Now, let’s discuss the Top Five. Though I would’ve wanted Lebanon and Dominican Republic up there, I can see strong justifications why the Top Five were so…
4TH RUNNER-UP: BRAZIL – Ramon do Valle Pissala. Though I prefer the more masculine faces of Lebanon and Dominican Republic, I can understand why the judges could dig the handsome boyish features of this guy–albeit he reminds me of a cross between former Glee star Chris Colfer (but then again, during the 5th season, he buffed up) and movie/TV star Michael J. Fox. He does have an irresistibly buffed bod so I’m not that upset with his placement, along with…
Michael J. Fox (image courtesy of Hollywood Life)
3RD RUNNER-UP: ANGOLA – Mauricio Eusebio. The fact that he’s the only black African in the group probably stoked the Chinese fascination with “exotic” types, and he’s as “exotic” as it gets in their perspective. I don’t know what “Best Performing” entails, but he won this special award on top of garnering a fourth place overall finish in this pageant. I think one justifiable factor for his high placement is his radiant smile (a key common thread among many who made the cut),
2ND RUNNER-UP: ENGLAND – Christopher Bramell. After his Top Five finish at Mister World earlier this July, I wonder how well he will fit in with this type of pageant, as this pageant has a radically different format from Mister World–Mister World doesn’t have a swimwear round while swimwear/underwear is an essential portion of Manhunt International’s DNA. Also, Mister World is pretty straight-laced and emphasizes personality while Manhunt International’s emphasis is solely about looks, and appreciation from the LGBTQ community. But it turns out he can fit in well in this milieu, too, flashing that gregarious welcoming smile wherever he goes, and possessing a game attitude to do whatever is required of him. It made him one of the big front-runners, and is rewarded with this lofty finish, improving on his Mister World placement.
1ST RUNNER-UP: HONG KONG – Ba Te Er. If I’m not mistaken, his name is similar to how a typical Filipino would pronounce the English word “butter”. He was born in Inner Mongolia, and originally was designated as “China (North)” but then was given the “Hong Kong” banner. He does exude an Asian cosmoopolitan vibe with his striking features, features that almost read as “Eurasian” which is highly prized all throughout this continent. It’s not a surprise he became one of the big front-runners, and indeed garnered this high finish.
MANHUNT INTERNATIONAL 2016: SWEDEN – Patrik Sjöö. He’s the closest thing to the classic ideal prized by this pageant over the years, so it’s not surprising how he ended up winning it all. Yes, he’s considered not as handsome as the previous edition’s 1st runner-up Peter Jonsson, but well, this edition is admittedly not as headily competitive as that group. Like many of the guys who fared the best in this year’s competition, a key winning characteristic he possesses is his gregarious demeanor. He can exude style and class, but I’m sure lots of Manhunt followers are going ga-ga over the group NewUrbanMale beach photo where he was shown in a squatting pose–on the sponsor’s Instagram account, they actually portioned that picture and one portion emphasized his squatting legs and the first thing that came to my mind is… LMFAO’s (in)famous “Sexy and I Know It” video.
Unlike the 2012 edition that was held in a very small auditorium stage and marred with power outages and a threadbare production (so unworthy of the glorious specimens gracing that stage that year), at least Shenzhen provided a grand show (albeit bloated and lengthy) that provides hopeful signals for this sustainability of this pageant’s revival. It’s also a nice touch that the two most recent winners, China’s JianFeng “John” Chen (2011) and the Philippines’ June Macasaet were on-hand in this event to handover the title to the winner. Looking forward to better editions (and hopefully coverage) ahead.