HUNGARY – Claudia Kozma. She has features that are appealing to Western tastes, but I feel do not currently translate well to Japanese tastes. Still, she should be regarded as a worthwhile contender.
INDIA – Rochelle Maria Rao. She looks to be on track of making the final cut. She has facial features that remind me of a highly regarded Filipina beauty queen — Miss World 1993 2nd Princess Ruffa Gutierrez. She also has a buffed figure to boot. Detractors from a popular pageant messageboard have posted unflattering pre-Femina Miss India photos of this lady, hinting that she might have had some procedures done, but in my reckoning what matters is the here and now, and right now she is looking great (and natural if the allegations are true).
INDONESIA – Liza Elly Pumamasari. Her almost-perma-smile, round face, and tanned features remind me of another Filipina beauty queen, this time Miss Earth – Water 2011 Athena Imperial. I don’t think the factors that allowed Athena to fare as high as she did are at play in this pageant, so she will simply be regarded as a worthwhile contender who is likely going to miss the final cut.
ISRAEL – Yael Markovich. She was the very last to arrive in Okinawa, after almost two weeks after the pageant activities began. Her pre-arrival studio photos may suggest she could have an inside track into the finals, but so far the impression that I get based from the available Okinawa photos is that she will be a close-but-no-cigar contender. She does have assets but seeing the roster of judges (predominantly female) I don’t think they would respond as well to them unlike if the judges were predominantly male. Even if I did not see a swimsuit photo, even in casual clothing it’s obvious she is the winner of this year’s BB Sweepstakes award for this pageant.
ITALY – Giulia Masala. This blonde has a lean and trim figure, but there is something about her facial features that seems to make her look older than her 19 years of age.
JAPAN – Ikumi Yoshimatsu. Last year, to the shock of many, the “goodwill” policy that normally guarantees that three major East Asian nations slots in the semifinals was removed, and the three nations (even the host nation!) failed to make the cut. I have a feeling the “goodwill” is reinstated this year, and this lady will be the biggest beneficiary of that policy. Yes, she has a good figure and a model’s frame, but if this was another major international pageant she would not be in serious consideration for the finals.
KOREA – Lee Jung-Bin. There are some pageant fans and pundits who felt she’s a letdown, but I actually find her cute and pretty. Though if this was another major international pageant, she would simply be regarded as “just another pretty face” (Koreans who made it in other pageants normally require something extra, generally a charismatic, lively personality and great English skills, with the rare exception in one edition of Miss World when one gawky, homely girl’s charity work won the hearts of the sorority). I won’t be too mad if she makes the final cut, as she’s worthy in this context.
LATVIA – Kristina Vilurna. She’s actually attractive and fit enough to make a positive impression, but there is something about the way she packaged herself that I felt needed finessing. A cleaner look might put her in a better light.
LEBANON – Cynthia Moukarzel. Like a typical Middle Eastern girl, her eyes are heavy on the kohl. She has a pretty face, but she seems a bit raw to make an optimal impression.
MACAU – Cherry Ng. This experienced veteran of Miss World 2010 and Miss Earth 2011 is a polished presence though there is only so much you can do with what she has. We should salute her for performing creditably.
MALAYSIA – Mei Xian Teng. Here is another one in the list of “attractive-in-real-world-terms-but-not-in-pageant-terms” ladies. She at least seemed to perform creditably, though.
MAURITIUS – Ameeksha Dilchand. Her features are too angular for my taste, and most likely to the Japanese tastes, too. I don’t think she’ll make an impression with the predominantly Japanese panel.
MEXICO – Jessica Garcia Formenti. There is something vaguely Asian about her features, even if nothing Asian is reflected in her name. I think she could be a semifinalist possibility, if the Japanese judges are more open to the intriguing Caucasian-Asian mix that she seems to have.
MONGOLIA – Dolgion Delgerjav. The photos below don’t seem to flatter her as much as some other more candid photos around. She seems to exude a vibe of a less-sexed-up version of K-Pop singer/rapper Hyuna (ex-Wonder Girl and current member of 4minute).
All images courtesy of Miss International Beauty Pageant 2012 unless otherwise indicated.
COMING UP: MYANMAR to SINGAPORE