Did you know that there is a male beauty pageant? There is, and it’s been held on an annual basis in Thailand since 2014. The 2019 competition drew in 28 contestants from all over the world, of whom one was named Mister Global.
This year’s theme was called “Inspiring Gentleman.” Kitti Jamjunsa explained the choice of themes: “The aim of Mister Global is to promote environmental awareness, and we have been promoting this cause ever since we started in 2014. This year, we added a new motto ‘Inspiring Gentleman’ because we believe that the contestants and titleholders should motivate and inspire people.”
Inspire people it has, though perhaps not in the way the pageant organizers had hoped. The 2019 event went viral when images of the contestant’s costumes were posted. Those costumes were compared to the costumes you would expect to see the boss of a fighting game to wear, but there was much more to them than just that. “For us, we are really surprised that it went viral around the world and we welcome many positive comments,” states Jamjunsa. “However, this segment is nothing new in any pageant system as it has always been a part of it. The winning costume is not about the size or design, but the story and culture behind it.”
Jong Woo Kim took home top honors from this year’s Mister Global. The 23-year-old police administration student and model from Korea will serve as a Global Goodwill Ambassador to help promote various charitable and environmental projects. One example of such projects would be the elephant car organization fundraiser held at the event.
It may look like the participants dressed up as characters from a video game, but each costume represented different aspects of the culture of their home countries, such as Manuel Duarte’s costume which was inspired by the ancient Mayan civilization of his home country of Mexico. Some costumes were inspired by their country’s flag, like Rubert Manuel Arias Solozabal from Cuba, or traditional costumes like that of Jonny Odedera’s Gaum Kingfisher costume. Regardless of what you think, you can’t deny that the costumes were often over the top.