A Kenyan, who was among the 46 finalists in the Mr World 2016 pageant, emerged fourth during the competition held in UK.
Kevin Oduor, 20, saw it coming. And when the judges at the Mr World 2016 finals made their verdict, he broke down as tears of joy freely flowed down his cheeks.
It was a dream come true as he achieved a feat no other Kenyan male model has attained on a world stage.
Technically, Kevin (above) is now Africa’s most desirable man or in other words, Africa’s most eligible bachelor (according to the Mr World titles) as he topped the African chapter.
During the Mr World 2016 gala held in Southport, UK, on Tuesday night, the reigning Mr World Kenya scored a first. He made it to the top four, technically acquiring the title of the most desirable man in Africa.
Kevin, a former Mr Catholic University, 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 told The Standard minutes 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,” Kevin said.
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 went unnoticed.
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.
Scoring high and becoming one of the competitions’ favourites, Kevin was tipped to do very well. He was among the top 10 possible winners. The eventual winner, Mr India, was hyped as the top favourite by the media.
Asked if little experience worked against him since he competed against people who do modelling as a full-time career. Kevin said he took each challenge as it came and he has no regrets.
Modelling is basically my career and this huge achievement will help boost it. To be honest, growing up, it never occurred to me that I would ever join the glamour world.
“It was never in my books. But now, this is my life. It is where my heart is right now. Joining modelling is the best decision I have ever made,” he said.
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.