John Spainhour's failed Mr. World 2014 mission. Who's to blame?
It is not in my nature to point fingers after a less than successful pageant performance is in question. Instead, I try to look at where our candidate may have fallen short and from there, use the learnings for the next representative to work on and hopefully build a better gameplan that will yield the desired results.
In the case of Mr. World Philippines 2014 John Spainhour, there are several points to consider and zeroing in on just the last-minute selection will only open the proverbial can of worms that should be dissected and sanitized with care and understanding.
Let’s start with the most obvious, of course – the extremely rushed preparations. For starters, both John and Sam Ajdani were presented to the media less than a day before departure for London. And during the same event at Glorietta 5 Atrium, it was a puzzle to everyone present why there were only two high profile guys in attendance. I, for one, had the understanding that at least a dozen potential winners will be judged by the Ayala Malls team plus the duo of Ms. Cory Quirino and Arnold Vegafria.
So when the announcement was made that John will be for Mr. World 2014 and Sam for Mr. World 2015, it was met with applause and approval but accompanied by an underlying sense of trepidation on my part. My fleeting sentiment was further bolstered after knowing that the former will already be flying to Torquay early morning the following day.
How can John – under reasonable human conditions – cover all bases of representation in just a fraction of a day’s worth? It could be possible that he was already hinted of being the chosen one a day or two prior (travel arrangements may have already started being processed then). But my hunch is that his plane ticket was only issued right after the selection, with his wardrobe selected and packed into the night. And in the morning of May 30, he boarded the flight that brought him to London, and Torquay eventually.
So given the whirlwind run of things, what and how much can we really expect from our rep? On top of his good looks, we pretty much relied on whatever past and present credentials he had to offer – the training with the US Marines and the professional modeling experience that should have served him well in the areas of Extreme Challenge and Fashion & Style. But did we ever consider his real personality and how it will adapt to the other important demands of the competition?
In Multimedia, for example, we gradually discovered John’s naturally shy and self-effacing qualities. To be fair, he did his best – given the limitations of his grown-up traits – to constantly update his fans and supporters. But then again, he never reached out to the point of online interaction on a more personal level. It’s like he preferred giving readers bullets of activities that instantly satisfied the visitors, but left them wanting for more. Kudos should be given for the tens of thousands of likes. But full credit goes to the fans for that.
And when it was time to do the strength-depleting tasks at Lympstone, it really didn’t dawn on us that his training with the US Marines happened many years back. Constant gym workouts would have helped the cause, but he himself admitted on his page that he only realized after the commando training how much he has ‘rusted’ and that he was just too happy to have made it to Top 10 before starting the decisive mudflat finale where he finished 8th.
When the actual finals show started last night, I was already clued on what fate awaited him. Exposure was very minimal and there was little display of him goofing/bonding with the rest. He looked mighty fine during the live broadcast. No question about that. But the judges must have gazed their eyes beyond the handsome face and searched for someone who offered more than skin-deep endowments. Keep in mind that the people running the production would also feed crucial feedbacks on how the candidates behaved and blended. John must have initially registered well, but somehow lacked the long-term spark and interest to step into the Mr. World shoes with effervescence and a heartfelt joie-de-vivre.
It's not fair comparing John and Andrew. They are two different characters with entirely different approaches made for the competition.
At this juncture, let us not compare him to his predecessor Andrew Wolff who had a relatively longer (even if that isn’t really saying much) prep time because he was appointed many days before being presented to the Press. He was also an active player with the Philippine Volcanoes at the time and he only needed to continue with the show of tiptop physical force that never left his body before, during and after all the challenges.
Some might ask, whatever happened to our much talked-about coaching and pageant trainings? Well, he never got that. Besides, we train ladies better. Aside from the lack of time, there really is no polishing fully dedicated for male international pageant participants in the first place.
So what have we really learned from the John Spainhour experience?
1. Preparation is the first key – physically, emotionally and mentally.
2. Personality coaching is the second key – there is no room for “take me as I am” when the external character shows a profile entirely different from pageant dictates and practices. Behavioral adjustments can be made without breaking out bad.
3. Perseverance is the third key. In pageants, you have to want it to win it. The strategy may not work for all, but that is exactly where the elements of good luck and destiny fall into place. John may have wanted to win or place at very least. But the efforts may not have been enough, especially in the eyes of those who mattered most.
Dear readers, please don’t take this loooong post – in any way – as a show of my displeasure with how John Spainhour handled the whole thing in Torquay. I love the guy to bits. Seriously. But if something significant can be squeezed out of all this, then his sacrificial lamb role should help groom our next Mr. World into a well-rounded candidate more justifiably deserving of the country’s first victory in the same. 🙂