This year, Miss Earth implemented a new system that provides credits and “medals” in the various activities that the delegates would participate.  After each activity, there would be three who would be awared gold (10 points), silver (8 points) and bronze (6 points) medals, and the rest earn credits of 4 points each for attendance.   Some pageant fans and pundits are saying Miss Earth seems to be doing its copycat ways again, as this system seems to be borrowed from the two most recent editions of Miss World.  I agree they borrowed Miss World’s points system, but we still have to give them credit that they have developed their own spin on the system instead of simply copying it wholesale.  As the events unfold, this system does give us an indication on who seems to be most committed to the cause and making a great impression with insiders and sponsors.  But it also makes me wonder–will the usual special awards be scrapped (since there is no consolidated contest for swimsuit, evening gown, or talent), or will the winner be determined amongst the gold medalists among the three groups?

Still, I think the biggest weight in selecting the Top 16 would still be the pre-judging round, so even if one did not earn that much points across the various “challenge” events, she can make up for it in pre-judging.  I will organize my assessment of the delegates according to their group designations instead of the usual alphabetical arrangement.  As a bonus, I will also showcase their “environmental profile”videos as posted on Miss Earth’s YouTube account, if one is submitted. Let’s begin with Group 1, starting with…

AUSTRIA – Sandra Seidl.  I think this blonde’s actually a worthwhile contender, as she seems to not only be attractive but also polished enough to know what she’s doing (unlike the raw contestants we have witnessed in recent years amongst the major international pageants).

Green Bag challenge bronze medallists: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, and Austria

BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA –  Zerina Sirbegovic.  To be honest, I’m not really into her facial features, but she more than makes up for it with personality and excellent communication skills.  Those qualities may make her in serious contention for the semifinals, and she earned a silver and a gold medal so far to have an edge over several contenders (including some gorgeous perceived favorites).

BOTSWANA – Lorraine Ditsebe.  This year’s group of black delegates are collectively a very attractive sort.  This is one of the several worthwhile black contenders in this year’s group.

BRAZIL – Camila Gonçalves.  If I were to rate her prospects, I would’ve placed her amongst the front-runners.  But so far she has not garnered a medal even if she participated in all available activities so far.  She deserved to medal (gold if you ask me) in her group’s swimsuit competition, but well, the judges in that competition favored others (one particular medalist is considered questionable amongst pageant fans and pundits, but I won’t mention who that is here).  Though this country had placed very high several times in this pageant, with three Miss Earth-Air (usually considered 1st runner-up) finishes and two Miss Earth winners, it also had cases of gorgeous contenders also missing the cut, like what occured in a three-year dry spell from 2005-07.  I hope the latter outcome will not befall her.

Will she suffer the fate of these shutouts? From L-R: 2005’s Isabella Chaves, 2006’s Ana Paula Quinot, and 2007’s Patricia Andrade (first two courtesy of Arnold Orosa for Mabuhay Beauties, last courtesy of Gelbert Aplal for Rouge Photography)

CHINESE TAIPEI – Jen-Ling Lu.  In real-world terms, she will be considered attractive, but in pageant terms, it will be an uphill battle for her to be in serious contention for the finals.

COLOMBIA – Cindy Kohn-Cybulkiewicz.  Like Miss Brazil, she has not medalled in any of the challenge events so far but she is one of the best looking contestants in this year’s batch.  She’s also very articulate and highly educated about the cause, judging from the video below.  Hopefully she’ll make a major impression in the preliminary judging and make the finals.

CRIMEA – Liudmyla Kuzmina.  Her environmental video has a cheesy, contrived intro with  a mock newscast.  She has features that I find attractive in a girl-next-door way, but not stunning enough for pageant standards.

CZECH REPUBLIC – Tereza Fajksova.  Lookswise, she is considered a front-runner.  She started medalling much later in the game, winning silver in both the evening gown and resorts wear competitions.  It seems her stock is rising during the later part of the game, and this could be crucial to her prospects of making the final cut.

DENMARK – Belinda Sander Jensen.  She reminds me of Homeland star Claire Danes, albeit in a less-trim, more voluptuous version.

Claire Danes (image sourced from askmen.com)

ECUADOR – Tatiana Torres.  She’s a replacement for the previous designated representative who was dethroned for undisclosed reasons.  It is unlikely she’ll equal Olga Alava’s victory last year.

EL SALVADOR – Yaritza Rivera.  This delegate’s features are a bit too exotic for most tastes to appreciate, though, so it’s an uphill battle for her to make the final cut.

ENGLAND – Zahida Begum.  Her name and features are definitely not those of a typical English lass.  She is attractive and trim enough to be considered a worthwhile contender, though she obviously needed some more polish to maximize her potential.

FINLAND –  Kristiina Airi.  Some of her fellow delegates mentioned that she has a big resemblance to actress Scarlett Johansson.  I see that resemblance, and in my reckoning she should be regarded as worthy of earning an inside track into the semifinals.  But so far she has not medaled in any challenge so far, so her best prospects is to score high in preliminary judging.

Scarlett Johansson (image sourced from moviesandtvhistoryguy.com)

All images courtesy of Miss Earth, Jonas Yu for Critical Beauty, and Bruce Casanova for OPMB Worldwide unless otherwise indicated.

COMING UP:  The rest of Group 1 from INDONESIA to TRINIDAD & TOBAGO