Mr. Whitman candidates aim for fun, philanthropy

C.J. Wisler

Credit: Bullion
David Protter '10 (left) and Russ Caditz-Peck '10 (right) rehearse the dance routine that contestants will perform together at the beginning of the competition. Credit: Bullion

The annual male beauty pageant, Mr. Whitman, will take place Friday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. in Cordiner Hall. The event offers a few new surprises this year, according to Kappa Kappa Gamma Philanthropy Chair, and one of the event’s organizers, junior Leah Wheeler.

“This year’s theme is Superheroes, a kind of save the day, save the world type theme, and the group dance will feature personalized costumes, including tights and capes,” said Wheeler. “They’re going to look fabulous.”

The Mr. Whitman pageant is a philanthropic event put together by the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, offering students a chance to support KKG’s selected charity, Salud Juntos, as well as promising sheer entertainment and laughter.

The eight contestants consist of four independent men and one man from each of Whitman’s four fraternities.

This year’s judging panel, usually filled by professors, boasts some bigger-than-usual names on campus, including President George Bridges and Associate Dean of Students Barbara Maxwell.

“Since some of our usual judges are busy or on sabbatical, we decided to try a new group of people. We’ve always invited George Bridges, but this is the first year he has accepted,” said Wheeler.

There will also be a “special recognition” of George Bridges by one of the contestants this year.

“It will feature a freestyle rap to Lonely Islands’ ‘Like A Boss,'” said Wheeler.

Tickets can be bought in Reid Campus Center every weekday at lunch for $5, or $8 at the door.

RUSS CADITZ-PECK:

Senior Russ Caditz-Peck, representing Beta Theta Pi, jokes with fellow Mr. Whitman contestant Graham Brewer about his “impending victory.”

“I think I’ll win because of my superior hygiene,” said Caditz-Peck. “I think that will carry me though.”

Between Caditz-Peck’s dance moves and delicious sarcasm, he’s one of sophomore KKG member Abigail Neel’s favorites to watch.

“He just gets so into it,” said Neel. “He’s too funny.”

Regarding the special talents he will exhibit during the competition’s talent section, he refused to disclose details, even to the point of threats.

“If I told you, I would have to kill you,” said Caditz-Peck. “However, you will cry, you will smile and you will shake with joy.”

GRAHAM BREWER:

Bantering with Russ Caditz-Peck, Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) representative Graham Brewer asserted that being in Mr. Whitman was not his choice.

“I was sort of forced into it,” said Brewer jokingly.

When asked why, of all the many TKE members willing to participate, he was selected, he seemed playfully uncertain.

“They probably selected me because . . . well, TKE’s symbol is a triangle, and when you apply pressure to the triangle it gets stronger. So I think this is a challenge to make me a stronger TKE member.”

According to Brewer, he believes he will win the beauty pageant because of his “superior grace and poise.”

ALEX KERR:

As an independent, Alex Kerr revealed that the selection process was a little bit different than simple voting.

“We had a foot race,” said Kerr jokingly. “I lost, so I was picked.”

When asked why he should win, Kerr had a fairly simple answer.

“I don’t [think I should],” said Kerr. “I think Graham Tobin has been raising a mountain of cash and deserves it.”

Kerr has helped raise money for the charity organization with the help of improv team Varsity Nordic, of which he is a member.

Kerr’s special talent, he stated, is “speaking.” A man of few, though humorous, words, Kerr offers a mysterious, quirky quality to the already hilarious pageant.

ADAM CANIPAROLI:

A self-proclaimed “lover of attention,” independent contestant Adam Caniparoli believes he has a winning edge for a few reasons.

“I can dance better than [the other contestants],” said Caniparoli. “And . . . I’m more charming.”

Although just as secretive as other contestants about his special talent for the show, Caniparoli stated that he believes he will offer “a tower of pure sexual attraction,” joking that  “audience members will throw their undergarments on stage.”

Caniparoli became interested in competing because of the contestants from previous years’ pageants.

“The former contestants were people I always looked up to,” said Caniparoli. “It was flattering that [the selection committee] considered me because I’ve never considered myself one of those popular people before.”

Caniparoli continues to fundraise for the pageant through his Lullaby Telegram service, in which students can rent members of his a cappella group, Schwa, to sing for a small fee.

GRAHAM TOBEN

Junior Graham Toben is a member of Sigma Chi and also belongs to male acapella group the Testostertones. He first heard about the Mr. Whitman pageant through last year’s winner, ’09 alumnus Kaston Griffin, who was also a T-Tones member. However, Toben clarified that he will not actually sing as part of the competition.

“I was thinking about singing,” he said. Toben then decided he needed to devise a more comical act.

“I’m not going to try to do anything really sweet, I’m going to try to be as goofy as possible, but who knows: plans could always change,” he said.

Toben remained enigmatic when asked about his talent act.

“All I can say is that there will be a George Bridges impersonation,” he said.

He revealed a little more about the lengthy preparation for swimsuit modeling.

“It’s real tough, and of course I’m just going to be going downtown and getting a spray-tan, oiling myself up . . . working out has been a pretty tough thing for the whole swimsuit competition,” he said, before breaking into a laugh. “No, no, it’s been fun.”

And his swimsuit?

“To be decided! I have definitely toyed with a little Borat costume or something like that, but I am not adverse to showing skin, so we’ll see what happens,” he said.

MATT SOLOMON

Senior Matt Solomon feels strongly about supporting the charitable aspect of the Mr. Whitman competition, and says he is also excited to reunite with old friends: six of the eight contestants shared a section in Two West during their first year. According to Solomon, the camaraderie between the contestants strengthens the pageant.

“They’re all really funny guys, it’s going to make for a good show: I think, one of the better shows of the past several years. And because we all know each other so well, it’s not so much in a competitive spirit, but more of a communal sense of fun,” Solomon said.

He grew secretive, however, when asked if he could reveal any details about his act.

“I could, but then, I’d have to kill you,” he said seriously. “It’s top secret. My agent wouldn’t be very happy with me.”

Relenting a bit, Solomon offered cryptic tidbits of insight into his performance.

“I’m definitely going for the approach of comedy, kind of mocking the situation: I think those make for the funnier acts. It’s kind of off the beaten path of a beauty pageant. What I’m doing for my swimsuit I could have done for my talent also: it involves a dance. Once I figured it out, the costume was easy, because it goes along with what I’m doing. It’s not a typical swimsuit,” he said mysteriously.

DAVID PROTTER

Senior and former swimmer David Protter might not be as fast as olympic champion Michael Phelps in the water, but he’s certainly slippery when questioned abut his planned act for Mr. Whitman.

On the subject of choosing the perfect swimsuit, he evoked his former athletic career, saying, “I was a swimmer in high school, and I played water polo, so that made it pretty easy.”

A speedo?

“I’m going . . . the water polo route,” Protter said evasively. “Yeah, a speedo.”

He produced a description of both his own mysterious act and the group dance.

“There will be music . . . and at times there will be dancing . . . and friends. Lots of friends. Happy people onstage,” he said whimsically.

While he admitted that there are challenges in the time commitment for rehearsals and fundraising, and a bit of nervousness regarding his talent act, he is enthused about the pageant and the creativity of the contestants.

“Everyone should go!” he concluded.

NADIM DAMLUJI

Senior and ASWC President Nadim Damluji is perhaps the busiest Mr. Whitman candidate. He spoke candidly over his upcoming act, and how it will center around this very theme.

“I’m basing it on a joke that I don’t really have time to do Mr. Whitman, so I’m outsourcing it to my more talented friends,” Damluji laughed. “The idea is to have my friends do my talents and dress like me. It will look like me, but it’s not me. It may be six [people] or something like that. It will range from a friend who can do some magic tricks, to musical talents, to theater stuff.”

He is also outsourcing the job of swimsuit model to a friend, but will be appearing with the other contestants in the group dance, and says rehearsals are going “swimmingly.”

Damluji is one of the six candidates who shared a first year section in Two West, and spoke warmly over the group’s closeness.

“It’s funny to see how different we are, but how we still like to have the same amount of fun as we did back then, and just hang out. A lot of the time in between dancing has been spent reminiscing,” he said.