DeKALB – Sophomore Ryan Lim was crowned the winner of the 2019 Mr. Asian GQ pageant which took place 6 p.m. Monday in the Carl Sandburg Auditorium in the Holmes Student Center. The 19-year-old sophomore took part in six different events, along with four other contestants, before a panel of three judges in order to win this title.
“It’s so unbelievable,” Lim said. “Every person competing tonight was just as great, if not better, and I am so surprised to have won.” Now the winner of Mr. Asian GQ, Lim will receive a $200 scholarship, as well be a voice for the Asian community at NIU.
In order to win the scholarship, Lim must complete 10 hours of community service, attend four events for Kappa Phi Lambda, including one cultural and one philanthropy, speak at three campus events and serve as a role model on campus, Kristal Angeles, a junior elementary education major and master of ceremonies for the event, said.
The other four contestants in the pageant were Russell Sobrepeña, a sophomore health sciences major, Paul Aguada, a senior electrical engineering major, Ajay Labanan, a freshman operations management and information systems major, and Harvey Lingao, a sophomore elementary education major.
The men were judged in the six categories of Formal Wear, Beach Wear, Cultural Wear, Talent, How to Woo and a Q&A session. In Cultural Wear, the five men wore clothing that expressed their Asian heritage. All five contestants had Filipino roots, and several of them wore a formal shirt known as the “barong.”
In the talent section, each of the contestants displayed some skills they practiced. Labanan performed a traditional Phillipine folk dance known as “Tinikling.”
During the Q&A session, Lim expressed his passion for his culture and who he is as a person. “I am proud of who I am,” Lim said.
Besides the title of Mr. Asian GQ, two more awards were given for Most Photogenic and Most Popular. The former award was a photo contest on Facebook. Whichever person’s photo got the most likes was crowned the winner. The title of Most Popular went to the person with the most money donated to him.
The money raised for all five contestants went to the charity CARE, Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, a charity that delivers humanitarian relief, according to the official CARE website. Both awards were given to Aguada.
The 2019 Mr. Asian GQ pageant is the 13th annual pageant hosted by sorority Kappa Phi Lambda, an Asian-interest sorority whose NIU chapter has existed since Feb. 21, 2004.
“The show was made for diversity and to spread Asian awareness on campus,” Mayrel de Guzman, a senior hospitality management major and Kappa Phi Lambda president, said.
“I’m just excited for this win,” Lim said. “I want to spread Asian awareness on campus using my title.”