On April 1, Junior Connor Curley was crowned “Mr. GQ 2016” at the school’s fourth annual male pageant and fundraiser, at which ten upperclassmen attempted to impress three judges and an audience of hundreds of students, staff and parents.
Curley competed for the title alongside Juniors Nick Valderrama, Chuck Tang and Brady Thompson and Seniors Anirvin Sikha, Trevor Sochocki, Yevin Lee, John Padilla, Mikey Reickerd and Mr. GQ 2015, Benjamin Lee. Before Masters of Ceremony Seniors Austin Adam and Athenna Crosby took the stage to welcome the audience, the event commenced with a choreographed dance routine featuring all ten contenders in tuxedos. Judges Kevin Tibbs, Math Department, Melissa La Joice, Drama Department and Candice Heath, Athletics Department, sat at the foot of the red-carpeted catwalk on which each contender then strutted down and back after being briefly introduced by the MC’s one by one.
“This was my first year doing GQ, and I have to say, it was totally amazing,” Heath said. “The guys were super funny and well put together.”
In the following portion of the pageant, each GQ contender showcased one of his talents—acts included Tang competing with Julie Montgomery, Math Department, in a math-themed game show hosted by Senior Deric Chang, Reickerd playing a medley pop hits including Drake’s “Hotline Bling” on saxophone, Sikha performing a standup comedy routine that poked fun at his Indian parentage and high school experience and Curley exhibiting his rollerskating finesse while donning a bedazzled blue tutu and onesie.
“It was just a great experience overall because it was with a bunch of guys who I was not used to hanging out with and that I otherwise would not have talked to before,” Curley said. “Through the three-hour practices on Tuesdays, I’ve bonded with them greatly. It was just an extra bonus to win.”
The “Celebrity Walk” segment saw each Mr. GQ nominee dressed up as a real-world or fictional celebrity based on “body type and aesthetic appearance.” Presidential nominee Donald Trump was portrayed by Sochocki, Y. Lee dressed up as rapper G-Eazy and Padilla impersonated pop artist Justin Bieber. During the following intermission, contestants stood outside the cafeteria with donation boxes, attempting to collect as much much money from patrons as they could—each dollar contributed to their adjudication score.
“It was fun to see everybody loosen up and see their talents and be supportive of each other,” Sophomore Ayushi Srivastava said.
In the lip-sync competition that kicked off the second half of the pageant, the nominees lip-synced to a diverse repertoire that included Valderrama performing Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up,” Thompson performing Harry Belafonte’s “Jump In The Line” and B. Lee lip-syncing to “Ain’t No Other Man” by Christina Aguilera . A question-and-answer session put each contender on the spot and was followed by a final runway walk in which each GQ candidate escorted his date down the catwalk.
The pageant came to a close as B. Lee and Sikha were pronounced the second runner-ups, Tang was named the first runner-up and Curley was crowned Mr. GQ 2016. According to Associated Student Body Advisor Meg Walsh, at least 350 tickets were sold.
“I’m so proud of all the kids from all the years,” Walsh said. “This started as just something that we heard about and we wanted to see if we could pull it off, and now we’re selling out before the doors even open. It’s fun to watch the kids learn about it through the years and put on a great event.”