MACAU – Martin Wang Yu-Tian. Official photographer Haruehun Airry raved about this guy and mentioned that he’s amazed with his facility with English. Plus considering that this photographer is in the preliminary panel, he seems to be likely to make serious inroads into the finals, and even probably go all the way to the Top Five. I can see how they can rave about his slender but sinewy physique, but his face is simply something that turns off most pageant fans and pundits. He almost was the one who would be guaranteed a semifinals slot as for a long while he was leading the online popularity poll, but towards the end he was overtaken by Singapore.
I have an issue with the way Manhunt conducts its popularity poll–they decided to make it a revenue-generating exercise so you would need to pay up in order for your vote to be counted. It makes it seem more like a “sponsorship”, “patronage” poll instead of an actual measure of popularity–but then again, online pageant popularity polls are often tainted by fanatical voting of certain parties (we Filipinos are guilty of this, too). Filipino pageant fans do not really have the resources to fork out dollars via credit card just to vote for their favorite that is why the Philippines is not figuring at all in the polls so far.
MACEDONIA – Martin Tasevski. He received good notices for his handsome facial features. The only drawback is that his otherwise lean and fit physique is not as defined as the other sterling contenders out there.
MALAYSIA – John Tan Wei Jun. He has a “rough” look about him that is actually very appealing. He is leagues better than his head-scratchingly successful predecessor Hazwan Hilmi, though his prospects of equaling his prececessor’s achievement is not assured with the high caliber of this year’s contestants. Whatever the case, I am rooting for him to succeed.
MEXICO – Alejandro Herrero Garcia. He does ooze oodles of appeal in his Haruehun Airry official portrait. The only issue is that he’s currently wearing braces on his teeth, so he may not be able to fully maximize on his strengths.
MONGOLIA – Bilgueitui Buyankishig. It’s quite interesting that even if it hosted last year there is no contestant from Korea in this edition. However, this guy makes up for it as he could easily pass for a Korean. He is receiving buzz amongst the locals especially since he studied in the host country. He has the handsome looks of a Korean star (I thought of Korean-American actor John Cho, star of the “Harold & Kumar” comedies), and if he makes the final cut, he will be deemed truly worthy, unlike the head-scratching inclusion of his predecessor (Amgalanbaatar Odonggavaa) last year.
NEPAL – Shanish Sakya. Though he’s not that highly buzzed about, this fellow exudes a rough, masculine appeal that deserves positive notice, even if his qualities are not the sort that Manhunt International typically looks for. He should also deserve notice for his buffed physique. Compared to his predecessor, he’s definitely quantum leaps better.
NIGERIA – Stephen Jyatunde Bakare. He’s also one of the rare exceptions where the Haruehun Airry portrait is not the best shot taken of him. But then again, we have to consider that he was the last to arrive in Thailand. He looked appealing in more candid photos, but I think the issue is he probably should not show his teeth as they seem to detract from his otherwise good features. If his teeth were in better shape, he could’ve been in better contention and could’ve joined Bahamas in making the final cut.
PANAMA – Henry Rodriguez Rivera. In most photos, he seemed very raw, and his features too elongated for comfort.
PERU – Dany Peña Perauna. He does have flattering angles and is attractive, but there are angles where he looks like a commoner instead of a star. Still, he does deserve some positive notices.
PHILIPPINES – June Macasaet. Prior to winning the right to represent the country in this contest, he has developed buzz as an up-and-coming male model gracing the catwalks of various Philippine Fashion Weeks. He also was second in the prestigious Century Tuna modeling search won by current top male model John Spainhour. Most would assume such modeling pedigree would be an advantage in this contest. Well, I had to recall the cases of Brent Javier back in 2005 and Roldunne Mendoza in 2007, both of whom have established modeling careers before competing in this contest, and failing to make the final cut (a special note has to made for 2002 contestant Bruce Quebral, who eventually became a popular celebrity model years after his Manhunt stint). But then again, there’s Iago Raterta, who made the final cut in 2006. This guy seems to have the looks and charisma to perhaps equal or exceed Vince Pinto’s 2nd runner-up showing back in 1997–but with an insanely high quality of contestants this time, I’m fretful he’ll either go all the way to the top or miss the cut entirely. I hope for the former as he’s too good to be eliminated (and in my reckoning he’s the best looking and best built representative we ever fielded in this contest). Don’t you love the distinctively intensely fierce glare he gave in his Haruehun Airry portrait?
POLAND – Michael Danilewicz. In most photos, he looks plain, but Haruehun Airry unlocked a twinky appeal. He is not in serious contention for the Top 15.
PORTUGAL – Arthur Barbosa. He has a very handsome face and is well built. He doesn’t quite sparkle like other contenders out there, but he is still one worth reckoning.
PUERTO RICO – Jimmy Perez Rivera. He can easily pass for a former member of the legendary Puerto Rican boy band Menudo. I’m not that into those kind of features (with the exception of Robi Draco Rosa and present-day Ricky Martin), but I understand his appeal. He is in serious contention to make the final cut.
ROMANIA – Andrei Malaescu Dumitriu. He looks gorgeous in his Haruehun Airry portrait, but looks rather rough in most other shots. Still, there is strong appeal in his rugged type of handsomeness.
All images courtesy of Haruehun Airry and Manhunt International unless otherwise indicated.
COMING UP: SINGAPORE to VIETNAM and the “Fearful” Forecast