A Clay Aiken Dichotomy?

 by  berkeleylovesourclay from the ClayBoard

With the turn of his head, the arch of his eyebrow or the tug of his lip line, Clay Aiken can move from ethereal beauty --- to a human cartoon.

In between is the handsome boy next door, the earnest children’s advocate, the thudworthy sex symbol and a million other persona.

The arc of Clay Aiken ranges from goofy to gorgeous. I love every degree of that range.

Like many of you, I felt an instant affinity for Clay the first time I saw him. It was obvious right away that he possesses a great talent, and in a very short time, through those pre-performance clips and the honesty and humility of his reactions to both praise and criticism, he revealed a great soul. 

It was his giggling laugh that first reached all the way into my heart. "Goofy boy", I would say to myself, but I couldn’t stop smiling. Kind of a crush, I guess.

But why Clay Aiken?

There are a lot of very good looking men in the entertainment industry. I have worked with many of them over the past fifteen years. Some of them are also good people, while others are so ugly in spirit that I learned long ago, in art as well as life, to look for substance over style.



Give me a second to slip into my fireproof asbestos suit. Okay, ready. Feature by feature, Clay is not the best looking man in music.


What he is, arguably, is the most attractive, and that attractiveness is based on the recognition of the beauty of his spirit and soul, in all of its goofy gorgeousness. 

I always laugh at the talk of Clay’s "amazing transformation". It is undoubtedly true that he seemed almost to go out of his way to hide the light of his appeal under a bushel, with his hair looking like it was styled by an eggbeater and glasses, too small for his face, which hid his most remarkable feature, those astonishing jade green eyes. Goofy.

When he started to sing "Always and Forever", his gorgeousness was revealed.

His appearance might have been less than what he was capable of, but Clay was always beautiful. He just did a good job of hiding it. Remember those 1930s movies where the smart, funny, capable, seemingly plain secretary one day lets down her hair and takes off her glasses? Her gorgeous boss would look at her as if for the first time and stammer, "Why, Miss Smith, you are beautiful!"

Several of us did a bit of stammering over the last few months, too.

Gorgeous is easy to love. I have been taken aback to read that some of you don’t like Goofy Clay.

Excuse me, but --- HUH?

How is it possible to sever this wonderful segment of Clay’s personality from the gorgeous side, and still have someone recognizable as Clay?

Goofy is being duct taped to a wall.

Gorgeous is the soul who would allow the children he loved that kind of sheer crazy fun.

Gorgeous is the lost Rolston video. Goofy is falling asleep in the middle of the set. (Come to think of it, that’s gorgeous, too.)

Goofy is the black bucket hat, the mouth agog on the ET photo shot, the "goood baby brush" (also gorgeous), sitting with his legs crossed under him on national television --- and dancing in Ruben’s pants.


Gorgeous is Mr. Aiken goes to Washington, advocate for children and the arts, immaculately dressed in a somber suit and addressing the press behind a podium.

Goofy is what the podium concealed, the nervousness that made him stand on the sides of his feet.

Goofy is going to meet Raleigh’s mayor wearing an oversized
sweater in the summertime, and a pair of flip flops.

Gorgeous is the Bubel-Aiken foundation, the reason he was 
there in the first place.

None of this has anything to do with the way Clay looks. It is instead all about the way he makes us feel, the actions he inspires in us and the affection he has earned.

The beauty of this man’s spirit moved my feelings for him past the crush stage quite some time ago. 

I am glad of it.

And what about Clay’s talent? That was the first gift. God knows how thankful I am for it.

But everything I have learned about him, and everything he has chosen to reveal to us leads me to a simple conclusion.

I would love Clay Aiken if he couldn't sing a note. 

Love, Berkeley

NEXT: Berkeley Meets Clay!


"Berkeley" is an assistant director of motion pictures, a screenwriter and 
a member of the Directors Guild of America.  She resides in Berkeley, CA.


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