And the most handsome man in Africa is….a Kenyan student! Kevin Oduor Owiti, 21, a student at Catholic University of East Africa, was among the 46 finalists in the Mr World 2016 pageant, in which he emerged fourth during the competition held in UK.
Kevin, a former Mr Catholic University of Eastern Africa (Cuea), beat stiff competition from 46 other contestants from across the world on Tuesday night to emerge the fourth best desirable man in the world during the event held in Southport, Devon, England.
Owiti assumed the title of Mr World Africa as the other contestants from the continent –Ghanaian Selorm Tay, Michael Amilo from Nigeria and South Africa’s Armand Du Plessis – were ranked below him.
Kevin, a third-year Business Management student, stood tall, carrying the Kenyan flag high in a competitive final that featured top models from all over the world, among them men who model for international fashion brands.
“I am still ecstatic. It is amazing. I can’t believe this. It is an awesome feeling. I am lost for words and I thank God for all this,” a jubilant Kevin said after he was announced the fourth best at the Southport Theatre, Floral Hall, The Promenade, Southport. “Surprisingly, I have been expecting to score well here and I am grateful I made it through.”
It was a night of many firsts as 26-year-old Mr India Rohit Khandelwal was crowned the winner, becoming the first Indian to win the coveted title and walking away with $50,000 prize money. Puerto Rico was first runner-up while Mr Mexico came third.
“The experience was phenomenal. Being on stage with 46 other desirable men is just a feeling I can’t explain. And then, top up that with a top five finish… I did it for Kenya, my country that I am so proud of,” Kevin said.
Unlike the Miss World pageant, which is the most prestigious beauty pageant, Mr World has always been treated lowly locally. Male modelling is not popular in Kenya. That explains why Kevin’s departure for UK was low-key.
Mr Owiti became Mr Siaya County and was later declared Mr Kenya in Malindi, Kilifi County in December last year, giving him the chance to represent the country in the global competition. According to his profile on Mister World website, Owiti lists Kofi Annan as his role model for the role he played in bringing peace in Kenya during the post-election violence.
Long journey to the top
Together with the other finalists, Kevin has been involved in other competitions since July 10. He took part in the 10 Tonne Mr World challenges, which were divided into Fashion and Style. They included the Extreme Challenge, the Multi-Media Award, the Sports Challenge and the Talent Competition.
And as the results of the big international feat trickled in, the Mr and Miss World team lead by the Kenyan pageant holder Terry Mungai joined in celebrations, praising Kevin for making Kenya proud. It was the first time in many years that Kenya had made it to the Mr World finals after the competition took a break. The title holders have been concentrating on the Miss World event.