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воскресенье, 8 января 2017 г.

A quarter of men now spend as much on grooming as us girls – so is it any wonder they’re competing in beauty pageants, too?

  We sent Laura Millar to find out more...
Alex Vreme has spent most of the morning with his top off. That's the way he likes it. "I love showing off," admits the construction worker from east London.
Dressed in just a trilby, sunglasses and snug-fitting trunks, he's preparing himself to take part in the first ever Mr UK beauty pageant. And Alex, 25, is here to win.

Nick Jackson adds the finishing touches
"I've got a good chance," he says modestly. "I look great in swimwear and evening wear, and I've got a good body from tae kwon do and boxing.
Just being here today is one of the most exciting things that has ever happened to me," he adds, flashing the kind of dazzling smile I imagine he's practised in his bathroom mirror. A lot.
Meanwhile, another contestant, airline worker Tom Swacha, 29, from north London, is hoping it's his hair that will catch the judges' eyes.
Shoulder-length and blond, I have to admit it looks a bit, well, limp. And greasy. Thomas won't be landing a shampoo ad any time soon, but at least his self-belief is unwavering. "The judges will definitely remember my hair," he insists. "And obviously my good looks will help." Obviously



For years, women have used beauty pageants as a springboard to modelling and acting careers (that's you, Halle Berry and Michelle Pfeiffer). But now men are waxing and fake tanning to bag their own pageant crown - and fast-track themselves to "fame".
Christoph Williams (right) won Best Hair
Mr UK's 29 finalists represent the crème de la crème of the 1,000 guys who sent their photos off in the hope they'd be shortlisted to take part in tonight's catwalk finale at the, ahem, glamorous Coal Exchange events venue in Cardiff.
Rob Reinaldo de-fuzzes Dan How



Here they will go through three rounds of strutting and pouting, sporting casual, evening and swimwear. But apparently Mr UK isn't just about looks. Oh no...
"We want our winner to be more than just a model," says competition co-founder Chloe Valentine, 21. "He needs to have charm, ambition, determination and good manners. He has to get across his personality to the judges on stage. If any of the applicants want to give something extra - like a little dance or some push-ups - that will help."

Dan's really cooking now!
Chloe had the tough task of whittling down the entrants based on their application forms, which list their achievements and ambitions. "A few sent in eye-watering photos," Chloe laughs. "There was more than one bare bum!"
After in-depth telephone interviews, where the arrogant or dull were weeded out, the shortlist was finalised.
Now the wannabes must face the judges - two execs from London-based modelling agency Gingersnap, Miss True Beauty 2010 Amy Lewis, and photographer and former model Rob Hollings. As well as a crowd of around 300 women.
"We're looking for that X factor," says Gingersnap's director Clare Wilson, 32. "We want someone with presence."
Backstage, in a cloud of biscuity fake tan and hairspray, the lads claim they have many reasons for wanting to win.
"Ten years ago, I weighed nearly 20st," says Thomas Murphy, 31. "I've worked hard to lose 4st. I used to be really shy, but appearing on stage tonight will prove that I'm not that fatty any more."

Chin up, Leo
Softly spoken Hindu cabinet maker Rahul Vaja, 25, also decided to take part in an attempt to raise his confidence. "I was so shy as a child," he says. "Making the shortlist was a huge boost. I've never had a girlfriend. Maybe now I'll be able to chat up women." Rahul read about the contest on the internet and entered after friends told him that, with his striking grey-green eyes, he could be a model.
But for every modest contestant, there is one who, well, isn't. Finance manager Roger Snipes, 31, would love to leave his stressful job and model full-time. He lifts his shirt to reveal an incredible washboard stomach, which, to be fair, is wasted under a suit.
Politics and philosophy graduate Chris Richards, 27, dreams of concentrating his brilliant mind on "anything in entertainment, really", while naked butler Christoph Williams, 22, hopes his gym-honed body will win him the swimwear round. "I wouldn't kick myself out of bed!" he laughs. I'll bet. If he was chocolate, he'd eat himself.

John Anthony Adams won best smile
Before the men are let loose on the public, Chloe puts them through their paces on the stage. "It's quite simple," she says optimistically. "Walk slowly down the catwalk, turn to the right and pose, turn to the left and pose, walk to the end and pose, then walk back to the top."
Harder than it sounds, it would seem, as the beefcakes begin to clump up and down the catwalk. Some find it easy, shooting steely gazes to the empty auditorium. Others forget to turn, walk too quickly or, perhaps unsurprisingly, linger too long in the spotlight.
With 'walking' practice over, the audience of proud mums, pageant WAGs and hen parties flood in. The WAGs are an excited bunch, dressed in heels and slinky dresses.
"I made my boyfriend enter," says beauty therapist Stephanie Williams, 22, who's been seeing kick-boxing instructor David North, 24, for two years. "He's gorgeous with a great personality, so he's definitely going to win," she adds. "I don't mind other girls screaming over him - he's fit. I'd be worried if they didn't!"

Craig Mark Bowden can lift two chairs - wow
Kelly Lloyd, 23, has been seeing student teacher John Anthony Adams, 22, for two years. "He's got the loveliest, cheekiest smile," she raves. "I had to do his fake tan in the car park earlier. He always takes longer than me to get ready."
Laura Jane Cooper, 18, is the girlfriend of events executive Nick Jackson, 21. "I wish there was a talent section," she sighs. "He does magic tricks and I just know that would impress the judges."
Backstage, the men are coming over all Miss Congeniality, sizing up the competition as they apply last-minute slicks of tooth-whitening paste.
"Why don't you tuck your top into your jeans?" one guy suggests to a rival. "It emphasises your waist."
The preparation for tonight has been intense. "I've been in the gym every day," says Rob Reinaldo, 28, flexing his pecs. He's also been eating a daily diet of 1.5lb of grilled chicken, 2lb grilled salmon, 1lb seafood, 24 egg whites, one pack of rice cakes and 15 litres of water. That's dedication.

Personal trainer Dan came third
As the music - I Gotta Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas - starts pounding, it's show time. Chloe and her co-host Rob Lamarr introduce the boys. The crowd cheer and whoop.
Nerves are kicking in, but the men complete their catwalk strut like pros. Well, extras from spoof modelling flick Zoolander anyway. Initial front-runners - judging by the audience reaction - are Roger Snipes, David North and personal trainer Dan How, 24 (think Jason Statham on steroids. Not that Dan is).
There's a 20-minute frenzy backstage before the swimwear round. Disposable razors are produced for last-minute chest and back shaving, and the boys lift whatever they can to pump their muscles - chairs, tables, fire extinguishers...

James Pitt modelled his way to second place
As It's Raining Men booms out, the lads do their best to show the crowd what they've got, in everything from skin-tight Speedos to board shorts and trunks. The hens are beside themselves. This is the round they've been waiting for, judging by the pile of (clean) knickers they've brought along.
David North steps out of his board shorts to reveal a pair of snug-fitting trunks to wild wolf whistles. And by the time Dan How comes on in a pair of eye-watering trunks patriotically emblazoned with the Union Jack, the front row are in a total frenzy, pelting the stage with a hail of frilly underwear.
In the final evening-wear round, the boys pull out all the stops. From classic tuxedos to a Saturday Night Fever white suit, they all look suave, in a cheesy wannabe 007 way.
But who's impressed the judges most? Half an hour later, the votes are in. They line up nervously and wait for the results.

Winner Roger shows off his bod
Thomas Murphy gets Best Dressed based on his natty, '20s-style white smoking jacket. Cutie John Anthony Adams wins Best Smile, while David North is voted Most Charming for his friendly attitude. The others congratulate them, all secretly hoping they're going to win the big prize.
Dan How comes third and aspiring model James Pitt, 22, from Bournemouth, is second, despite his hair being as big as Jedward's. But the winner has something they didn't: rock-hard abs. Yes, Mr UK 2010 is Roger Snipes, 31, who looks stunned as the sash is draped around his neck.
His wife Zuzana, 27, an administrator from Slovakia, is beside herself. "I knew he'd win, he's got such an amazing chest!" she squeals. "Oh, and he's a lovely, lovely person."
Roger Snipes is crowned Mr UK

That's more like it, boys. Who needs a sash anyway? 
As Roger and Zuzana crack open the champagne, the other contestants shuffle backstage. Packing up their straighteners and tinted moisturiser, disappointment hangs in the air. "Let's go for a pint," one failed contestant suggests.


Craig and John meet their adoring fans

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