MONTENEGRO – Nikolina Lončar. In last year’s Miss Universe pageant, she won Miss Congeniality. That factor seems to be reflected well in her introduction video, as she exudes a refreshingly effervescent charm (though she also expressed some pretty lofty ambitions as she declared she wants to become president of her country). She failed to place in any of the challenge events so far, so I just hope she made the right impression in her panel interview.
NEPAL – Shristi Shrestha. Her studio photos made several pageant fans and pundits salivate that she’s the best ever representative fielded by this country. Though there were candid pictures where I didn’t quite see the hype, as the events wore on I finally got to see what the buzz was all about. When she projects her best she exudes a fusion of Miss World 1994 (and Queen of Bollywood) Aishwarya Rai and “The First Supermodel” Janice Dickinson. Though she failed to figure in the Top Model challenge event, she caused a sensation during that evening wearing an elegant low-cut cleavage-baring black gown as part of the audience for the event. But she made a major splash in the one event she qualified for–she made Top 10 in Beach Fashion. Some pageant fans and pundits want her to win it all, but I have a feeling that a Top 15 or Top 30 placement would be major achievement enough.
NETHERLANDS – Nathalie Den Dekker. She’s a grizzled veteran of lesser international pageants, and she is making a strong impression that she conveivably could make it to the Top 30. She made the cut in the Beach Fashion and Sportswoman events, and she’s a balanced mix of attractiveness and personality that it is likely she would make a positive impression with the all-important judging panel. Her weakest point is her gaudy frock that she sported for the Dress Designer event.
NEW ZEALAND – Collette Kelly Lochore. She’s a willowy pale and delicate brunette who seems to have good communication skills and a charitable personality. She has not been shortlisted in any challenge event so her best prospects is that she made a great impression in the all-important panel interview.
NICARAGUA – Lauren Lawson. She looked good in most images taken of her except for one–her introduction video. Though her intelligence shone through that video, she seemed to have severe eyebags during the shoot. Another lady who failed to figure in any challenge event, she probably belongs to the P.A.T.I.S. club.
NIGERIA – Damiete Charles-Granville. Earlier in the game, the Continental title for Africa seems to be a free-for-all with pageant fans and pundits raving about one girl one day and another one the next. But as the challenge events unfold, it seems to now be a showdown between this lady and South Sudan. It’s a good thing this good looking lady was chosen instead of the original representative (who turned out to be over-aged for this pageant), though I’m not a fan of her weave and felt she could’ve been styled better. Still, she made the cut in both looks-oriented challenge events and made the Top 10 in Beach Fashion.
NORTHERN IRELAND – Tiffany Brien. Her features made me recall somebody, but the name escaped my head at this point. She is undeniably attractive and made a major splash in both Sportswoman and Beach Fashion, being part of the winning shuttle run team and placing third in the long jump in the former and making it all the way to the Top 10 in the latter. A Top 30 placement seems definitely in the cards for her.
NORWAY – Karoline Olsen. She seems to be a bit less than polished but she does have a pretty face. But her standout feature is her huge mass of red hair–she made me recall the protagonist of Disney Pixar’s recent film Brave, Princess Merida. But the main highlight is that she placed in the Top Five in the Performing Talent event with her singing, as embedded below (though you’ll have to scour through Denmark’s dancing first before you get to see her performance; also, watch out for Kazakhstan’s dancing after her number).
PANAMA – Maricely Gonzalez. She does have merits as she’s good-looking enough and articulate and personable enough. But her main highlight is that she figured in the Top Five in the Performing Talent event. Actually I found her singing a bit “pitchy”, but I suppose the standout factor was that she performed the song “Colors of the Wind” (from the Disney film Pocahontas) bilingually in English and Spanish.
PARAGUAY – Fiorella Migliore. On paper she seemed poised to outperform Nicole Huber as she seemed to be the perfect “medium rare” steak that Miss World tends to favor. She made a positive impression in her introduction video, and was shortlisted in both Sportswoman and Performing Talent just like her predecessor. And then, nothing is heard or buzzed about her since then. It didn’t help that later photos seemed to unflatteringly show a faded-out and drained-out lady. Where was the spark that helped her win Italia Nel Mondo four years ago?
PERU – Giuliana Zevallos. We have to hand it to this Miss Earth and Miss Universe veteran–she is definitely polished. But unfortunately she only figured in one challenge event–the Dress Designer award. Her best prospect is a respectable placement, at best.
PHILIPPINES – Queneerich Rehman. Though I like her better than last year’s Miss World 1st runner-up, I know it will be a major challenge for her to duplicate Gwendoline Ruais’s phenomenal placement. Still, she did our country proud by not simply figuring in both Beach Fashion and Top Model, but causing a major sensation with her unique beatboxing talent–the video of her performance went viral and the web media waxed rapturously over it. It is recently disclosed that she’s also shortlisted for Designer Dress–deservingly so with the elegant and intricately embroidered red Michael Cinco number (it was the best designer dress of them all, if you ask me)–so I think we can rest a little easy as she’s likely to make the Top 15. She is on track of even going all the way to the Top Seven, but I’m already perfectly content if she made Top 15 (or Top 30 for that matter, but I know she’ll fare better than that).
POLAND – Weronika Szmajdzińska. She exudes the glamorously sexy Slavic ingenue vibe that we last saw 11 years ago with former Yugoslavian semifinalist Tijana Stajsic. With such qualities it is no surprise she was shortlisted in Beach Fashion and Top Model, making all the way to the Top 10 in the latter. I think with the charm she exuded in her introduction video it is likely she has an inside track to the Top 15.
PORTUGAL – Melanie Vicente. She’s a high quality delegate, great looking and exuding abundant charm in her introduction video. She’s also a polished presence in photos taken of her in various events. I’m not surprised she figured in the Top 40 of Beach Fashion, but she shone the best in the “homely” Sportswoman event, winning first place in the swimming portion.
COMING UP: PUERTO RICO to SURINAME