We normally think of beauty pageants as a type of competition for women, but Mister Global is dispelling our preconceived notions. Founded in 2014, the event features male contestants from around the world as they highlight their cultural background, charitable spirit, and of course, good looks. The most talked-about segment of Mister Global is what’s known as the “National Costume” round—when the men have to wear their country’s traditional dress. Photographer David Ryo photographed the men for the 2019 edition. His striking series of portraits showcase spectacular ensembles featuring ornate beaded and feathered headdresses, handcrafted jewelry, oversized masks, and even musical instruments.
The Mister Global competition focuses on more than just aesthetics. Each contestant must give back in some way. For the 2019 competition, Mister Global added the motto of “Inspiring Gentlemen” because they believe that those involved in the competition should be role models who encourage and motivate others. The organization also promotes environmental awareness; this year, they completed a successful fundraising event to support a Thailand-based organization that takes care of elephants.
Jong Woo Kim, a 23-year-old police administration student and model, won the top prize. As Mister Global, he will become a Global Goodwill Ambassador and take on environmental and charitable projects.
Curious about the international competition? Scroll down to see the 38 men who participated in the 2019 Mister Global competition.
The Mister Global competition is a male beauty pageant that has a segment called “national costume” in which the men dress up in their country’s traditional dress.
Photographer David Ryo snapped the striking portraits of the contestants in their elaborate ensembles.