When approached by Beta Theta Pi's philanthropy chair to enter the Big Man on Campus pageant, Nick Smith had no idea he'd be crowned champion.
But the third-year finance, accounting and economics student did just that at Koger Center on Tuesday night, singing and strutting his way past six other contestants in Zeta Tau Alpha's first annual male pageant to raise money for breast cancer awareness. Judges graded contestants in four rounds of competition: casual wear, talent, formal wear and personality.
In the opening casual wear round, Smith introduced himself wearing a Carolina Panthers T-shirt and encouraged the audience to "keep pounding," echoing his favorite team's mantra. In the talent portion he performed an acoustic guitar rendition of "Trap Queen" by Fetty Wap to enthusiastic applause. When asked by the hosts for his favorite catchphrase in the personality round, Smith answered with "Legend - wait for it ... dary," that of Neil Patrick Harris' character Barney Stinson on CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother."
"I wasn't really sure what to expect from them, but they did a really good job," Smith said of Tuesday's event. "It was super official, went all out. I was really impressed with it. It was a good time."
Smith's crowning was hardly the evening's only highlight. Second-year advertising student Teddy Duffy took home the Mr. Philanthropy award for raising about $500. In the talent portion of the show, third-year mathematics student Dylan Myers re-enacted the famous dance scene from "Napoleon Dynamite," complete with a "Vote for Pedro" T-shirt.
But even more impressive than the contestants Tuesday night was Zeta Tau Alpha's fundraising goal of $40,610 — one dollar for each woman the National Cancer Institute estimates will lose her battle with breast cancer in 2017.
Zeta Tau Alpha philanthropy chair Natalie Werner, a second-year public relations student, said Tuesday night that she believes the desired dollar amount to be within reach.
"Our philanthropy is just the heart and soul of this sorority," Werner said. "It touches a lot of our lives personally, so we love doing anything with philanthropy."'