Here He Is, Mister America

STEP 1: ANSWER THE CALL

Not all pageants are won in the swimsuit competition. Hill, in fact, never took the stage at all. He’s a 24-year-old part-time model from Plymouth, and his website caught the eye of Rafael Robert Delfin, the Milton-based pageant consultant who started Mister USA in 2006 because, well, he wanted to. The title was so new that it couldn’t attract contestants for a full-fledged pageant, so last year Delfin just handed the sash over to Hill. "I like to think of myself as an open-minded person," Hill says, "and it was a great opportunity for exposure."

STEP 2: STOW YOUR EGO

Hill wasn’t ashamed of his title, but he didn’t flaunt it, either. Who in Boston would take him seriously? (Answer: nobody.) The Mister USA sash required some travel, however, and in December he competed in Mister International in Malaysia. That’s when he discovered how good life could have been, if only he were a pageant king from another country. "They’re treated like B-list movie stars," Hill says. "The guy from Lebanon gets a house for the year." Hill’s roommate, Mister Brazil, flossed his teeth four times a day. He won the title.

STEP 3: DEFEND YOUR HONOR

Not everyone missed Hill’s Speedo-clad showing on Asian TV. His Plymouth buddies mocked him mercilessly, especially for the "national costume" portion of the show, when Hill dressed like Daniel Boone. (It was Delfin’s idea.) "Are you getting paid to go over to Malaysia and represent your country?" Hill would shoot back. "No, you’re not, so go back to your cubicle."

STEP 4: PASS THE TORCH

Even a pageant rookie can’t help but soak in some of the industry’s pomp. Hill judged the Miss Boston contest in June, and on 8/23 will choose his successor in the very first Mister USA competition, to be held at the Lenox Hotel. Hill says he will be looking mainly for "eloquence and the ability to be easy and open around other people." He adds, "Looks definitely aren’t the whole thing."