The five contestants of Mr. KSA, from left, Luis Caceras, '24; Michael Kim, '27; Nathan Cho, '26; Isaiah Sohn, '26; Sam Lin, '25, perform a group dance at the end of the show in Lamberton Hall on March 21, 2024. The Korean Student Association held the first Mr. KSA event including a trivia challenge and talent show. (Holly Fasching / B&W Staff)

Korean Student Association hosts first-ever Mr. KSA pageant


With diss-tracks and choreographed dances, the strutting of cowboys and firefighters and a spontaneous conga line — the first-ever Mr. KSA pageant filled Lamberton Hall with music, laughter and excitement on March 21. 

The event, hosted by Lehigh’s Korean Student Association (KSA), included five men competing in a pageant to determine the official Mr. KSA. 

KSA is a community for students passionate about Korean culture and heritage. They typically host community events like food tastings, games and workshops to share Korean traditions, and they welcome individuals from all backgrounds.

“Mr. KSA is all about bringing people together to just show off their personality and their charm,” KSA secretary Kylie Park, ‘25, said. “You don’t have to be Korean. We’re open to any culture, any background.” 

The five contestants — Isaiah Sohn, ‘26; Michael Kim, ‘27; Luis Caceres, ‘24; Sam Lin, ‘25; and Nathan Cho, ‘26 — battled through three different events to determine a winner. 

The first event was the fashion show, which consisted of themed uniform outfits. The men paraded as firefighters, cowboys, doctors, lifeguards and police officers.  

The fashion show was followed by trivia of different categories. Contestants tackled questions ranging from, “Which two teams played in this year’s Super Bowl?” to “Name the correct order in which the BTS members went to the army.” 

The final event was the talent show. With performances ranging from singing and intricate choreography to catchy diss tracks, the audience was awed by the performers. 

Lin’s marshmallow-eating therapy session sparked loud laughter, while a surprise group performance brought the entire audience together in a spontaneous conga line. Throughout all performances, the energy in the room was palpable. 

One of the emcees of the pageant, Pearl Lee, ‘24, talked about the sense of belonging found through KSA when she first arrived at Lehigh from Hawaii. 

“Back home, we have a very diverse melting pot of cultures, and I love that, but sometimes it’s hard to find something that really grounds you, and I feel like I’ve found that here through KSA,” Lee said. 

The event was open to all students, regardless of their background or heritage, as Lee said KSA emphasized that all students will always be warmly welcomed to partake in their festivities. 

Lee said the true objective of the pageant was not solely about crowning a victor, but instead about the collective participation and camaraderie shared among attendees. 

“The prize was 100 audience members’ hearts, and (the performers) poured their souls into it,” Lee said. 

As the time to announce the winner came, anticipation filled the air with the outcome hanging in the balance. 

Cho, also known as “Nacho” to his peers, came out on top as the victor, officially making him the first-ever “Mr. KSA.”

Dressed as a police officer, Cho commanded attention as he showcased his knowledge in the trivia event and performed “Standing Next to You” by Jungkook during the talent show portion, complete with backup dancers. 

While winning was a great addition to the experience, Cho said his joy stemmed not from the victory itself, but from the friendships created and camaraderie shared with his fellow contestants. 

“In a way, it was like a competition, but it felt more like a group performance,” Cho said. “We are all happy for each other, and in the end we all had fun.”

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