People think it’s all about being a fashionista, handsome, tall and a bonus of being dark. The perfect definition of a man who makes the ladies curtsy and have trouble sleeping at night. But that’s not what being a male pageant is all about.
A young man, whose aura speaks before him bears the definitions above as if the maker felt like he hadn’t blessed him enough as a boy child. More into what being a male pageant is about is what he will tell us today and what he will not say is already said through his actions ever since he was titled Mr. MMUST.
I’m talking about none other than Phil Abuto, the 2018/2019 Mr. MMUST. He is among the not so many men whose reputation precedes them. I could feel it when I shook his hand firmly when I finally met him for an interview.
I couldn’t help but notice his sense of style. A blue vintage shirt worn under a half coat, mountaineering a white pair of don’t-touch-his-toes trousers and a black pair of loafers. All of that capped by a face that is always chinned up with a haircut running from the crown of his head to the beards on the base of his jaw.
The icing on the cake was his manly smile that barely faded while he spoke and said:
Phil Abuto is a third year student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce majoring in Finance. I am from Siaya County. I’m an outgoing person and I love modelling and fashion.
What convinced you to contest for Mr. MMUST?
When I joined MMUST in first year, my friends kept on telling me that I should contest for the title. I was like, “How can I contest yet I’m new around here?” So I didn’t contest but I just watched everything.
One Saturday a friend called me to audition for the Western Fashion Week at Golf Hotel. That was my first time on the run way by the way. I passed the auditions, practiced for the fashion week and when the day came I was paid the highest since payment was according to how much you move the crowd with your fashion. There was where I met the Mr. & Miss. MMUST at the time and they asked me to join them in modelling in campus. So I contested for the title after I realized that I did have the potential.
What do you think it takes to be Mr. MMUST?
Being Mr. MMUST is not that hard since it doesn’t involve prominence in numbers. But it takes the person in you and without you.
Without means you have to have the height and body fit for modelling. And within means your character, your interests and your ability to relate with people.
And the responsibilities that come with being Mr. MMUST?
Unlike other positions in campus, this one is not governed by any written rules. Your responsibility is to the pageantry which calls for you to orchestrate projects that solve challenges in the society. It’s all about giving back to the society.
Are there privileges that come with being Mr. MMUST?
Yes, but not official privileges. One of them is being a celebrity.
Haha you just had to say.
(Laughing) Because it’s undeniable. In other words people get to know you and that opens doors for you even around offices in MMUST.
You also become an icon of the university any time MMUST wants to sell its name.
Then you also get a chance to represent MMUST in the Mr. University Kenya competition.
So Phil, how does it feel to be Mr. MMUST?
It’s really nice. Great in fact. But it takes a lot of sobriety, humility and patience to keep your image all the way.
Well, no wonder people dream of that title. Tell us about your achievements.
I together with Miss. MMUST formed the Modelling Club which wasn’t there before. It now gives a platform to upcoming models to practice. That means that the title requires working hand in hand with Mrs. MMUST though we’ll have individual projects as well.
In the course of that, I organized a team building activity for the models and invited the lecturer in charge of virtues to talk to them about service.
We introduced Mr. & Miss. Fresha.
I organized what we called the High fashion project which is an event that brings designers to showcase their work.
I also did street projects for the street children which mostly involves giving them food. Although one day I decided to make it even better. I figured it’s still not comfortable to eat while being dirty. So I paid for public bathrooms and we (my friends and I) provided water and soap for them to bathe. I had many of my friends donate clothes too.
That’s very generous of you.
Thank you. I said it has a lot to do with character.
Well, where there are achievements, challenges must be somewhere in between.
True. I’ll be lying if I said there were no challenges. One of them being finances in the area of projects. Since the title doesn’t fall under MMUSO, it’s hard to source for finances from the school for projects related to the pageantry. I hope in the coming student government, they will consider that and also allowances for Mr. & Miss. MMUST.
The other challenge is very high expectations from the comrades to always look and play the part. A major way to do that successfully is with stable finances.
And there’s no private life anymore.
I can only imagine and the way some of us love our privacy. Anyway, despite all that, what has always kept you motivated to uphold the title?
My people. The title calls for one to be outgoing. So that has earned me the trust of the students who in turn recognize me as their Mr. They have shown me love and support and that kept me going.
And I believe that’s what we call ‘comrades power.’
Yes you got that right.
Let’s loosen up abit, what’s the most peculiar thing that has ever happened to you in relation to your title.
I once met the Vice Chancellor in Golf Hotel and we had a conversation.
Very special indeed. Now, quick answer challenge, answer yes or no:
Have you ever used the advantage of your title to make a move on a lady?
Have you ever been broke while being Mr. MMUST?
Are you in a love relationship?
(After a short silence) Yes.
Have you ever been heartbroken?
True or false:
You have ever skived lectures.
You are currently the hottest guy in MMUST.
(Laughs) False. They say I am but I think there’re other more handsome guys who aren’t necessarily models.
Your favorite sport and sports club for that matter?
Rugby and I love our very own MMUST RFC.
Wow! How come yet you’re from Nyanza?
Well, what do I say?
What personally irritates you?
Injustice and corruption.
One thing you wouldn’t want your lady to lack?
What’s in today’s generation concerning the boy child that you would want to effect change if you could?
Boy child lacks mentors. I’d like to call for men who have had good experience in life to mentor the boy child.
In fact if I was to be the next Mr. MMUST, I’d organize an event to empower the boy child in MMUST because I also know some are really struggling with drug addiction.
In finishing, since you’re handing over your title, what’s next for you?
I still have Mr. University Kenya to push for considering MMUST has not been seen in the big leagues of pageantry.
Then the public demands that I go for the Presidency or Entertainment director. I have made up my mind about vying for the entertainment seat since I want to focus on talents in MMUST.
Now a word of advice for the incoming Mr. MMUST considering your experience.
Put the comrades first before himself since the biggest benefit that comes with the crown is from serving comrades. Uphold humility and self-respect even in the fame.
And a word for the comrades, your people.
Let’s be sober while electing our next leaders. MMUST deserves to roll higher than the way it is now and it can only be achieved through effective leaders.
That’s all. Thank you for your time, Phil. Cheers bro!
Karibu. Nimeshukuru sana pia.
Stay tuned for one on one with the outgoing Miss. MMUST, Tinah Wanjiku, next week!