James “Kimo” Pascual is the new Mr. UM, beating out eight other contestants during the traditional Homecoming competition held at the Rat. Pascual said he participated on a whim and was still in shock when asked about his feelings after winning.
“I wanted to do something that I’ve never done before,” Pascual said. “This is so unexpected.”
Pascual, a senior majoring in biomedical engineering and sponsored by the Engineering Advisory Board [EAB], won a round-trip ticket to anywhere in the United States.
Pascual recalled the talent portion of the competition, inspired by Saturday Night Live and other comedy shows.
“My talent was a comedy musical skit with a bit of UM flavor,” Pascual said.
“I love giving my time to everyone, and I’m glad that the audience provided me with energy to do well,” Pascual said. “I was very nervous at first [during the talent round], but once I heard laughter in the first few minutes, I went with the crowd.”
“Mr. UM is a spoof on a pageant,” said Jason Starr, junior and member of the Homecoming Executive Committee. “Each organization can send representatives to go through a preliminary round to compete for a spot in the pageant.”
The Miami Hurricane interviewed some of the judges and asked them the qualities they were looking for in a potential Mr. UM.
Patty Swift, assistant director for budget and marketing at the Wellness Center, gave some of the criteria for choosing a winner.
“We were looking for originality, something a little different,” Swift said. “We wanted the whole package – someone relatively attractive with original thinking and talent.”
Erin Moyer, assistant director of admissions, thought the winner should be well-rounded.
“The winner should be pretty much the overall UM guy: spirited, fun, with a good sense of humor, and smart,” Moyer said. “Pascual didn’t take himself too seriously and I appreciated his good heart.”
Tricia Shatley, associate director for residence halls, said that Pascual represented all that the judges were looking for.
“He really drew the crowd to his performance with originality,” Shatley said. The different portions of the contest included talent, formal wear and a question session.
Talents included martial arts display, singing, dancing, magic tricks and a monologue.
Contestants ranged from a freshman to seniors, with representatives from several majors, including pre-pharmacy and architecture.
According to comedian Darren “D.S.” Sanders, who hosted the event, all of the contestants were good enough to have been named Mr. UM.
“We had nine winners,” Sanders said.
Overall, the event drew a positive response.
“It was really fun. I didn’t know what to expect,” Annalisa Cariveau, freshman, said. “There was lots of energy and really good contestants.”
For more information, contact the Homecoming Executive Committee at 305-284-6399.
Fizaa Dosani can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.