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Mr. Bellaire 2018

courtesy of Bellaire High School

courtesy of Bellaire High School

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Edit: Mr. Bellaire is now on Thursday, Jan. 18 at 6:30 p.m.

This video was taken before the pageant. The article was written after the event.

Weeks before the pageant, senior Jadon Cooper knew he would win Mr. Bellaire. It was not perfection of his talent, nor confidence in his good looks; it was the howl of an electronic synthesizer that gave it away.

“I was listening to a playlist of the band Catfish and the Bottlemen,” Cooper said. “The song ‘Fallout’ was playing, and it fades nicely into ‘Kathleen’. I thought, ‘Universe, if ‘Kathleen’ comes on next, I’m going to win Mr. Bellaire.’ And then it did! I texted some of my friends about what had happened, and they said that I was definitely going to win.”

Mr. Bellaire was a male beauty and talent pageant and a school tradition. The profits raised money for after-prom, and the contestants raised spirits with costumes and talents. On Jan. 18, 17 contestants and their escorts graced the auditorium stage in front of a crowd of their classmates. The winner of this competition, titled Mr. Bellaire 2018, was judged for his personality throughout the pageant, his talent act and his response to a presented question. Cooper was this year’s winner.

At the beginning of the event, contestants were introduced as they walked out in costumes. Cooper and his escort, Alexandra Ramirez, initially planned to be Popeye and Olive Oyl from the comic book series ‘Popeye’. The week before Mr. Bellaire, the couple realized that seniors Geoffrey Zimmerman and Olivia Wehrung had the same costume, but Cooper knew that the show had to go on.

“Ms. Berger texted us and told us that she and her husband had a lot of costumes because they really like Halloween,” Cooper said. “She brought some for us to try, and we saw the 70’s costume. We were really excited about it because we thought it was going to be a really cute thing. I’m also an impulse buyer. A while ago, I saw this blonde wig on Amazon, and I decided that I needed it. I was originally going to give it to Alex, but five minutes before we went on, I said, ‘Wait a minute, what if we switched our wigs?’ We did, and it turned out to be even funnier than it was originally.”

He had already made an impression, but when Cooper walked onstage for his act, a hush fell over the room. It was not until after he had situated his right leg comfortably behind his head and begun to play his flute that the crowd regained its spirits. This audience, like his original audience six years ago, was laughed at and was impressed by Cooper’s flexibility and musical ability.

“The scene was Dance Nationals, seventh grade,” Cooper said. “In middle school, I was in both band and dance, so I was always trying to do both. I had a band competition the next week, so I was trying to practice while I stretched before my dance performance. I tried playing the flute while on the ground with my legs in a V and touching my toes, but I just couldn’t do that because then my body was on the ground, and that just doesn’t work well with playing the flute. What does work well is putting your legs behind your head.”

Cooper’s experiences from middle school carried over to Mr. Bellaire in more ways than one. His background in dance meant that his performance in the group dance to ‘Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’’ from Disney’s ‘Teen Beach Movie’ was emotional and enthusiastic.

“In middle school, my dance teacher would always make it so that the guys would always be chasing after the girls, and the girls would always reject them playfully,” Cooper said. “I just sort of fell into that same thing with this dance. When I was dancing, I was constantly like, ‘Hey, I’m going to get with that girl.’ When she pushed me away, I was very dramatic about it. Thanks, Mr. B!”

On top of winning the pageant itself, Cooper also won the competition for Best Eyes. Though he had expected to win Best Smile instead, Best Eyes, and its complimentary sunglasses, were a pleasant surprise. He noted that his long eyelashes and neatly trimmed brows were probably the reason for his success.

“I told all my friends that usually the guy with brown eyes never wins,” Cooper said. “Even though I think I have nice eyes, I knew there were other guys who had nice, pretty, clear blue eyes, so I wasn’t really sure about winning Best Eyes.”

Cooper’s uplifting attitude and involvement in the school made him the perfect Mr. Bellaire, according to his response to the judges’ question about what characteristics he would look for in Mr. Bellaire.

Mr. Bellaire should be someone who embodies the spirit of Bellaire,” Cooper said. “Someone who was multifaceted and not just involved in one activity. Someone who did multiple things, like sports and arts and dance and politics and academics, because that is what Bellaire is about.”

Cooper, with his talents in dance, music, art and academics, certainly met those criteria.

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