Unlike Miss Earth 2011, wherein due to the constant flooding throughout Thailand they decided to switch venues, this year’s Mister International pageant stayed put and proceeded on being hosted in Bangkok, Thailand as scheduled. Perhaps the usual smaller scale required in organizing a male pageant in contrast to a major grand slam female pageant allowed the organizers to still carry on and even integrate the otherwise dire events as part of charity efforts for the contestants. One can also factor in the fact that the capital city of Bangkok itself has been mostly spared by the cataclysm (some say at the expense of adjacent areas, but that’s another story).
Though it was initially presumed that the record of 40 contestants last year would be broken this year, the number of contestants actually dipped down to 33, which is still the second-highest tally for this pageant’s six-year history. Still, pageant fans and pundits are abuzz over the caliber of this year’s contestants, with a mixture of gorgeous hunks and interesting unconventional choices who could make the final cut. Without further ado, let us evaluate their prospects starting with…
BELGIUM – Therry D’Hannens. Sure, he’s not as hunky as Fabien Hauquier and Bart DeSchuymer, but he has an unconventional “geek” appeal especially with his penchant for wearing prescription eyewear whenever he appears. He has a passing resemblance to “Queer Eye” food expert and author Ted Allen.
BRAZIL – Cesar Curti. This Brapanese (Brazilian-Japanese) model actually has experience modeling throughout Asia, which could serve him very well in this contest. He is making all the right impressions so far with his highly appealing Eurasian features, rippled physique, tanned complexion, and all-around sensual charisma. He is in my reckoning one of the front-runners in this contest.
CANADA – Ron Wear. This Mr. World 2010 contestant’s best qualities are reportedly his personality, communication skills, and his reported $3 million fortune. I have a feeling he is likely going to duplicate his Mr. World 2010 showing in this pageant.
COLOMBIA – Carlos Eduardo Paez. In real-world terms, he would be classified as attractive. But in pageant/modeling terms? Though I found him rather raw, as the days wear on he seems to make a stronger impression. He could indeed be in serious contention for the finals.
COSTA RICA – Erick Martinez. He exudes the vibe of a Hispanic/Castillian aristocrat, with a passing facial resemblance to Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine. With his lean and sinewy physique, he could be in contention for a semifinals slot. I think combing his hair in an upswept style instead of down with bangs is more flattering for him.
CZECH REPUBLIC – Martin Gardavský. Imagine Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin if he has a touch of soccer superstar David Beckham’s handsomer features, and add the latter’s athletically buffed physique and off-the-charts sex appeal, and you get this gorgeously charismatic redhead model. Needless to say, he’s one of my front-runners for the title.
DENMARK – Mads Madsen. Pageant fans and pundits are all agog over this year’s Scandinavian contestants, declaring that they are all front-runners. Well, I do agree they are highly attractive and have an inside track for the finals, but for some odd reason, I’m not as wowed by them as those fans seem to be (I’m more into Brazil, Czech Republic, and Mexico). Still, this guy looks like he has an upper hand as he garnered a “most handsome” special award. He does have those chiseled manly facial features that several ladies do dig, and his physique does keep up with the best of them.
FRANCE – Nicolas Fangille. There are some people who might find his mature, swarthy facial features appealing, but I have a feeling with his slim but not-so-toned physique he would have an uphill battle making the final cut.
GREAT BRITAIN – Dan How. It’s such an interesting contrast–last year’s winner of this pageant came from this country as they fielded a handsome, well-built model in Ryan Terry. Now, to succeed Ryan is this shaven-head burly bodybuilder. Bodybuilders rarely make any serious inroads in this type of competition, so perhaps the best strategy for this fellow is to make the most of his stay in Thailand. He did make a memorable impression with his cheeky (though some might say, gross) poses with a Thai elephant.
GREECE – Giorgios Stergioudis. I don’t know what is it with male Greek contestants and their hair–they often like to sport them long. This guy not only has long hair, but he decided to take it to the next level by doing crazy styles with it, as displayed in the swimsuit fashion show (he was since nicknamed “Amy Winehouse” by insiders). More often than not, they would then succeed in making the final cut. I’m not into guys with long hair or crazy hair, but I have to concede there is an attractive man underneath that hair. Well, we’ll see if that strategy would work this time…
INDONESIA – Steven Yoswara. Well, he’s cute and seems to be polished, but whether that would be enough to make the final cut is uncertain, though he seems to have a fan base rallying to his cause in popular polls. He seems on track to win Best National Costume with his grandiose winged get-up.
IRELAND – Brendan Mervyn. He looks like a blue-collar guy who has had his share of scrapes. And though he wouldn’t be classified as classically handsome, that rough blue-collar persona is highly appealing (we all know there are a lot of girls who love bad boys). It helps that he also has one of the buffest physiques in this batch (without becoming burly to be at a bodybuilder level), so he could be a refreshing choice for the semifinals. He has a resemblance to “Ice Ice Baby” rapper Vanilla Ice (though it’s not necessarily a bad thing to look like him).
KOREA – Oh Ji-Seong. At first glance, I felt that this country fielded a dud, as he reminds me of an Oriental version of this year’s American Idol champion, Scotty McCreery. But as days wear on, I do find him looking appealing–it’s an unconventional look, but if he plays his cards right, he could open up a lot of people’s preconceived notions of male beauty. He won a “Cutest Guy” special award.
LATVIA – Edvins Locmelis. He has a pretty-boy look–it is almost to the level that it looks androgynous, and there are girls who dig that type of look. He does have a fit physique, though not as rippled as, say, Czech Republic. His prospects would depend on how the mix of judges respond to this type of look.
LEBANON – Mohamad Al-Hajj. We’ve seen handsomer, more charismatic representatives from this country, but never count anyone from this country out as they usually would shine with personality and charm and make the final cut. His scruffy, close-cropped look made me recall singer/songwriter/producer Mike Posner (“Cooler Than Me”).
MADAGASCAR – Mickael Andrianarina. He actually has great potential–he has handsome good looks and a good frame. If he toned out his physique better, he could be in more serious contention. Well, there are people who find his raw persona refreshing and highly appealing.
MEXICO – Sergio Felipe Melendez. If you ask me, I think physically he’s the most complete package out of this year’s group. His face is just jaw-droppingly handsome, and he has such a rippled, sexy physique. I personally would regard him as the one most likely to win it all. But there are people who have been posting pictures of him on Facebook kissing another guy and many are speculating his title (or even semifinal) prospects might be in jeopardy because of it. The fact is, there are a lot of gay men competing in these pageants over the years (even if they do not openly disclose it), and I feel it’s about time we open our minds and accept that being gay does not make one less masculine. He’s still a front-running dreamboat, if you ask me.
Photos courtesy of ThaiCatwalk.com and Julio Rodriguez of Belleza Venezolana unless otherwise indicated.
COMING UP: NIGERIA to VIETNAM, and the “FEARFUL” FORECAST