All eyes were on the four male contestants on stage as they presented themselves at the Mr. 1908 Pageant, which was sponsored by the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority in an effort to raise money for the American Cancer Association.
The event, which featured a Las Vegas theme, took place on Wednesday, March 23 at 7 p.m. in the McNair Science Building.
The contestants represented the King of Hearts, the Jackpot, the Joker, and the Ace of Diamonds. They competed against each other for the judges’ votes in four categories: My Style, Swimwear, Talent, and Question and Answer.
They showcased their own styles in the casual My Style category, showed off their swim trunks in the Best Swimwear portion, performed various songs and recited original poems during the Talent segment, and answered questions from the pageant’s panel of judges.
In the end, each contestant took home a title. Jazz Washington, a freshman majoring in psychology, won third runner up and the swimwear competition.
“(My favorite part was) getting to know the AKAs and realizing how cool they were,” Washington said.
He also said that the talent portion of the pageant was the most difficult for him because he was nervous about stuttering during his speaking parts.
Antwane Cantey, a junior majoring in accounting, won second runner up and the formal wear competition.
Adrian Wilkins, a freshman majoring in English, won the title of Mr. AKA as first runner up. He also won the question and answer portion of the pageant.
“(My favorite part was) just being around the people, getting to know everybody and working with them,” Wilkins said. “The hardest part had to actually be when I did the show. I was extremely nervous, like shaking and everything.
Wilkins said that the large crowd intimidated him the most during his time on stage.
“During my poem, I didn’t want to mess up or forget what I was supposed to say or anything like that,” Wilkins said.
Michael Moses, a senior majoring in English, took home the title of Mr. 1908. He also won the style and Mr. Congeniality competitions.
“It was awesome; I was just happy,” Moses said.
Moses said that he was not used to being the one who had to woo the judges and get the crown.
“It wasn’t being behind the curtain and it wasn’t being on stage, I think the worst part was actually knowing that there were judges there,” Moses said. “Usually I’m the one putting on the pageant, not in the pageant, and so being on the other side of the table, I totally see what the girls go through. The lights are so hot.”
Although they were all striving for the same title, Moses’ competitors said that were happy for him.
“I think he deserved it … I’m proud of him,” Washington said.
Moses said that he intends to represent the AKAs well as the next Mr. 1908.
“I plan on using the title as another platform to let men know not to just go to college but to get involved in stuff,” Moses said. “It’s one thing to go to college, but you only get one college experience. Do everything.”
Moses and the other contestants said that they learned new skills while they attempted to win the title of Mr. 1908.
“I think I took away being able to work better with people I didn’t know and being in an uncomfortable environment because I’m usually around my frat brothers all the time,” Moses said. “It’s putting myself out of my comfort zone and having to look comfortable, so I think that’s great for the real world.”
All of the contestants offered advice for anyone who may want to participate in pageants.
“Practice, practice, practice,” Washington said. Don’t wait until the last minute to do anything. Get started with it as soon as you figure out that you are going to be in the pageant.”
Wilkins has a different set of advice to offer aspiring pageant winners.
“One thing I would say is it’s fun,” Wilkins said. “You should do it. Get into it because it’s a great experience and when you do it, just be yourself. Don’t try to fit into everything else. Just be yourself and be who you are and you’ll be fine.”
Moses adhered to the topic of his platform as he provided advice.
“First of all, participate,” Moses said. “Don’t be scared, it’s cool. Have fun while you do it and don’t make it a chore because then it’s easily a headache and then you don’t want to do it anymore.”