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23 November 2015
Crowd riots at Mr. Ugly contest
HARARE, Zimbabwe — Pageant judges have crowned a new winner of Zimbabwe’s fourth annual Mister Ugly contest, upsetting supporters of the crowd favourite and prompting rioting at the event.
Judges chose 42-year-old Mison Sere, citing his numerous missing front teeth and a wide range of grotesque facial expressions, over William Masvinu, who had held the title since 2012.
“Do we have to lose our teeth to win?”
Masvinu and his supporters mobbed the judges Saturday upon hearing their decision, claiming that Sere was “too handsome” to win and his ugliness wasn’t natural since it was based on missing teeth.
“I am naturally ugly. He is not. He is ugly only when he opens his mouth,” Masvinu said, gesturing at his rival.
“Do we have to lose our teeth to win? This is cheating,” shouted another contestant, Patrick Mupereki.
While no one was injured, there was a great deal of pushing and shoving as the results were announced and insults were hurled at the judges.
Contestants stand on stage, during the 2015 edition of the Mr Ugly competition, in Harare, Saturday, Nov. 21.2015.
Beauty pageants are popular in this southern African country and even though they are typically for women, scandal is not unusual. This year, Miss Zimbabwe winner Emily Kachote faced a backlash on social media, with Zimbabweans calling her ugly and undeserving of the crown.
She was later forced to step down when, just two weeks into her reign, images surfaced of her posing nude — which incidentally also brought down her predecessor.
Sere dismissed the critics as just “sore losers” as he pocketed the $500 in winnings.
“They should just accept that I am uglier than them,” he said. “I hope to get a TV contract. I already moved around schools performing and showcasing my ugliness so this is a chance to make it on TV.”
Mison Sere reacts, top, after winning the 2015 edition of the Mr Ugly competition
The complaints of Masvinu and the other contestants may have a degree of validity. Organizers had previously announced that disabilities or enhancements would not be accepted in the competition which should focus on “natural ugliness.”
Pageant organizer David Machowa told the Associated Press that he began the contest to remove the stigma of ugliness. “Looks are God given. We should all be proud of who we are.”
The pageant involved three rounds of modelling, with individual and group struts down a catwalk of a Harare nightclub.
“They should just accept that I am uglier than them.”
This year’s competition attracted a record number of 36 entries.