The latest winner of Zimbabwe’s Mr. Ugly pageant wants to live the dream of becoming a model and living a life of fame. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any takers on this idea.
William Masvinu, 38, who won the second edition of the pageant last month, makes his living carrying loads for shoppers in a market in the impoverished western Harare township of Mbare. The victory has made him a local celebrity, but the modeling offers he thought he’d be getting aren’t yet pouring in.
“I am ready to show the world my gift,” he said. “Being ugly is not a curse. It’s a gift God gave me and I’m proud of it. My face makes me special and I am not making any excuses about it.”
Organizers say they started the pageant as a novel way to entertain audiences. Zimbabwe already has a host of conventional beauty contests.
Masvinu beat four other men to land the title, $100 in cash and a night at a hotel. Masvinu said he cashed in the hotel voucher to buy food.
“It didn’t make sense to sleep in a nice hotel on an empty stomach,” he said.
Masvinu said he has long lived with being shunned, even by his own family.
“My mother died when I was three and no one wanted to take care of me or send me to school because of my looks,” he said.
Before he reached his teens, he was herding cattle in southern Zimbabwe. Masvinu said when he went out hunting for a regular job, it wasn’t easy.
While his female counterparts earn their living from lucrative endorsements by fashion designers, blue chip companies as well as advertising agencies, this is not the case with Masvinu whose instant fame has not brought him anything tangible apart from $100 prize money and free hotel accommodation.
You certainly can’t beat that.