Hard to believe this is the first time I ever posted a homestretch review for this 18-year-old international male pageant. And to be blunt I wish I made a preview of some previous editions instead as the quality of this year’s batch is a letdown compared to previous editions (not to mention being spoiled by the bevy of hunkaliciousness in last year’s Mr. World pageant). The best in this year’s group would pale in comparison with the complete package that was the reigning Manhunt International winner from the Slovak Republic, Peter Meňky.
Coverage of this year’s pageant seemed to be relatively skimpier this year, only confined to a few sites and messageboards, and even there updates are few and forthcoming. It doesn’t help that the official formal wear and swimsuit portraits are underwhelming, and there are glaring errors in the way the countries’ banners were written (“AUSTALIA” and “THILAND”, anybody? Well, apparently they then photoshopped the typos for the official portraits). Still, to this batch’s credit, in general everyone looks in good shape, even if some physiques are not as well-rippled as the others. Without further ado, let us begin with…
ALGERIA - Bilal Noureddine Boudjerida. He’s attractive, but I don’t see spark or charisma emanating from him. Still it’s welcome that he’s the first representative from this North African country.
ANGOLA - Silverio Martins Champanhe. If there is a black-man-most-likely to make the cut in this year’s group, it would be this mohawk-styled dude. He does exude some heat with reasonable handsomeness and a buffed physique. But well, I’ve seen way better and more charismatic dudes–good thing this group is not as competitive so he can make serious inroads (though a Leila Lopes-style win is unlikely).
AUSTRALIA - Joseph Davidson. I personally hate his hairstyle, but there are women out there who would find that style appealing. I’m also not into his face. But the few pundits following this pageant would put him as a possible contender. I just don’t see it. For me he’s a major letdown from the bevy of handsome hunks that have come from this country, in the entertainment, pageant, and modeling fields.
BELGIUM - Gianni Sennesael. To be blunt, he pales behind the two Manhunt 1st runners-up back in 2002 and 2006, Bart de Schuymer and Fabien Hauquier respectively. Still, he does take some stunning modeling photos (with some provocatively artistic nude shots), though his Korea photos are a letdown. Still I still regard him as a front-runner for this year’s title.
BOLIVIA - Diego Saucedo Rojas. He does have the classic swarthy Latin look with a boyish twist, and he could be a sleeper possibility for the semifinals.
BRAZIL - Lucas Malvacini. Because Mr. World is not going to be held this year, we are graced with the winner of the Mr. Brazil pageant, and he looks like the one likeliest to win this pageant. He is very active in modeling scene, and yes, we have been treated with photos of him in various forms of undress so we all know he could deliver a lot of steam. It seems that Brazilian winners are veering away from classic handsomeness (e.g., Gustavo Gianetti and Lucas Gil) and going towards scruffiness like this fellow. I don’t mind scruffy especially if it’s as hot as this fellow, but I hope classic looks will make a comeback soon.
BULGARIA - Bogomil Brezin. Actually, his face is handsome enough, but his physique is more suited for a bodybuilding contest (especially with those oversized biceps). Bodybuilders normally don’t do well in these pageants, but he deserves a fair chance.
CAMEROON - Mba Fabrice Bienvenu. His bio says he’s 23, but he often looks like a 63-year-old grandfather with his grey beard. Did he deliberately bleach it, I wonder? Is he trying to imitate Benin-born actor/model Djimon Hounsou? Djimon could get away with the grey hair because he’s simply that super-hunky and that he’s 47 years old. To be blunt, this fellow should lose the look (probably he should completely shave everything on his head off). This is not the search for Grandpa Manhunt, you know…
CHINA – Chen Jiangfeng. He’s currently leading the Manhunt Popularity vote (which is a revenue-generating venture–you pay USD3 for 10 votes and there are packages where you can pay for more votes). Well, I’d rather discuss his merits–he actually does have that, even if he’s not handsome in conventional terms. It’s that certain je ne sais quois, and he does have a buffed frame that it will not be surprising to see him in the Top Five. Actually he’s the first of a surprisingly (or maybe not that much, since the contest is being held in this continent) strong Asian contingent.
COSTA RICA - Alvaro Peraza Artavia. He does possess a boyish cuteness that some pageant fans and pundits following are hyping that he could be the usurper for the title, snatching it away from Belgium or Brazil. I can partly agree, though I wonder about his unflattering swimwear photo (which seems to be shot differently from the rest) as he seemed a bit thick.
CZECH REPUBLIC - Theodor Jareš. He is attractive, but a bit too scruffy and unpolished for comfort. His frame is fit, though the seeming lack of tone may make him miss out of the finals.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Nelson Omar Sterling. He does have a beefily buffed frame, and in real-world terms he’s reasonably handsome. But I don’t see any star quality or charisma.
ENGLAND – Roland Johnson. He’s boyishly cute and though the official swimsuit photo may have showcase not much rippling musculature he’s clearly fit. He is a possibility for the semifinals.
FRANCE – Maxime Thomasset. Hard to believe he was successful in other male pageants, being 3rd Runner-Up in Mr. International 2009 and semifinalist at Mr. Universe Model 2009. I can appreciate his lean, sinewy frame, though he looked way better in his stint in Mr. International–somehow his photos in this pageant were not flattering at all. But never underestimate experience…
GERMANY – David Reichstein. Obviously he modeled his long blonde tresses after romance novel cover model icon Fabio. He belongs to the cellar, in my reckoning, except for the fact that he has a beefy bodybuilder frame.
GREECE – Giannis Pantelakakis. He has a hot smoldering modeling shot prior to his Korea arrival. In Korea, well, he’s still in contention though buzz in my opinion simmered down significantly. But most likely don’t count him out when it counts, as he seems to have all the goods intact even with muted buzz.
All photos courtesy of Alex Liu and Manhunt International unless otherwise indicated.
COMING UP: HAWAII-USA to MEXICO