The reluctant Sunshine Boy
Pond Inlet's surprised beefcake

Kerry McCluskey
Northern News Services

IQALUIT (Apr 19/99) - Tommy Aglak is just an ordinary guy.

He lives an ordinary life in Pond Inlet where he holds down a fairly ordinary job as a culture and language specialist at one of the local schools. In his spare time, he likes to read a lot of books and he says he's never had particularly big aspirations to be in the limelight.

That especially holds true now.

On April 1, the day his territory became official, Aglak -- much to his surprise -- was featured as the Toronto Sun's SUNshine Boy.

"I was surprised and I didn't really know what to say. I wasn't expecting anything like that and it came out of the blue," said Aglak.

He explained that a freelance photographer, Silvia Pecota, had come to Pond Inlet last spring and had taken several different photographs of him and his friends.

"I took her out to the ice caves and to Bylot Island to see the hoodoos and go caribou hunting," said Aglak.

"She asked if she could take some pictures of me and my friends. She told me she just wanted to take the pictures and wasn't going to do anything."

Aglak hadn't thought much about the pictures since last year, until he got home from work recently and heard that CBC wanted to talk to him about his big debut.

"The other day, I got home from work and my sister said I had a call from CBC North. They said I had been picked as the SUNShine Boy. I didn't really know any of the details."

Aglak, 24, said he immediately called Pecota because he was bothered by the photograph.

"I was a little disappointed because she did it without my consent. When Silvia took the pictures, I asked her not to use them. I told her I didn't want to be the SUNShine Boy."

Aglak said that Pecota told him she had tried to call him, but couldn't reach him so asked his brother for permission.

"I don't know what he said, but apparently he said yes. If they had asked me, I never would have approved of it," said Aglak, who noted that he'd be a little more mistrustful of photographers in the future.

Pecota, reached on her cell phone between meetings, said it wasn't necessary for her to ask permission.

"Newspapers have certain rights to publish pictures. We don't need that (permission)," said Pecota.

She maintained that she wasn't trying to deceive anybody and that she simply forgot to let Aglak know of his impending future as a pin-up boy.

"In all honesty, I forgot to tell him that it would be in the newspaper."

When asked why she went ahead with the photos when Aglak had asked her not to use them, Pecota said it was obvious when she was shooting the pictures that she was shooting them specifically for the SUNShine Boy section of the daily newspaper.

"It was obvious. I shoot those pictures a certain way," said Pecota.

She spoke of her friendship with Aglak and said it was important to her that she not lose her connection with him over this.

"I was really sorry. I completely forgot. He was nice looking and it was supposed to be commemorative of Nunavut. I made an honest mistake."