Adrian Michałowski from Lubań is a model, lifeguard, swimming instructor and winner of the Manhunt Poland title, who in this year February represented Poland in the oldest male beauty contest in the world – Manhunt International and was promoted to TOP 16! In an interview for Imperium Miss – Empire of Miss, he talks about his memories of the competition, the attractions that awaited for him in the Philippines and the feelings that accompanied him before and during the grouping. He also reveals a hitherto unknown fact that may have contributed to his success!
Kamil Gużewski (K.G): Mabuhay! Six months ago, You took part in the Manhunt International pageant. You have returned from the Philippines with a promotion to the TOP 16 of this prestigious competition! Congratulations! How do you feel about this distinction?
Adrian Michałowski (A.M): Mabuhay 🙂 . I feel very pleased. Although I know the appetites were much greater. I will not hide that I myself was counting on promotion to the TOP 5 of the competition . However, joining the group of Poles with success makes me very happy. I have to make a point here. During the competition, there was a misunderstanding between me and the organizing team, which confused a lot. As far as I know, the matter was clarified in my favor, at the highest level, i.e. between Rosko Dickinson and Jarek Załęgowski. I cannot judge how much this could have influenced to the final result.
(K.G): You have experience in modeling, you are also well built and athletic. So, what was your main focus during the several months of preparations for Manhunt International?
(Adrian Michałowski while working in India, photo: Manhunt Poland)
(A.M): First of all, I must emphasize here, that for a long time I did not realize how serious role I was entrusted. I was looking for my life chances and agreed to run for the Manhunt Poland title. It’s just that I treated this fact mainly as a curiosity, fun. My goal during the preparations was more a modeling contract for which I went to Asia. I immediately jumped into deep water. But as they say, what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. The experience gained there later paid off during the participation in the Manhunt International pageant in the Philippines. Before the competition, I also spent a long time in the USA. To my dismay, the food there made that I gain weight. When I returned to Poland, it was time to finalize my participation in the competition. Effect? Photos where I saw a completely different Adrian than others expected. But I also expected to have a much more correct figure at the moment. Fortunately, there was still some time to go to the Philippines and I worked on this element. As for the wardrobe, my problem is always the fact that I am quite large. So, not everything could be adapted as finished products. It had to sew.
(K.G): A lot of people will think, that going to the Philippines is an easy trip. Just get on the plane and fly. But it doesn’t look like that at all? How look like the preparations for an intercontinental departure. And finally, how look like the flight itself?
(A.M): Oh, as for flying around the world, I have a lot of experience in it. Funny, because when I became the winner of Manhunt Poland 2019, I did not care about the long journey. Time passed. As I mentioned, then I had two very long trips. One to India, the other to the USA. However, when it was time to go to the competition, I admitted for Jarek that to my surprise, I felt nervous and adrenaline. Believe me, everything was really attended to in detail, and yet I forgot to take my belt of national costume. Therefore, during the photo shoot on the beach, my costume looked quite strange. After a joint consultation, this problem was covered up during the preselection. The flight itself was very ordinary. An interesting fact was that, before the competition I got in touch with guys from Greece and the Czech Republic (the organizer puts all participants on the contact group) who, as it turned out, were to travel on the same planes as me. So, all three of us flew to the Philippines and back. During the pageant, Nikos (Manhunt Greece) was also my roommate in hotel room.
(K.G): Exactly, it often happens that while traveling, candidates have the opportunity to meet their rivals. As I can see, this was also the case with your trip?
(A.M): As I have already mentioned, I traveled in a Polish-Greek-Czech team. As far as I know, the guys from previous editions had similar meetings “at the top”. With the emotional pressure that comes with traveling to a competition, it is really very beneficial to have someone with you, who has found yourself in the same situation.
(K.G): I am very interested in the question of accommodating candidates in rooms. Who decides, with who the candidate will live? And on the subject, with whom did you share the room during the grouping and how were your relations with your roommate?
(from the left: Yeray Hidalgo and Adrian Michałowski, photo: Manhunt Poland)
(A.M): I have the impression, that it is not who, but what decides who lives with whom during the grouping. Because in my edition, among others I was also accommodated with someone, who came to the pageant at the same time. As I said, I was traveling with Nikos from Greece and he became my roommate. How did we get along? Very good! We supported each one another. As the time was short and the schedule was very tight, it was not possible to get to know all the rivals more widely. I know that they called DJ Poland for me. And I called Socrates for Nikos. I liked him, but sometimes, in the confusion, I forgot his name. Though I will admit that most I became close to Yaray from Spain.
(K.G): During the second day of your stay, you visited the headquarters of one of the sponsors, the Rudy Project’s brand. During this visit, you won an award in a competition organized by this sponsor! Can you tell us what the competition was about and what was the award which you received?
(Adrian Michałowski with the sponsor’s prize, photo: Manhunt International / Facebook)
(A.M): This mini-competition was part of the main pageant. All Manhunt International participants were guests of the optics salon. This fact was used and each of us was tasked with presenting our modeling skills in order to advertise the sponsor’s products in the best possible way. The sponsorship jury selected some of us as the best. The best ones received material prizes and were announced laureates of a mini-competition.
(K.G): Is it true that during the grouping, there was an awkward situation that could have a negative impact on your image during the rest of the grouping? What was it about?
(A.M): Yes, that’s true. The situation was incomprehensible and awkward for me. You know, each delegate represents his country. If he has a sense of the importance of the task, he tries to show himself in the best possible way. It is part of Manhunt International that we were given a variety of free clothes. And is where this awkward situation arose. When trying on a T-shirt received from one of the pageant’s partners, I noticed that I cannot put it on because it is too small for me. After a short discussion, I thought that the topic was already explained. Meanwhile, Jarek Załęgowski connected with me and gave me the information that the sponsor was offended by my refusal and that the matter must be discussed. As a result, for one day, my perception by the competition environment was negative. As far as I know now, there was an conversation between the bosses of Manhunt International and Manhunt Poland. In the morning of the next day, without any emotional pressure, I got everything in the right size for me. We considered the matter to be finished.
(K.G): Do you like seafood? I am asking you because in Blackbeard’s Seafood Island restaurant, the participants could taste these specialties! Have you found something for yourself in the offer of this restaurant?
(A.M): While traveling around the world, I had eaten so many different dishes that I was not scared or surprised by the offer of this place. However, to be honest, it is not something that would be a priority in my culinary taste.
(K.G): Let’s stay on the topic of eating. My guess is that Filipino cuisine is very different from ours, Polish? What menu, apart from seafood, was prepared for the participants during the grouping? And how would you rate the served specialties?
(A.M): I was surprised the fact that rice is in so many dishes. I literally felt like I was in China. I really liked that the poultry items were served. For people on a diet, this is a great solution. Of course, there was also seafood. And everything would be fine, if not that rice was served with literally everything. We were inundated with him.
(Manhunt International participants during their visit in the restaurant, photo: Manhunt International/Facebook)
(K.G): One of the points of the Manhunt International grouping was the press presentation during which you appeared in swimsuit! What emotions did you experience during your public performance in such a skimpy outfit?
(Adrian Michałowski in a swimsuit, photo: Missosology)
(A.M): It was a real fashion show. Men’s swimsuits were definitely not what each of us would imagine. It was a combination of swimwear and art. The Philippines is an island nation, so it was full of fishing-related elements and a bit of being Robinson Crusoe. I know that my friends were surprised when they saw the pictures from this show. Whether it’s a plus or a minus, each of them knows best.
(K.G): Manhunt International grouping was short and intense, but there was time to have fun! You’ve spent a day at Canyon Cove Hotel & Spa! There are, among others outdoor swimming pool. What attractions did you manage to take advantage of during your stay in this place of entertainment?
(A.M): In our edition, this place was chosen as the backdrop for the session in national costumes. There were a lot of attractions there, but then each of us was probably more focused on preparing the costume and posing for photos and videos. They were then broadcast during the final gala. The weather was fantastic. Sunny, beautiful beach. You know, we posed individually, so the one, who had already done his „work” used the sunbathing in hotel facilities. It’s true, we were making some jokes back then.
(K.G): You could also visit Manila, the capital of the Philippines. How would you rate this city? What made the greatest impression on you?
(A.M): The city is incredibly contrasting. But what made the biggest impression on me? The fact that there was, I think that I can call it, a picnic in our honor. The President of the Manila metropolis gave a speech for us in the square. Around us, there was a crowd of Filipinos who watching the event.
(K.G): In several interviews that I have conducted, my interlocutors revealed that during competitions organized in Asia, they aroused great interest among the local population. And You, did you feel an interest in yourself among Filipinos? How did they react to the participants of the Manhunt International pageant?
(A.M): From what I was warned about the competition, Filipinos love this type of event. However, I was not prepared for such enthusiasm. This is nowhere to be found in Poland. Have I felt an interest on me? From the moment of the public announcement (as Manhunt Poland – editorial note), I came across the target of many people from Asia. They sent messages to me, added me to friends on social media. There were people, who literally waited for my arrival to Manila to greet me and they accompanied me wherever they could during the grouping. Though I felt it the most during the afterparty. What happened there … the crowds surrounding us and a great party. You literally forgot about the emotions and fatigue associated with the final gala, which ended moments earlier. We came back to the hotel exhausted but very pleased.
(K.G): Let’s go back to the national costume which you already mentioned. The national costume show is one of the highlights of the Manhunt International competition. Would you like to reveal what costume you presented to the world? Where did the idea for this costume come from and how did you feel in it?
(A.M): There is an interesting story related to the national costume. I was given a choice of two costumes. One of them was even an original and used in the production of one of the most famous tv series in Poland. The other one was a copy of the folk costume, just like that. I was tempted to take this “famous”, but after we discussed it, I fell on the “infamous” one. It was a folk costume, the so-called Krakowiak. I felt very comfortable in both. Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, it was out of emotion that I did not put into my suitcase the belt, which is a very important part of this folk costume. I figured it out a little late, so during the photo shoot in Manila, I improvised a bit. After a joint conference, on the preselection I already performed with belt. Other, but the effect was more positive in terms of image.
(Adrian Michałowski in the “Krakowiak” national costume, photo: Manhunt Poland / Facebook)
(K.G): Throughout the grouping, the last year’s winner Vicent Llorach from Spain accompanied for the candidates. How would you rate the winner of Manhunt International 2018?
(A.M): A very nice boy. In general, the Spaniards are probably like that, because eg Yeray, also a Spaniard, quickly became my best friend in the competition. During the grouping, in Wincent’s it was visible a „burden” of being Manhunt International, however, during the afterparty, as the former winner, he turned out to be a very cheerful and friendly man.
(K.G): Let’s move on to the final. Even though you are the winner of the Manhunt Poland title, it was probably the first such final in your career? How do you remember this event?
(A.M): This is probably the fact that the lack of the Manhunt Poland stage finale meant that I was not prepared for certain issues. It is not that care for me was neglected in Poland. The point is that without the final gala in Poland, I did not feel the seriousness that my role actually required. After the fact, I know, how big a mistake it was on my part. As for participating in the pageant in the Philippines, in general, I had no problems with adjusting because I speak fluently in several foreign languages. So what I had not instilled about the competition in Poland, I quickly made up for when I was in Manila. It is definitely an amazing adrenaline rush. You go out in public and you are judged by others people’s. Modeling is so “safe” that usually you pose there anonymously. Here, you do everything as Adrian or Manhunt Poland. Every success and every mistake is immediately added to your CV. Just before the final gala, the organizers chose a few of the participants. They were to publicly invite to the final gala via social media. This group also included me and Yeray from Spain, as representatives of the European continent. This time there was no presentation in national costumes at the final. I know that this, because before the competition I had talks with Jarek, Patryk – Manhunt Poland 2018 and Michał – Manhunt Poland 2012. In previous editions, the national costumes parade were part of the final galas.
(K.G): During the finals, you presented yourself on stage in everyday clothes (jeans and a T-shirt), swimming trunks and formal outfit. In Which of these shows did you feel most comfortable and why?
(A.M): Maybe it will be a surprise, but in a tuxedo show. I have the impression that I look very good in a tuxedo. Earlier, I already posed in it in wedding fashion sessions. I know that receiving me in this outfit is very beneficial, and I myself feel elegant and attractive in it.
(Adrian Michałowski during the Manhunt International 2019/2020 final, photos: Manhunt International/Facebook)
(K.G): From the interviews, which I conducted with your predecessors that in 2016 and 2017, I could conclude that the competition was won by candidates, who were not typed as winners. In last year it was similar. And what was it like with this year’s winner? Paul Lizneau was the favorite to win the Manhunt International title? How would you rate your colleague from the Netherlands?
(Paul Lizneau – Manhunt International 2019/2020, photo: Manhunt International)
(A.M): In my edition, for a long time the favorites were the Brazilian and my roommate from Greece. However, as it turned out during the grouping, it was clear that Paul was perfectly prepared for the competition. He had the best organizational resources of us Europeans. He also had excellent modeling experience. He was promoted a lot and we sensed that he might be one of the top-rated. As you can see, it earned him the title of Manhunt International.
(K.G): At the end of the interview, I will ask a traditional question: what did participation in the Manhunt International competition change in the life of Adrian Michałowski?
(A.M): As Adrian, I never planned to participate in this type of competition. My goal of this type was more to try myself as a model. I was found, I was offered as a candidate. Thought ok, why not. It’s always something unusual. However, when I became Manhunt Poland, I did not yet a feel this seriousness, this pressure. And therefore I don’t had special expectations either. I was very relaxed about it. I treated it as something extra to my daily life. Yes, I already noticed, that I had ceased to be anonymous Adrian. Only the day of my trip to the Philippines opened my eyes, which in I was so seriously involved. I do not hide that now I feel unsatisfied. I could have played it in a different style. But that’s it is what you gain thanks to participation in such an event. New friends from different countries. Becoming people associated more widely than just among the natives. Life experiences that I would never have known in Poland. Uprooted from your environment, you suddenly become the ambassador of the country and everyone judges you in every respect. Amazing school of life.
(K.G): In June, you handed over the baton to another model that will be the Manhunt Poland for the next year. What advice will you give your successor?
(A.M): Certainly, already here in Poland, he should be aware of the seriousness of his role. At the same time, let him enjoy being the Manhunt Poland. After all, we ourselves decide how the fate of each of us will develop after the competition. It depends on us how we then use our chances and opportunities.
(Adrian Michałowski during the photo session, photo: Milena Napierała)
PHOTO: Adrian Michałowski/Instagram