Framingham State students were the center of attention at SUAB’s Mr./Ms./Mx. FSU competition in DPAC on April 13.
The annual Mr. FSU competition was extended this year to include both a Ms. and a non-gendered Mx. title, opening the stage to any FSU student who wished to compete.
As a result of this change, there was no longer one winner, but instead a winner for each portion of the show – formal wear, talent and costume – and an overall winner.
The competition was hosted by Mr. FSU 2016, Brian Leonard, and Miss FSU 2016, Kathleen Schipelliti.
It was judged by Melinda Stoops, dean of students, David Baldwin, associate dean of students and Lorretta Holloway, vice president for enrollment and student development.
The 10 contestants began the night with the formal wear competition, during which they answered questions from both the hosts and the judges. Questions ranged from which Crayola crayon colors should be retired to what contestants would bring to a deserted island.
Junior Samantha Chandler, named the Best in Formal Wear and Q&A, sparkled with humor. When asked what kind of shoe she would be, Chandler replied, “I’d be a Louis Vuitton. I’m not sure why, but I’ve heard they’re very expensive and I would like to be valued like that one day.”
When asked by the judges, junior Ross Grenier said they hoped to become Mr. FSU as a way to find validation for their gender identity.
Grenier said, “While I am gender fluid and masculinity is part of my identity, it is not always prevalent. I want to prove not just to everyone, but mostly to myself that this is a part of who I am – that it is valid and it’s there and I can let it shine without being embarrassed or ashamed.”
The contestants were really given time to shine in the talent portion of the competition. Three contestants offered soulful vocal performances, while two more played instruments.
Senior JT Manozzi offered a highlight and contour makeup tutorial that had the audience in stitches.
Junior Kyle Rosa looked into his crystal ball for an audience member’s fortune, coming to the conclusion that they were looking at the next Mr. FSU.
Best in Talent winner Alejandra Torres read an original poem that focused on contemporary social issues. “Lift your finger off Snapchat, put your phone down and pay attention,” she began.
“Pay attention to the wars being fought all over us, pay attention to the thousands of bodies left from the disastrous bombings that happened in Iraq and Syria this Thursday,” Torres continued, going on to call attention to a variety of sobering situations across the world.
Torres said she was shocked to win the category. “I didn’t care if I won or not – I just wanted to take advantage of the platform I was given, and I wanted to spread a message. I wanted to say something that mattered. I was glad that my words were taken well,” she said.
Junior Jack Capello closed the talent portion with a well-executed split and a pink glitter beard.
The costume portion of the night was kicked off by junior Jake Nowlan, who danced on stage to Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” Nowlan was dressed like a dad in a pair of jean shorts, white sneakers and a stuffed, oversized T-shirt.
TV characters were popular. Manozzi dressed as Chip Skylark, a character from “The Fairly OddParents.” Chandler was a convincing Daphne from “Scooby Doo” in a red wig, even going so far as to have a costumed monster kidnap her off stage.
The real hit was Capello, who won Best in Costume. The audience was puzzled at first when his assistant brought out a box and covered it in a grey sheet, but when Capello came on stage wearing a pair of horns and posed atop the box to complete his costume as the ram statue in Crocker Grove, they broke into laughter.
Capello said he knew he wanted to be the ram statue as soon as he learned of the costume element of the show.
“My friends were skeptical about whether people would know what I was or not, and that got me a bit discouraged. The roaring applause when I went on stage really made the night something magical!” he said.
While the judges tallied the votes, hosts Leonard and Schipelliti treated the crowd to a rousing, FSU-themed rendition of “My Heart Will Go On,” changing the famous lyrics to “the crown will go on.” Many in the crowd raised up their phone lights in support.
When the judges came to their decision, Rosa was named Best Overall/Ram of the Year.
Rosa said, “I was genuinely shocked when they crowned me and honored to be a part of this experience. I’m thankful for all the support from my friends and family.”
He added, “I am so proud to be a part of this gender inclusive show and feel like it is great for campus to be progressive.”
Chandler took her Best of Formal Wear award with a grain of salt. She said, “Winning best formal and Q&A made me feel better than everyone else except for Kyle Rosa.”