GIBRALTAR -Michelle Pedersen. She seems older in tight shots, that it might be best to shoot her with soft-focus lenses.
GREECE – Eleni Miariti. Her features and lanky figure are indeed perfect for fashion editorial modeling, though they are a like-it-or-hate-it proposition in the pageant world. After watching her intelligent, articulate, and sincere interview video, several pageant fans and pundits believe she deserves to make serious inroads into the semifinals despite the fact that she has not figured in any fast-track event. Did the judges see the same thing we did?
GUADELOUPE – Frédérique Grainville. Back when she represented Martinique at Miss Earth 2008, what she lacks in looks (she’s arguably the weakest representative to Miss Earth sent by that French overseas department) she seems to make up with a vivacious charm. It seems it’s more of the same for this pageant. She resembles “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 2 Top 12 finalist Ashlee Nino.
GUAM -Siera Robertson. She’s attractive but not a standout, and her interview is solid, highlight of which was when she talked about how many people in her generation are no longer speaking the original native tongue, Chamorro. Her slight, narrow-shouldered frame is her main drawback.
GUATEMALA – Lourdes Figueroa. She speaks good English and she made a great impression in interview. Her facial features may be an acquired taste as some (including myself) found them rather strong and more suited to a stereotypical telenovela villainess, compounded by the fact that she seemed older than her 23 years of age. But she made a major impression getting short-listed in three fast-tracks: Sports, Beauty with a Purpose, and Talent, where she shone with her flamenco dancing. In Sports, she earned a special distinction (along with Miss Bolivia) for haggis hurling as she’s the closest to hit the bull’s eye.
HONDURAS – Beatriz Ochoa. During the early events that were taken, I was impressed with her beauty that I thought she can bring forth the Honduran breakthrough. But she failed to figure in any of the fast-tracks, and her attempt to speak solely English in her interview led to some malapropisms like studing “International Relationships”. It’s not at the level of Caitlin Upton (“The Iraq…”) but perhaps this is one occasion where speaking in your native tongue would be more prudent.
HONG KONG CHINA – Hyman Chu. She’s brutally honest about the fact that she’s not a native of the country as she grew up in Toronto, Canada. We don’t expect her to make serious inroads into the finals.
HUNGARY – Linda Szunai. She has nice girl-next-door looks and exudes that vibe all throughout, including her sweet and charming interview. She made the Top 36 in Beach Beauty and Top 24 in the Sports fast-track.
ICELAND – Sigrún Eva Ármannsdóttir. She’s a classic glacial blonde Nordic beauty. But I have a quibble on her figure as her torso seemed disproportionately short for some odd reason and her shape is not close to the ideal hourglass. She at least landed in the Top 20 of the Talent fast-track.
INDIA – Kanishtha Dhankar. She is a quintessential Indian beauty queen, with the right mix of good looks, elegant presence, and superb communication skills (as exhibited in her video interview). She made the Top Model shortlist and was among the first 10 announced for Beauty with a Purpose. She could conceivably bring India back to the semifinals after Manasvi Mamgai’s miss last year.
INDONESIA – Astrid Ellena. She has a nice cute face and she has a very strong command of English (some instances of wrong subject-verb agreements but she is very clearly understood). Though I have quibbles about her figure, she could be a sleeper possibility for the finals–she made the Top 11 of the Talent fast-track with her piano skills and is one of the 10 first announced for Beauty with a Purpose.
IRELAND – Holly Carpenter. For many pageant fans and pundits (including myself), she should be the front-runner for the crown. But what is baffling is that she failed to figure in any of the fast-track events at all. Sure we can look to Miss World 2006 2nd runner-up Sabina Housseimi of Australia and Miss World 2007 1st runner-up Micaela Reis in terms of not making an impression on the fast-track events but still becoming very successful nevertheless. Hopefully the charm she exuded on her interview would help garner those crucial points to advance and succeed.
ISRAEL – Ella Ran. I’m baffled by her Top 36 Beach Beauty showing as I don’t find her figure beach beauty worthy at all. Were the judges distracted by her unruly mass of curls and assume that’s beach-worthy? She reminds me of 1970s-era Roger Daltrey.
ITALY – Tania Bambaci. With her striking facial features, stylish short hair, and lean figure, she clearly deserves her Top 20 placement in both Beach Beauty and Top Model. She also exudes a lot of charm making the effort to speak English (coherently though obviously accented–there was an interpreter standing by behind her but she didn’t seem to need her) in her interview.
JAMAICA – Danielle Crosskill. Seeing her stand side-by-side with Israel and Kazakhstan, I would’ve chosen her over Israel. Is it because she’s relatively short? Yes, we’ve seen stronger Jamaicans than this lady over the years, but she’s making a good impression nevertheless, in my reckoning. She is part of the winning Group 3 in the Sports fast-track.
All images courtesy of Miss World, Ltd. unless otherwise indicated.
COMING UP: JAPAN to MEXICO