DENMARK – Alexander Bach. His rough, ruddy facial features are not the sort that is viewed as handsome, but they are unconventionally appealing. Would there be room for his sort of unconventional looks?
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Joel Perez Nunez. I find him more appealing than his successful predecessor (who landed 1st runner-up), Nelson Omar Sterling. But it is unlikely he will duplicate or exceed his predecessor’s showing especially with the astoundingly high quality of this year’s batch. He does have the looks, physique, and charm to secure a Top 15 placement.
FRANCE – Guillaume Reydel. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw pictures of him is that he resembles a Baldwin, like Stephen Baldwin in his younger days. If this was another year, he would’ve been considered as having serious inroads into the Top 15, but with the bevy of stunners he is simply regarded as worthwhile contestant. Still, a Top 15 placement is still within reach.
GERMANY – Cedric Pick. After fielding a disastrously homely cellar-dweller last year, this country fielded a front-runner for the title this time. He possesses a youthful handsomeness that is not too boyish, a balanced buffed physique, and sizzling sex appeal that makes fans of all persuasions swoon at his sight. His stock seems to be rising as the days wore on that he seems to be the one to beat for the finals. Interesting to note that the first ever international winner back in 1993 came from this country (Thomas Sasse).
GREECE – Thomas Gabriel. After the German Thomas Sasse won the inaugural Manhunt International contest in 1993, he was followed by the hunkerrific Greek Nikos Papadakis. This year, two of the main frontrunners for the title are German and Greek. Just like Cedrick Pick, this guy also has youthful handsomeness, a balance buffed physique, and sizzling sex appeal in his favor. It will be interesting to see if either of these two would indeed take the title–in either case, it will only be the second instance of a country winning this pageant twice (so far only China performed that feat–winning in 2007 and last year).
HONG KONG – Guo Chuang-Tao. He is better looking than his predecessor, Wu Tian Chao, though his predecessor has a buffer, more defined physique. In other years, he would’ve been regarded as a worthwhile contender, but with the current high standard this year, it is unlikely that he’ll make serious inroads into the Top 15.
INDIA – Arry Dabas. His fair Indian features are an acquired taste, but most pageant fans and pundits agree that he is a letdown compared to his pre-arrival photos. Though making the final cut still remains within (distant) reach, it is likely he is overshadowed by the stellar choices out there.
INDONESIA – Akbar Kurniawan. He is reportedly the shortest amongst this year’s group of contestants (though at 1.77 m or 5′ 9.5″, he is actually of above average stature for Southeast Asians). But despite that, his rugged, masculine features and buffed physique remains enviable, and he consistently smolders with charisma and humongous sex appeal. Prior to his arrival, he was regarded as a possible front-runner. His height issue and reports from photographer Haruehun Airry (who is among the preliminary judges) made the buzz diminish somewhat (that he might end up winning the inaugural Lucas Malvacini award) but I think we should not count him out.
I could not resist but note that his official Haruehun Airry photo (and similar photos caught from the same shoot) is the equivalent of a female Indonesian beauty queen photographed in a two-piece bikini and caught having a cameltoe. I remember the furor 16 years ago when Indonesia’s Miss Universe representative, Alya Rohali, received flak for being photographed in a very modest one-piece swimsuit–by most accounts, this lady is dignified, and such accusations by Muslim clerics about her denigrating their values are uncalled for. It resulted in Indonesia refusing to send a contestant to Miss Universe for nine years. So far there is no such furor over Akbar–perhaps because Indonesia is increasingly a more liberated and secular society, or it’s simply a double-standard being practiced between males and females. There are swooning reactions over the messageboards, though.
IRAN – Farhad Alizadeh-Tabrizi. Just like India, this guy is also considered a letdown compared to his pre-arrival modeling photos–he was originally considered of having an inside track to the Top 15 and even all the way to the Top Five. Now, his best prospects are to be consided a worthwhile contender.
JAPAN – Shintaro Kato. Though his bio says that he is based in Tokyo, I somehow associate his dusky features to that of an Okinawan fisherman. It’s quite challenging to find a viable contender coming from this country, though at least he seems to be having fun in his stay here.
LATVIA – Ivans Jevstignejevs. Pageant fans and pundits are paying more attention to the stellar likes of Germany, Greece, and Sweden, but there is insider buzz that this guy may also be in contention. Could he be a sleeper threat for the Top Five? He is buffed and youthfully handsome, so it is possible.
LEBANON – Elie Najem. His scruffy, swarthy looks does have its appeal. In another year he would probably have been a shoo-in or even a front-runner (if this is Mister World, he would’ve sustained a surprising streak for this country). But with the high quality of contenders this year, it’s going to be a bit of a challenge but he remains in serious contention.
LESOTHO – Pubern Padayachee. His looks and his name made me wonder if he is indeed a bonafide Mosotho. I first assumed his name is Thai, but after some Google searches I found out he’s a doctor/actor/presenter based in South Africa of Indian descent. He probably got the rights to represent the tiny landlocked African nation as he might have also performed his medical practice there. Despite his credentials, his looks and physique are out of league with the rest of the handsome and superbly buffed contenders out there.
All images courtesy of Haruehun Airry and Manhunt International unless otherwise indicated.
COMING UP: MACAU to ROMANIA