Right before students leave to fill their stomachs for Thanksgiving, one student organization will host a feast for the eyes.
The second annual Mr. South Asian Pageant, hosted by the Pakistani Student Association, is set to combine culture, fashion and some friendly competition.
Former PSA president, Farhan Chughtai, wanted to put together a pageant show, but never had the opportunity. After he graduated, his sister Rukhsar Chughtai followed in his footsteps and became president of the club. Chughtai took it upon herself to make the pageant show dream a reality last year. Looking to set the show apart from other pageants, Chughtai decided to feature the male perspective.
“We don’t have guy pageant shows here and I thought doing a girl pageant show is not very original,” Chughtai said.
At first, Chughtai said the pageant organizing committee approached clubs representing the countries of South Asia and asked for volunteer contestants. This year, however, several students approached the PSA looking to compete. In order to make the show available to as many students as possible, the PSA held three audition dates near the end of October. Chughtai said the judges for Mr. South Asian picked 12 contestants, putting personality and talent before beauty.
“I wanted to diversify (the contestant’s) talent, and diversify the countries,” Chughtai said. “I also looked at how committed (contestants) were and how passionate they were to be in this show.”
Junior Taimur Mahmood is planning to return to the show after auditioning last year. Instead of focusing on competing, he said providing entertainment is his main goal.
“Being the source of a smile is priceless,” Mahmood said.
With only a short period of time in the talent portion, Mahmood could not confine his performance to a single skill in the previous show. Rather than pick one, Mahmood did them all.
“Last year I danced, I did poetry and sung also,” Mahmood said. “I couldn’t decide which one thing to do, so I just did a bunch and had fun with it.”
Even though the contestants receive comments on their performances throughout the show, Chughtai said the judges do a little bit of acting to keep up the cheerful atmosphere.
“We had the judges play a role and I was Simon (Cowell),” Chughtai said. “People really didn’t like me.”
During the fashion show walk, contestants are encouraged to wear their traditional garments. Chughtai said they have the option to perform a skit at the same time. There is a question and answer portion, where contestants are asked questions on subjects such as the perfect first date. The one who is named Mr. South Asian is given the traditional crown and sash. Last year, winners were also given a gift card, Chughtai said. Other prizes for this year have yet to be decided.
Chughtai said bringing people from different cultures together is the main purpose for the show.
“My whole purpose for this show was for it to be multicultural,” Chughtai said. “We have students from other cultures come in, see this show, and represent their countries.”
Mahmood said for contestants, the pageant allows students to be themselves.
“The show is pretty much you representing who you really are, and you’re putting yourself out there for everyone to see,” Mahmood said.
For anyone unsure about participating next year, Mahmood said his advice would be to let loose and not worry about winning or losing.
“If I give it all I could, I wouldn’t feel bad that I didn’t try,” Mahmood said. “It’s worth it. It’s really worth it, and it’s fun.”
There also could be a surprise at the end for attendees, Chughtai said.
The Mr. South Asian pageant will be held on Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. in the Commons Ballroom. The show is free to attend.