driven, independent, and has an innate and unique willingness to change and grow. I always hope to become better at everything I do and learn, and I would like to be with somebody who has the same drive and desire. I am at the point in my life where I am totally ready for marriage. It’s the children I’m afraid of,” he says laughingly.
Truth be told, Marc says he would love to have kids (before the age of 40 of course), and looks forward to sharing that responsibility with the love of his life. A strong family foundation is essential for him, as is being a good role model.
“I’ve learned a great deal from The Bachelor South Africa, much of which had to do with me. As an analytical person, I’ve always considered myself a good judge of character, but the show and the women, taught me otherwise. On one hand, I only saw what the women showed me on a date, and not what happened at the house. I kind of had a feeling about who was real and who wasn’t, and watching back confirmed my thoughts, although I wasn’t always right. We are all human, we make mistakes, and I learned that I am clearly more forward than I thought.”
Earnestly speaking, Marc says his journey on The Bachelor opened the doors for him to spend time with some women in the mansion he might have otherwise opted not to. In doing so, he discovered that there was more to these women than he had initially thought. He speaks of genuine personalities, beautiful qualities and how he holds great admiration for them.
“I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is the value of time and giving people more of it. I hold my mom in such high regard, and I think I look for her in every soulmate I try to find, but it’s so important to consider that each of us is different. We all do things differently, have our own quirks and ways, but none of us is perfect and it is not fair to judge anybody without affording them the opportunity to share what makes them who they are. I grew up in a house where my parent structure was one of good cop, bad cop – my dad was strict and my mom let me get away with murder! Well, almost – she used to allow me to hitchhike from the age of 12, and I could walk around The Wheel and The Workshop by myself before I hit my teens. I think this is largely because of her independence as a child, but I can’t tell you how I valued this growing up.”
While Marc stresses this is certainly not something children of today could experience, he say it has had a huge bearing on the man he has become and what he wants out of life and love.
“My mom’s honesty, independence and her life motto of standing up for what she believes in are the qualities I value most about her, and the things I am hoping to find in the woman I choose as my life partner and instill in my children. I’m not allowed to say if I have found ‘The One’, but all I can say is that for me ‘The One’ represents that person who I am able to put ahead of myself, in the same way that my mom did for me growing up. My mom loves without condition, talks without bad intention, gives without reason and, most of all, cares without any expectation. When I am able to do the same for the woman in my life, I believe I will have found my soul mate.”
You can watch The Bachelor South Africa Season every Thursday at 7pm on M-Net channel 101.
PHOTOS: Supplied by M-Net and Marc.