Rudy Young, 27

Leonard St at Nassau St, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Photograph: Jay Muhlin

Is that short for Rudolph? No, actually, it's Rudley. I'm named after my dad, who is Chinese-Jamaican. It's a classic Jamaican name, but no one really got it in the States, so my mom just shortened it to Rudy after watching The Cosby Show. [Laughs]

Is there a big Chinese community in Jamaica? Yeah, there was a big community that left China and moved to different islands in the West Indies and Trinidad around the time that my dad was born.

That must have led to some delicious food traditions. A lot of curry, a lot of rice... Amazing.

What do you do? I'm a supervisor at Diesel.

I read that they set up those stores to purposely make you feel lost and intimidated so that a salesperson can make you think they're helping. Oh, no. That's more Urban Outfitters. Diesel employees are probably the most knowledgeable retail employees in the city.

You would think that. [Laughs] No, really, I've worked at a lot of different places, and Diesel is great. It's like a big party.

So do you always prance around topless? No, no, I'm totally not that guy at all. I'm just coming from my evening run. I'm super addicted to extreme cardio. I was an overweight child.

And it left scars? I think it does for anyone. Anyone who grew up as a fat kid has body-image issues.

Hopefully posing with your shirt off for TONY will help impress upon you that you are no longer fat. Oh, God. I'm so nervous. But I'll trust you.

More from Rudy

"I'm working on my first novel. I'm a big fan of beatnik and classic New York literature—anything by Jack Kerouac or Hubert Selby Jr. My novel is about youth in New York City...and that's all I'm gonna say."

"I'm into numerology. It's the study of numbers and how they appear in your life, their significance. I suppose you could find meaning in anything, but I'm very good with numbers."

"I've been reading Time Out since September 2004. I kept it every single week till I got to the point where it was out of control. Did I imagine being in 'Public eye'? Not really; I'm kind of private. But it's really cool that I've become one of those characters now."