Jonny makes the Top 15!

After an intense training schedule and an 18 months wait to go to Mr World after winning the Mister Wales title in 2008, Jonny Rees, 25 from Swansea has just returned from his three week whirlwind trip to Seoul in Korea where he competed for the Mr World title. Below is a diary of his experience.

Mister Wales 2008I arrived at Incheon airport in Korea, with Mr England, Andreas Kattou, after more than 17 hours of travelling to be greeted by three cameras (one from Mister World and two from Korean news channels).  We were immediately given our first experience of the hectic time that was to be the next two and a half weeks.

After a 30-minute bus ride from the airport we arrived at The Golden Sky Resort in Incheon, which was to be our home for the duration of our stay. We were met by Mr World staff who gave us our room keys and told us to get changed and report to the ballroom for a welcome dinner with the mayor and all the other contestants.

Mister Wales 2008After a quick shower and change into my suit, I headed down to the welcome dinner. When I arrived at the ballroom there were cameras everywhere with news reporters speaking to contestants all over the place. I began introducing myself to the other contestants and trying to relax. One of the first guys I spoke to was Ron Wear from Canada who I hit it off with straight away and remained a friend throughout my time in Korea. We both agreed that this was the most surreal situation we had ever experienced but knew it was going to be awesome.

I was sharing my room with Alex Shirpey who was Mr Sweden.  He arrived just after the welcome dinner as had a later flight but seemed like a nice guy.  He spoke very good English, much to my delight, as I was dreading three weeks sharing with someone who didn’t speak much English.  We got on really well as we shared similar interests in sports.

Mister Wales 2008The first morning we had a welcome meeting with Mr World staff members who informed us of the type of things we would be doing during our time in Korea, such as  public appearances, sport challenges and visits to cultural and tourism places of interest.  The 74 finalists were then divided into 4 teams - Blue, Yellow, Black and Red. I was in the red team and we were given red team tracksuits which we were required to wear when competing in team events. We competed in a number of team sporting challenges such as, a fitness challenge - which my Red team won, a paint-balling challenge - which my team won and Tae Kwon Do challenge, which we also won. The Blue team won the 400m relay and the cooking challenge, and Mr Czech Rebublic won the Mr Sport award after winning a sprint race, but he is an ex-Olympic athlete!  The team events were awesome and my Red team had a great team spirit and we were excellent in the paint-balling challenge as we really worked together. It was an amazing event to win as we were all buzzing after it.

We took part in a fashion show with Korea's most famous designer Andre Kim, which was televised live in Korea and was great fun. The costumes were crazy and like nothing I had modelled before. My outfit was rather weird, it was a traditional royal suit but it looked more like a pumpkin on me!

We took part in a talent round which was won by Mr Korea who was amazing singer and certainly deserved to win.

Mister Wales 2008Apart from the sporting challenges, fashion show and talent round our normal days basically consisted of an early start with breakfast at 7am everyday. We would then leave the hotel at around 8.30am and travel to a public appearance or do some sight seeing for the morning, then after lunch we would generally do another public appearance/interview or some sight-seeing. We would arrive back at our hotel at about 5pm, have dinner and then rehearse for the live shows. The live shows were to consist of our opening entrance and final placings like the top 15, top 5 and the top 3.  We also were learning a dance to Alesha Dixons song 'The boy does nothing' and were divided into groups. I was put in Group one, which was made up of the best dancers and would be on stage for the whole duration of the song while the other groups came on and off. I was quite nervous about being on screen the whole time especially when I had never danced on a stage before especially on TV!  It was an amazing experience though and I really enjoyed learning a whole dance routine and practising it during the rehearsals.

Mister Wales 2008The days were very long and draining but I made some good friends in my team and we laughed from morning until night. I got on particularly well with Mr Sweden, South Africa, Swaziland and USA. They were top guys and we had so much fun together. I have some great memories that I will treasure forever.

By the time of the final show we had travelled all over Korea and stayed in many areas of the country including Muju, which was a ski resort and an amazingly beautiful area with some awesome views. All the contestants were really nice guys and we all got on well, but I made some friends for life and a few of us are planning a boys holiday in the summer, which would be amazing. I have friends all over the world now and plan to visit or meet up with some of them whenever I can. 

The final show was an amazing experience, and when they called my name out as being in the top 15 it was an amazing feeling.  I did not expect it at all as just being there was good enough for me.  I had done my best in everything we did and I guess they noticed that I had had fun and made the most of my time there. I really had the best time ever and certainly didn’t want to get on a plane back home and back to reality.  The experience is one that will be with me for the rest of my life.

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