`Cosmo' looks far for `hunk' from Md.

Up for a commute? He lives in New York

October 16, 2002|By Deitrich Curry | Deitrich Curry,SUN STAFF

If you are looking for Maryland's hottest hunk, you will not find him in Baltimore, Annapolis or Columbia. You will not find him strolling the Inner Harbor or tasting a Maryland crab.

Jason Downs, 29, Cosmopolitan's pick as Maryland's Hottest Hunk for its November "All About Men" issue, has lived in New York for the past seven years.

Born in Columbia and raised in Ellicott City, Downs was wearing a Maryland T-shirt on the New York subway one day when he was asked whether he wanted to be considered for Maryland's hottest hunk.

A couple of months later, Downs, who has blue eyes and shoulder-length brown hair, was chosen.

"I think it's funny. I don't consider myself a typical Marylander - I'm much wilder," Downs says about being chosen for the Cosmopolitan issue, which spotlights one bachelor from each of the 50 states as "The Hottest Hunks in the U.S." The magazine hit newsstands yesterday.

Downs, a singer, songwriter and actor, has not always been a bachelor. At 18, he left Maryland to attend Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. Six months later, he left school to marry his high school sweetheart. The marriage lasted less than a year.

"We were young. The first big problem that came up, she left me. I don't blame her," he says. Heartbroken, Downs learned from the experience. "The most important thing I learned was I didn't know anything. I didn't know myself, and I didn't know the person I married. It felt like God had smacked me in the face. But I felt I had a second chance at life," he says.

With this new perspective, Downs moved to New York and earned a B.F.A. in drama at New York University. He signed with Jive Records and has released a compact disc in Europe, White Boy With a Feather, a blend of country music and hip-hop. He is working on his second CD.

As an actor, Downs appeared in John Waters' Hairspray - he had only one line, but he danced throughout the movie. He also appeared with Whoopi Goldberg in Clara's Heart.

Downs is looking for a woman who "does something really well."

"It could be writing, painting, playing an instrument, anything," he says. He also wants a woman who is confident, has a sense a humor and is adventurous.

He isn't looking for a particular physical type. "I consider plenty of women to be sexy" but, he says, "there has to be more than good looks to cause chemistry."

Downs also enjoys reading, going to the movies and spending time in the woods. His ultimate goals are to write a timeless song, be in a timeless movie and become a father one day.

In his wildest dreams, Downs hopes that appearing in Cosmopolitan will lead American stations to play his songs on the air. Otherwise, he is not taking the magazine feature too seriously: "It's just fun. I find it to be humorous. It's good exposure. People will see my face and hear my name. It can't be bad. It's definitely good publicity."

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