|LEFT: RHONEE ROJAS RIGHT: ERIC JIMENEZ SABATER|
On his Facebook page, Rhonee Rojas, who represented Hawaii in Mister Universe Model 2012 contest that took place last Thursday, July 12, at the Teatro La Fiesta del Hotel Renaissance Jaragua in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, slams the organizers of the pageant for rigging the results in favor of the host country's representative, Erick Jimenez Sabater. Rojas does not leave any room for niceties, charging that the mostly Dominican panel of judges had already selected Sabater as the winner despite of his "disrespectful" behavior throughout the competition.
Here's a screenshot of Rojas's Facebook comments:
The title of the competition was changed this year to the absurd-sounding "Men Universe 2012." How in heaven's name could you possibly market the winner with that stupid title? I have always questioned the reputation of this pageant ever since it began in 2008 when it accepted fake countries (Saona Island, Isla Margarita, San Andres) and signed up contestants most of whom hardly looked like models. This 5-year-old pageant has always been held practically in the same venue, in the same country, and has never been covered by any pageant website except Belleza Venezolana, whose director Julio Rodriguez Matute is closely affiliated with the organizers and who sometimes serves in the jury panel. And who could forget the infamous photoshoot from the 2010 competition where some contestants posed nude (with just a towel to cover their manhood) that reeked of sleaze and classlessness.
|Almost nude Mister Universe Model 2010 contestants pose during a photoshoot. The eventual winner would be Tarik Kaljanac of Bosnia & Herzegovina (second from right). Photo credit: Belleza Venezolana|
A Facebook pageant fan who had contacted the 2010 titleholder from Bosnia & Herzegovina, Tarik Kaljanac, to ask him about his opinion of the pageant, shared Kaljanac's no-nonsense comment with me: "Don't lose your money and time!" This comment speaks volumes of the incompetence and lack of professionalism and ethics by the organizers. I wouldn't be surprised if Kaljanac never received his prize package or was a victim of sexual harassment or other improprieties. No wonder Kaljanac never returned to crown his successor.
Two years ago, I warned several directors about this pageant and none of them listened. They cared more about acquiring a franchise than doing an extensive research about the pageant and sending naive representatives who have little clue of what to expect. Some of the contestants foolishly send themselves with little or no knowledge of how pageants are organized and end up coming home deceived and disappointed.
It is very rare for male contestants to voice their opinions about the bad experience in pageants in which they compete, so Rojas's Facebook comments should be commended and serve yet again as a constant reminder to wannabe contestants (and directors) to do your homework before getting involved with dubious or shady competitions.
By Rafa Delfin