The unique Mr. Ugly Zimbabwe 'beauty' pageant started in the small Zimbabwean town of Beitbridge in 2009, and has gained in popularity since. In 2012 the organizers made it a national event. Pageant organizer David Machowa has said that he began the contest to remove the stigma of ugliness. "Looks are God given. We should all be proud of who we are."
At the first national competition in 2012, there were just 5 competitors, which was up to 36 in 2015. There was controversy following the 2015 contest, when crowd favorite and reigning champion William Masvinu claimed that the winner Mison Sere was "too handsome" to win and his ugliness wasn't natural since it was based on missing teeth.
There are plans for a Mr. Ugly Africa and Mr. Ugly World pageant.
In the UK, there is a similar sport, Gurning, which is a competition for those who can pull the most grotesque face.