MISTER SUPRANATIONAL 2016: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 1)

When I heard news that the World Beauty Association (the organizers of Miss Supranational) are going to host an inaugural male equivalent, I was excited as it can easily position itself like a Manhunt International with a European sensibility.  It turns out that actually they are also fusing this with elements of Mister World as they also introduced some challenge events (albeit not really that crucial in the selection of the finalists unlike in Mister World).  They include a cooking challenge and a swimming challenge, but of course the best parts are the modeling aspects, and one favorite shoot is them channelling James Bond while the reigning Miss Supranational Stephania Stegman, Miss Supranational 2014 Asha Bhatt and Miss Supranational 2015 Top Ten finalist from Australia (and commentator for these proceedings) Chris Fischer posed like Charlie’s Angels.  It was initially indicated they would be selecting a Top 25 like in Miss Supranational this year, but it’s a good thing because there are only half the roster in this contest compared to its distaff counterpart, a Top 20 is more sensible.

Interestingly one thing I observed about fledgling / up-and-coming pageants is that during their inception there is the dubious practice of the international pageant organizer handpicking locally-based expatriates to represent countries to shore up the roster.  I don’t like this practice, but I’ll give this pageant a pass as long as by the third or fourth year they eliminate this practice altogether.  I mention this because I noticed two possible representatives who might have been chosen through such practice.  Nevertheless, I still believe this is a credible pageant and there is a pretty strong quality of contenders out there.  Without further ado, let’s proceed to review them starting with…

ANGOLA – Osvaldo Chavez.  He looks generally solid, but I think attention is going towards another African or a dark-skinned Latino.

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ARGENTINA – Matt Ferrario.  Many guys sported scruffy stubbles as it’s very much an in look these days.  Thiis guy is no exception and he has a handsome face and buffed physique to boot.  But he has one key drawback–he’s one of the shorter guys in this competition, with Asha, Stephania, and Chris towering over him in the James Bond / Charlie’s Angels photo challenge.

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BELARUS – Sergey Bindalov.  He reminds me of a young Sean Bean and he exudes movie-star charisma that many are dubbing him as a favorite to win.  It does make sense as Miss Supranational tend in its early days to crown as winners countries that used to be part of the Polish Empire, and this one fits the bill.  No one is likely to object to his possible win as his charisma is too undeniable.

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Sean Bean in Caravaggio (1986)

BELGIUM – Johnny Gaspart.  Imagine Mexican telenovela star Gabriel Soto (who also happened to have been 1st runner-up in the inaugural edition of Mister World in 1996) with a dark-haired, slightly frumpier younger brother and you get this guy.  He’s great looking with a beefy physique, but a Top 20 placement is not really a sure thing, though it’s still highly possible.

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Gabriel Soto (image sourced from alchetron.com)

BRAZIL – Bruno Vanin.  Speaking of telenovela actors, imagine William Levy having a lankier-framed brother with dark hair and you get this guy.  Unlike Belgium, he oozes charisma from his pores that a Top Five placement is all but assured for him.

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William Levy (image sourced from markiza.sk)

CANADA – Matt Materiale.  He’s handsome, but perhaps just a tad too brooding.  But then girls might dig that.

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CHINA – Ximin Gao.  If this were Manhunt or Mister International, this guy will have an inside track in the finals.  But I noticed the judging panel doesn’t seem to feature anyone from East or Southeast Asia so he is facing an uphill battle making an impression.  I actually find him appealing, but I doubt he doesn’t tickle the tastes of Europeans, Latin Americans, or Indians.

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CZECH REPUBLIC – Jan Pultar.  He’s like a clean-shaven version of Mister International 2015 4th runner-up Jakub Kraus.  I just notice that it seems he and Jakub might have the same modeling coach as I notice for formal wear they exhibit the same cuff pose.  He looks poised to be a shoo-in for the Top 20 and possibly beyond.

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Jakub Kraus at Mister International 2015 (image courtesy of Joy Arguil)

DENMARK – Marcus Rosenberg.  His boyish handsomeness is undeniable, but also bolstering his appeal is his pedigree–his mom is Pia Rosenberg Larsen, who happened to have finished 1st runner-up in both Miss World and Miss International 30 years ago (yes, for the former, she beat Halle Berry).  He looks like a shoo-in to the Top Ten, but beyond that, there are formidable contenders out there, but it is still conceivable he can equal or exceed his mother’s lofty placements.

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EGYPT – Mohamed Medhat.  I hope he doesn’t get offended that I compare him to Israeli actor Oded Fehr, since despite the 1977 peace treaty Egyptians and Israelis don’t seem to get along well lately.  He has Oded’s swarthy appeal prior to his arrival and sported a full beard, but it seems he made a misstep by reducing his luscious beard into a wispy stubble and his charisma fizzled significantly since then.  He’s undeniably good looking and his mane is very enviable but it’s just frustrating he doesn’t sparkle as he could have.

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Oded Fehr in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (1999)

ETHIOPIA – Yohannes Asfaw.  I’m not certain about his charisma–it seems the Poles like him, but he registers as flat in my eye.  Also, he made a major misstep in the formal wear preliminaries as he wore a casual red outfit.  For me his chance of making the Top 20 is 50-50.

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FINLAND – Joonas Laajanen.  He stands out because he has a shaven head.  Though I don’t know if projecting a skinhead look is a good thing in this milieu.  Also, even if he has a cute boyish face and a tall stature, a key disadvantage is that his physique is not that toned (and his pale complexion doesn’t help matters).

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FRANCE – Bryan Weber.  He’s a veteran who was 4th runner-up at Mister Global 2015 and a well-regarded also-ran in Mister International 2015*.  He looks like he’ll make up for his shut-out in Mister International as the level of competition in this pageant, as high as it is, is not as heady.  Looks like a Top 20 shoo-in.

*The standard of that pageant was so stratified that even a gorgeous guy like him would struggle to make the cut–he had to live vicariously through the victory of his roommate, Switzerland’s Pedro Mendes.  He was the first to run towards Pedro when he was announced the winner and mass jubilation among the contestants ensued.

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All images courtesy of Leonardo Rodrigues for Mister Supranational unless otherwise indicated.

COMING UP:  HAWAII to PUERTO RICO

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