Reaching almost a million people on the final night live broadcast in high definition, Mister National Universe returned to Thailand for the 3rd year. From June 24th to July 1st, 19 men, each representing their own country, traveled to the Kingdom to compete in the hopes of winning the title and bringing honor to their Country.
This international pageant for men was founded and is owned by Thai entrepreneur, media personality and the creative director of this Magazine, Ms. Tanya Siri Vijitsomphong. Ms. Vijitsomphong created Mister National Universe as a way to promote tourism around the world with an emphasis on Thailand. This year’s host cities were Kanchanaburi and Hua Hin. Countries represented included Bhutan, Brazil, India, Laos, Malaysia, Manipur, Mindoro, Moldova, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Serbia, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vietnam.
The men landed in Thailand on the 24th of June and attended the sash ceremony held at the home of Socialite & Philanthropist Khun Sumanee Guna Kasem. Khun Sumanee has been the Honorary Chairwoman of Mister National Universe since it’s inception. Later in the evening the contestants attended the launch party for Negroni Week held at the famous Bamboo Bar inside Bangkok’s Iconic Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Early morning on Tuesday the 25th saw the contestants, national directors, national & international media along with the organizing staff loading onto a coach headed for Away Kanchanaburi Dheva Mantra Resort & Spa. The beautiful resort, located on the river Kwai in Kanchanaburi, was the Official Host Hotel for MNU 2019 during their stay in Kanchanaburi. Upon arrival they were greeted by Khun Thidarat Chansiri, the General Manager of Away Kanchanaburi who welcomed them with a speech. In the evening the MNU group were treated to an official welcome dinner on the bank of the river Kwai, hosted by Khun Thidarat and her team.
Wednesday saw the men up early as they headed down to the river to give alms to the monks who came by via longtail boat. After some morning gym time everyone boarded boats to take a sightseeing tour of Kanchanaburi via the river. After the river tour it was time for a Thai cooking class put on by Away Kanchanaburi’s head chef who taught them how to make Pad Thai Khung Sod & Tom Kha Kai. Once the boys mastered Thai cooking they were off on more site seeing, this time via the Kanchanaburi Train.
The sightseeing continued on Thursday with the men going on a bus tour and stopping to learn how Thai silk is made. Back at the hotel they were met by the crew from SUP Hire Thailand who brought all the equipment to give the fellas lessons on SUP or Stand Up Paddling. After their SUP lessons their education continued, this time learning how to hand make a Thai Krathong. Later in the evening they were treated to a River Comber Dinner and an early mini Loy Krathong Festival where they launched their Krathong’s into the river.
Friday was a little more leisurely for the men as they just participated in a National Costume Photoshoot which gave them a few hours of free time before boarding the coach once again for the trip to the Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin, the Official Host Hotel during the Hua Hin portion of their stay in the Kingdom. Due to weather and traffic the boys didn’t have much time to unwind before they all headed to the InterContinental Hua Hin Resort for the Official Hua Hin Welcome Dinner.
Sunday was a busy day with the men up early to give alms to the Monks passing by the InterContinental Hua Hin Resort & Spa and then back to the Holiday Inn to greet the pageants Honorary Chairwoman Khun Sumanee Guna Kasem upon her arrival from Bangkok. Later they enjoyed some time at the Vana Nava Water Jungle located right next door to their hotel. Lunch at the Prestige Restaurant was followed by a tour of the Mali Prestige housing estate by Chayuta “Joy”Bunyaphureesawat, owner of the restaurant and partner in Orchid Palm Homes, the developer of Mali Prestige. Dinner saw the men at the Nai Thong Ghonn Restaurant in Koh Takiab.
Monday the 1st of July was by far the most stressful day with judges interviewing each candidate and then rehearsals for the evening’s Coronation night festivities which kicked off at 6pm.
Bangkok’s Independent Wine & Spirit’s (IWS) & Hua Hin’s Cheers Bar were the drink sponsors for the evening and did a outstanding job heightening the festive mood as guests arrived.
Khun Sumanee and her entourage arrived and were ushered into a private waiting room and later appeared for photos with celebrities, judges & guests with the ballroom opening at 7pm as the live broadcast was beginning .
It was then time for the opening speeches starting with Khun Sumanee Guna Kasem and then Russ Downing, Managing Director of HOT Hua Hin Co. Ltd., came on stage to thank all the sponsors, judges and guests.
With speeches out of the way the crowd was entertained with the Jazz saxophone of Khun Tua and then it was time for the swimsuit contest which was won by Mister Brazil. After another musical interlude the men came out again but this time in formal wear and were each asked the same question with a strict sixty second time limit, “How do you turn negative thoughts into positive ones?”
As the judges tallied their scores Ms. Tanya Siri Vijitsomphong, Founder & CEO of Mister National Thailand and Mister National Universe came on stage to present the award for Best National Director. In year’s past this award has gone to just one National Director but this year it went to three, Puerto Rico, Mindoro Island & India.
And with that, after careful consideration by the judges, it was time to narrow down the contestants from 19 to 10. Those making the cut included; Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, United Kingdom, Manipur, Malaysia, Brazil, Mindoro Island, Russia & Puerto Rico.
Each of the 10 men then took turns picking a sheet of a paper from the M.C. which had a question on it and had 30 seconds to answer. A few of the questions asked included:“What have you dreamed of doing for a long time but haven’t done yet, and why haven’t you?” “What do you believe is your greatest accomplishment so far?” & “How are you different from your other competitors?”
After another musical interlude, while the judges did their scoring & with the crowd shouting out their favorites the top 5 were announced. The top 5 finalists were; United Kingdom, Mindoro, Manipur, Vietnam & Malaysia. The 5 men were each then given 60 seconds to answer the same question, “What is the equality problem in your country and how do you think the problem can be solved?”
With the questions completed and while the judges went to work making up their minds, Mister National Universe 2018, Mr. Phanendra Prasai from Nepal, came on stage to address the audience and speak about his year as Mister National Universe.
Following Mr. Prasai, all the men came back on the stage for the announcements of the Special Awards. The first was Mister Fashion Icon which went to Denis Kurchenko from Russia.
The next special award was Mister Photogenic which was given to Subash Chaudhary from Nepal.
Next up was the Mister Elegance Award which went to Axel Cardenales from Puerto Rico.
Mister Popular Vote followed and was won Duc Hieu Dang from Viet Nam.
The last Special Award, Mister Congeniality, which was voted on by the candidates themselves went to Milos Stanojevic from Serbia.
And then it was time. The judges tallied scores were given to the MC’s and the winners of Mister National Universe 2019 were announced.
Fourth Runner-up, with the title “Mister National Intercontinental” went to Alexander Coles, United Kingdom.
Third Runner-up with the title “Mister National Earth went to Duc Hieu Dang, Vietnam.
Second Runner-up with the title “Mister National Globe went to Caleb Zheng Eg French, Malaysia.
First Runner-up with the title “Mister National World went to Jan Kim Santos Vergel, Mindoro Island (Philippines) with the Mister National Universe 2018 Grand Winner being Vikash Usham, Manipur (India).
From the crowd noise it was obvious that the judges had made the right choice. Khun Sumanee Guna Kasem then appeared on stage to give the winning Sash & Trophy to Vikash as well as the other winners. Once the award ceremony had ended guests enjoyed taking pictures with all of the contestants and Mister National Universe 2019 came to a close.
Mister National Universe – Vikash Usham | Manipur (India)
Mister National World – Jan Kim Santos Vergel | Mindoro Island (Philippines)
Mister National Globe – Caleb Zheng Eg French | Malaysia
Mister National Earth – Duc Hieu Dang | Vietnam
Mister National Intercontinental – Alexander Coles | United Kingdom
Top 10 Semi Finalists
Mister Photogenic – Nepal
Mister Costume – Bhutan
Mister Popularity – Vietnam
Mister Fashion Icon – Russia
Best in Swimwear – Brazil
Mister Congeniality – Serbia
Mister Elegance – Puerto Rico
Ms. Lizzy Ginsel
Ms. Kanokkarn “Bee” Ingram
Ms. Wannapa “Pang” Rakkeo
Thidarat “Pu” Chansiri
Ms. Thania Dokmai
Dr. Sirikan Onsonkra
Mr. Arthit Mekarkard
Mr. Paul Semira