Mr. and Ms. Penn proved that Ivy League students can have bulk and brains.
Around 20 male and female Penn students showed off their bodies at the Annenberg Center’s Zellerbach Theatre Monday night, competing for the title of Mr. and Ms. Penn and a trophy. This year, the bodybuilding competition was hosted by women’s track and field coach Tony Tenisci.
When the first line of tanned and oiled competitors stepped on stage, they were met with many cheers and “oohs” from the crowd. One competitor in a bright speedo was met with cheers of “Blue is your color!”
As the competitors quarter-turned and flexed in poses like the “side chest,” showing off their muscles in Spandex clothing, the sounds of appreciation increased.
This year’s Mr. Penn, School of Arts and Sciences student David Lewis, hails from Oxford, England and appeared on stage with the Union Jack draped around his shoulders, tanning oil dripping from his chest.
This was Lewis’ first bodybuilding competition. Though he is in the habit of participating in various power sports, he has never done anything in the form of an aesthetic competition. When asked what his friends and family think of his participating in Mr. Penn, he said “they think it’s hilarious.”
Lewis also won best male choreography.
This was a fifth win for this year’s Ms. Penn, Perelman School of Medicine pharmacology doctoral candidate Jesse Carlin. She said that this will be her last year competing. Carlin runs track and field, and said she considers the competition a chance for a “celebration dance” to exhibit her accomplishments as an athlete. She admires the “strong female look” and is “proud of her body,” she said.
To get ready, she spent the weeks leading to the competition dieting and training. This year, Lewis put in “extra effort” for her last run. She says she consumes “lots of Red Bull and chocolate” to get pumped for the competition. Lewis also says her friends and family find her hobby a “little strange” but are proud and excited by her wins.
Besides the overall Ms. and Mr. Penn winners, each class also crowned a victor. The first winner was Engineering senior Omari Maxwell, in the men’s short class. His act consisted of posing to the Pokémon theme song. College senior Gabrielle Piper was champion in the women’s tall class.
Carlin represented the women’s short class, and Lewis won the men’s tall class.
Tenisci dedicated the event to Madison Holleran in his introductory speech.
He also encouraged the audience to compete in next year’s competition. “Find the truth of your body – I challenge you,” he said.