Models John Spainhour (left) and Sam Ajdani flank Cory Quirino, head of Mister World Philippines search.

MANILA — A former U.S. Marine who fought in Iraq for eight months is the Philippines’ representative to this year’s Mister World pageant, which will gather 60 international candidates in England on June 15.

Fil-Am model John Spainhour, 26, was presented last Thursday as Mister World Philippines 2014, along with Mister World Philippines 2015 Sam Ajdani.

They were selected by national license holder Cory Quirino and ALV Productions head Arnold Vegafria.

Both endorsers of Bench, Spainhour and Ajdani’s respective bids in Mister World are backed by the local clothing line, as well as Ayala Malls.

Spainhour, who specialized in marksmanship and close-quarters combat during his stint in the military, considers his background as an advantage in Mister World.

Established in 1996 as the official male counterpart of the more popular Miss World, Mister World includes extreme sports challenges and commonly draws professional athletes as competitors.

Filipino-British model Andrew Wolff, who finished 1st runner-up in Mister World 2012, for instance, was a member of the Philippine rugby team when he joined the pageant.

Spainhour expressed confidence that he can prepare adequately for the pageant, even with only two weeks before the finals night.

He admitted, however, that there are still some things he needs to improve on, including public speaking.

“I still get nervous doing certain things like speaking in front of crowds and I’ve always been self-conscious about my performance, so of course that’s the biggest thing I’ll be facing,” he said.

As to how he will promote the Philippines to an audience of 60 countries, Spainhour said he will highlight the hospitality of his countrymen.