Sometimes bad publicity, even if it is not true, can scar a person for life. The first Mr. World Philippines and first runner-up to the worldwide competition Andrew Wolff is not new to bad publicity. ''They knew I had a dodgy background, they knew about my roller coaster lifestyle. But I think Mr. World judges you for what you are now and not what you were before,'' he told me.
I never met the old Andrew Wolff but I did read about his past brawls, fights with his girlfriend, staying overnight at a Boracay precinct due to violent misdemeanors, even rumors that he was gay. But the Andrew Wolff I met was the total opposite of these nasty write-ups.
For one, he left London to live in the Philippines to be with his ex-girlfriend Gwen Garci. He was respectful, intelligent and carried himself with the essence of a true Mr. World winner.
''Mr. World is supposed to be the search for the most desirable man in the world. I wouldn't agree with that because I won second place. Hahaha!''
Wolff even has a good sense of humor. So why all these rumors that he doesn't deserve to be Mr. Philippines?
The Reluctant Candidate
Cory Quirino was only able to get the Mr. World franchise two weeks before the competition. She interviewed several eligible bachelors, including Wolff who left days after for Singapore with the Philippine Volcanoes to represent the country. When he came back, his manager Arnold Vegafria told him that he was chosen as Mr. World Philippines to represent our country.
With no more time for a formal competition - as the Mr. World finals was to commence in UK in three days, Wolff said, ''The only reason I accepted the title was because I wanted to see my mom who I haven't visited for four years. My brother and sister have not seen me for six years,'' he related.
But the road to becoming Mr. World Philippines was not easy.
''There were extreme sports challenges that required us to do the British military obstacle course and part of it was swimming in rivers at three degrees,'' he said.
''Sometimes I felt like giving up but Mr. World gave me a second chance in life and I was not about to blow that. I won the multi-media challenge wherein we were supposed to shoot and edit a 14-minute documentary and I chose the Canterbury Church, the birthplace of Christianity in the United Kingdom.''
So obviously, there's more to Mr. World than just a competition of looks; it requires brains and a lot of communication skills.
''There is no bikini portion at all and if there was one, then I wouldn't have a chance to win because all the contestants had chiseled bodies. It was not a beauty contest as well; [if it was] I would lose again because my competitors were extremely handsome and were popular athletes and celebrities in their respective countries. Your ranking in each category counts towards your being Mr. World. Luckily, I was always in the top four.''
There were several categories: sports, extreme sports, multimedia, fashion, talent and the formal interviews. After the final pageant, the reluctant candidate emerged as the second most desirable man on earth. Not bad for your resumé, Andrew.
''I was excited to come home and tell everyone the news. Moreover I was happy that Cory Quirino's decision to choose me as Mr. Philippines was vindicated,'' Wolff tells me.
When I asked him for his Christmas wish, he told me in all honesty, ''Everyone deserves a second chance. I hope that the Filipino fans can give me one as well just like the Mr. World franchise did.''
Giselle Sanchez is a stand-up comedienne in both English and Filipino, singer, TV and movie actress and a corporate events host. You can e-mail her at email@example.com. She will have a comedy concert at Ratskys Abu Dhabi on Dec. 28, 2012.