JAPAN – Midori Tanaka. With her pageboy bob, she is indeed a standout, and it’s not surprising she figured in the Top 36 of Beach Beauty and Top 20 of Top Model. But with the formidable likes of India, Kazakhstan, Korea, and the Philippines, it’s unlikely she’ll win the Continental Queen of Beauty for Asia & the Pacific.
KAZAKHSTAN – Zhanna Zhumaliyeva. Her Asian features are the striking exotic sort that would stand out in any crowd, and it’s no wonder she made the Top 20 in both Beach Beauty and Top Model. She reminds me of another Asian standout, Indonesian international recording artist Anggun. She also figured in the Top 11 of talent with her classic Russian-style wardrobe changing trick. She’s charming enough in her attempt to speak English in her video interview (her profile video was not in English).
KENYA -Susan Anyango. I think the judges interpreted her frowning expression during the Top Model fast-track as “model fierce” that she made the shortlist in the process. Me, well, I simply thought she probably smelled something she didn’t like. I suppose she also has an impressive project that made her among the first 10 announced for Beauty with a Purpose–I find it odd though that she didn’t join the other 9 first called on a photo call about the announcement and got a solo shot instead. Her features are just too plain and washed out for me–but I have this feeling some judges find it exotic and appealing.
KOREA -Kyung Min Doe. She started to sparkle like a K-Pop superstar when she set foot in London, exuding charm and charisma with a vibrant stage presence to make the Top 20 in both Beach Beauty and Top Model. She also speaks excellent English judging from both her profile and the judges’ interview. In the highlight video they prominently featured her tearful breakdown as she related the story of her parents’ divorce and the trajectory of her relationship with her father in the aftermath of that. A few pageant fans and pundits believe it weakened her cause but I have a feeling the opposite is the case, and she’s the prohibitive front-runner for the Continental Queen of Asia, in my reckoning.
KYRGYZSTAN – Nazira Nurzhanova. It’s an interesting compare-and-contrast scenario we are seeing between this country and Mongolia at this pageant and at Miss International. At Miss International, Mongolia fielded a cute ingenue while Kyrgyzstan fielded a mature-looking contestant. Here the opposite is the case. She didn’t figure in any fast-tracks, but in my reckoning she made a very positive impression. Yes, even if when she speaks her mouth opens in an uneven, Billy Idol-esque manner.
LATVIA – Alise Miškovska. She made Top 20 in Talent, part of the Group 3 winning team in Sports, and Top 30 in Beauty with a Purpose. There was a controversy over supposedly racy photos of her but it turns out that even if there were poses that could be interpreted as suggestive, no sensitive parts were exposed and she was in full bikini, so it was a non-issue. She’s a worthwhile contender and her interview is interesting as it’s athletically oriented as she discussed her background as a figure skater and having to stop competitive skating due to scoliosis but still working in the same field to teach other kids about the sport.
LEBANON – Yara Khoury-Mikhael. Yes, she’s good looking but unfortunately not a standout. But still, she’s a worthwhile contender, and hopefully her interview will help her garner good points to have inroads into the finals.
LIBERIA – Meenakshi Subramani. Surprisingly I actually find her good looking in photos. She had a malapropism in her interview as she mentioned Liberia has 3 “billion” people and was corrected by one of the judges. Her very Indian name came from the fact her father is an Indian from Chennai (and she studied in New Delhi) though her mother is Liberian. She made the Top 30 shortlist for Beauty with a Purpose.
LITHUANIA – Ieva Gervinskaité. She has a teenage girlish ingenue vibe about her though she’s already 21. But her interview does reveal a matter-of-fact woman who matches her biological age. She had the privilege of performing with her accordion at the Beauty with a Purpose/Family Party ball as she made Top 11 in the Talent fast-track.
MACEDONIA FYRO – Vesna Jakimovska. Here is another long-haired ingenue with long and thick jet-black tresses. She does make a positive impression physically and in her interview, though making the final cut would be an uphill battle.
MALAYSIA – Chloe Chen. Lookswise, she’s just simply plain and very far from a standout. But at least she made the Top 30 in Beauty with a Purpose and she is very articulate with a strong academic background.
MALTA – Claire Marie Busuttil. She is very pretty, one of the better representatives sent by this country. She may not have the best figure and the gown she wore for Top Model is not flattering, but she at least made the Top 20 shortlist for Talent and Top 30 for Beauty with a Purpose. Pageant fans and pundits may find her interview to be all over the place, but still she sounds pleasant.
MARTINIQUE – Axelle Perrier. She stands out with her Afro-bob, which she styles in several interesting ways–sometimes poofy like in some activities and in her judges’ interview, sometimes relaxed like in Beach Beauty and Top Model. Considering she placed Top 20 in both those fast-tracks with the relaxed look, it could be the way to go for her for the finals.
MAURITIUS – Joelle Nagapen. Here is a petite girl who made the Beach Beauty Top 36. She does have a nice, trim figure worthy of a placement in this fast-track.
MEXICO – Gabriela Palacio. She has one of the prettiest faces in this pageant. Though she gave a good go at Beach Beauty and Top Model, she fell short and she didn’t figure in any fast-track at all. Her interview underwhelms–this is one case where an interpreter is needed.
All images courtesy of Miss World, Ltd. unless otherwise indicated.
COMING UP: MOLDOVA to PHILIPPINES