Now let’s discuss the Top 16.  In my opinion, all except one or two are worthy choices, but even those two “unworthy” ones have several powerful justifications for making the final cut.  So let’s start with…

CHINA – Tian Ze Yu.  Originally designated China (South), he is the sort of model that looks blah in most casual occasions, but when properly styled and given proper lighting (and perhaps photoshop), would shine.  I could barely get any good candid pictures of him, and I find his features too flat for my taste–it’s the sort that a Korean would want to change by undergoing plastic surgery.  So it’s a bit of a headscratcher that he got the special award of “Best Asia Model”.  Bt then again, I saw a faraway group preliminary judging pic where he looked rather dapper, and he does command the stage in a national costume photo I found.  It makes me wonder–logically the guy who was originally designated China (North) should have kept the China banner and this guy get the Hong Kong banner, since I presume where he’s from, he’s closer to Hong Kong than the original China (North) guy, who is actually from Inner Mongolia, overl 2000 km from Hong Kong (but then again, he might be now a resident there for his fledgling modeling career).  I think it’s a strategy so he can still be guaranteed a slot in the Top 16 as he could be dropped like a hot potato if he has a non-China banner.

China (R) at the NewUrbanMale beach photo shoot with Brazil, Peru, Angola, and Cyprus.
In national costume
During the preliminary judging round (fourth from right)
A casual shot

THAILAND – Phiratthaphong Mooltribut.  in some ways, he could be considered the weakest link as he made the Top 16 by virtue of winning Mr. Internet Popularity.  But he has a boy-next-door type of appeal, which can make him worthy, though some might argue otherwise.  It should also be noted that he garnered 1st place Best National Costume, with perhaps a dramatic presentation.

Doing bicep curls
In his award-winning national costume.

SPAIN – Francisco Regadera.  He’s the last to arrive to this competition, but he possesses the handsomeness and charisma worthy of belonging to this group.  He is one of two who got away with keeping a stubble, perhaps because just like the other guy we’ll discuss later, his five o’clock shadow comes in much earlier at perhaps one or two o’clock.  Alex Liu should seriously reconsider his clean-shaven directive as facial hair can also be a part of good grooming.

At preliminary judging (3rd from right)


RUSSIA – Andrey Kharkovskiy.  He might be a tad low-key, but his handsomeness is undeniable, so making the final cut is unquestionable.

Closeup pic during orientation
During city tour (L) with Siberia
In national costume

PHILIPPINES – Don McGyver Cochico.  With his facial resemblance to the outgoing Manhunt International winner June Macasaet, this hunky policeman always has an inside track into the finals, and I’m glad he made the cut.  But I suppose what frustrates many Filipino fans is that he was not chosen to be part of the NewUrbanMale beach photoshoot, missing much needed traction.  Still, a job well done.

Waiting for his turn…
Gym photo
In national costume

GUAM – Jon Kanemoto.  He’s one of the guys affected by Alex Liu’s clean-shaven directive, which he willing complied.  It seemed to work as he made the final cut and garnered citation for Best Catwalk.  But to me, I thought it made his face indistinct from many–I wouldn’t be able to pick him out from a crowd with his clean-shaven look, but well, others will disagree with me here.  At least he has that badass tattoo on his right forearm that I can go by to recognize him.

Before and after: Pre-arrival pic on left, post-shave pic on right (with Indonesia)
NewUrbanMale beach photo
In national costume

GERMANY – Marvin Osei.  Now, here’s one guy you could never miss out in a crowd, especially with his huge afro hair (that some might compare to The Simpsons’ character Sideshow Bob).  He may not be conventionally handsome but he has a lot of aces on his side like his standout mocha complexion and his lean but sinewy physique.  It’s no question he’s awarded with the Best European Model special award, as his looks are undeniably a standout.

At the Shenzhen city tour
NewUrbanMale beach photo
Sideshow Bob

VENEZUELA – Francisco Antonio Gil Riera.  His most distinguishing feature during his stay in China is his luminous smile, which he flashes so generously in almost every picture taken of him.  That smile is the big key to his charisma and it has a bright happy effect on everyone who sees it.  It’s not a surprise he won the Best Personality special award.  Why wasn’t he selected for the NewUrbanMale beach photoshoot?

Having lunch on a bus.
In national costume

SLOVAK REPUBLIC – Kristián Kučera.  His boyishly handsome face, imposing 1.93m (6’4″) stature, and buffed physique are too irresistible to omit him from this hallowed group.   There are some interesting stories that can be gleaned from his Manhunt journey, but we’ll let the pictures do the talking…

During orientation
NewUrbanMale beach photo
In national costume
Flexing abs (R) with Romania, Lebanon, and Nepal
Dinner with Denmark

LEBANON – Bilal Zaweel.  He’s another guy who got away with staying scruffy, but not without lack of trying–he arrived with a full beard, and he trimmed it to a stubble.  I suppose he actually made an effort to be clean shaven, but he’s the type whose five o’clock shadow comes in at 12 noon, so the best thing he could do is have a stubble.  But his charisma, handsomeness, buff physique, and sex appeal are too undeniable that he deserved to rank high (and even knock on the door of the eventual Top Five.  Anyway, I’m sure after this contest, he’s happy to be home and observing No-Shave November…

Before and after: Upon arrival and at the NewUrbanMale beach photoshoot.
NewUrbanMale beach photo
In national costume
Group towel shot for NewUrbanMale (L) with Romania, England, Germany, Sweden, Czech Republic, and Bulgaria

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Digno Guerrero.  This guy, for me, generates oodles of sexy appeal with his bronzed complexion, handsome face, tall stature (1.90m or 6’3″) and buffed physique–especially in those NewUrbanMale beach photos.  He resembles CSI:Miami and Magic Mike actor Adam Rodriguez.  In my opinion, he  and Lebanon should have ended up in the Top Five instead of two guys from Portuguese speaking countries, but well, that’s just my opinon…

At the rehearsal for the final (with El Salvador behind him)
At the NewUrbanMale beach shoot (L) with Germany
NewUrbanMale beach photo
Adam Rodriguez (publicity photo)