Visiting Grodno

Miss Supranational is a young pageant (currently in its fifth edition) that has been gaining buzz and prestige with the quality of its winners and finalists and its reported sleek finals production.  Though there was an attrition last year (from 70 to 53), it came back roaring this year with a record number of delegates–84,

The conduct of the pageant so far seems to be generally smooth and a good experience for the contestants.  The first week of activities featured a tour throughout all of Belarus, making one discover that there are good things that can be found in this little known former Soviet republic.  The competition proper has set in for the second week, with a swimsuit plus cocktail wear event and a talent competition.  The swimsuit plus cocktail wear event has garnered a bit of controversy as one contestant’s bulging belly made the organizers and audience speculate, and after a test, it was confirmed that this contestant has to be disqualified.  Let’s discuss her for a bit…

CURACAO – Xiohenne Renita.  She could have been regarded as a worthwhile contender, with points docked for her bulging belly (not in evidence in the first week as reflected on the official portraits below).  But as the competition proper set in, one wondered about her burgeoning belly–it was not because of the food she ate, but that she is actually an expectant mother.  Though someone like Iceland’s Unnur Steinsson back in Miss World 1983 could get away with it (and in a poetic twist, the child in her womb would grow up to become the winner of Miss World 2005, Unnur Birna Vilhjamsdottir), unfortunately it wasn’t the case for this lady.

Her controversial, fateful appearance (image courtesy of Global Beauties)
Yes, the future Miss World 2005 was in her womb at this time:  Unnur Steinsson interviewed during the Miss World 1983 finals (screenshot from broadcast)
Yes, the future Miss World 2005 was in her womb at this time: Unnur Steinsson interviewed during the Miss World 1983 finals (screenshot from broadcast)

What about the rest of the 83 contestants in this pageant?  There are some obvious bottom-feeders, for sure, but there are some striking beauties that are worth paying attention to.  Without further ado, let’s proceed with…

ALBANIA – Deisa Shehaj.  She has a lovely ingenue face but in other aspects she doesn’t seem to be as polished to be in serious contention for the finals.

(Image courtesy of Global Beauties)

ARGENTINA – Juliana Kawka.  Facewise this blonde may not impress, but she possesses an enviably lean and buffed figure so we’ll see how far she can parlay that figure into the finals.

AUSTRALIA – Esma Voloder.  Did American Idol Season 12 third placer Angie Miller take a break from the tour to join a pageant?  It made me wonder as this Australian lass is a deadringer for her.  Compounding matters is that for her talent she played keyboards.  It seems she didn’t sing on this occasion, but if she sang Angie’s self-written “You Set Me Free” I would then speculate.  This country has just made a debut in this pageant, and I have a feeling this lady will go far…

Playing keyboards at the Talent competition.
American Idol Season 12 3rd placer Angie Miller (image sourced from guyspeed.com)

AZERBAIJAN – Samira Akmanova.  This raven-tressed lady has a slim figure that garnered compliments from pageant website Global Beauties, and albeit she has a pretty face, I don’t seem to see spark or charisma from her to be in serious contention.

BELARUS – Veronika Chachina.  I arguably found this blonde prettier than the reigning Miss Supranational.  Though Global Beauties doesn’t seem to be much impressed (probably because of her skinny and not-so-toned figure), I think she got what it takes to sustain this host country’s strong track record in this pageant (besides a win last year, it garnered two first runner-up finishes in 2009 and 2011).

With Miss Azerbaijan (image courtesy of Global Beauties)
At the Press Conference (image courtesy of Global Beauties)

BELGIUM – Karen Op’t Eynde.  Besides the Big Two pageants, this country’s track record in other major international pageants is lackluster, and this raw contestant isn’t likely to improve matters.  Her best strategy is to enjoy the most of her stay.

(image courtesy of Global Beauties)

BOLIVIA – Teresa Talamás.  In real-world standards, her figure is enviable.  But in modeling and pageant standards, she’s on the voluptuous side.  Her best prospect is a creditable showing.

(image courtesy of Global Beauties)

BRAZIL – Raquel Benetti.  There are angles where her features may appear harsh, like in the closeup shot in one of her official portraits.  But there are flattering angles where she could be regarded as one of the stronger contenders out there.  I think she’s a shoo-in for the Top 20.

CAMEROON – Johanna Medio Akamba.  I wonder how much room would this pageant make way for black contestants?  Because this lady could be one of those competing for possibly limited slots.  Just like in some editions of the Miss Earth pageant, I am actually impressed with the black contestants in this year’s batch.  She has made a major splash in the Talent competition, placing second with her energetic native dance performance.  Can she parlay that into a Top 20 finish?  She’s got the goods to make it.

(Image courtesy of Global Beauties)
Her high energy dance performance earned her a 2nd place citation.

CANADA – Suzette Hernandez.  She is one of three Filipinas competing in this pageant.  She previously saw action in Mutya ng Pilipinas 2010, where she earned 1st runner-up (actually it’s a 4th place ranking as three titles were on offer at the time).  She finally got the opportunity to see action in an international pageant thanks to her Canadian citizenship, and she is actually making a better than expected impression.  If the judges are in an exotic mood, she can make serious inroads into the Top 20.  I also noticed a passing resemblance to a Filipina celebrity, actress/singer/presenter Toni Gonzaga.

Toni Gonzaga (image courtesy of ABS-CBN)

CHINA – Liu Qiang.  In Miss World and on occasion, Miss Universe and Miss International, this country is a powerhouse.  In other pageants, it barely registers.  This lady does nothing to reverse that trend.

Visiting Garadzenki maentak Karobchyzy (image courtesy of Global Beauties)

COLOMBIA – Isabel Cristina Asprilla.  She reminds me of a cross between singer and X-Factor judge Kelly Rowland and actress Angela Bassett.  She is another of the formidable dark-skinned contenders in this year’s pageant, with a polished presence combining Afro-diva glamour with a hint of that Latin flair.

Kelly Rowland (image sourced from thatgrapejuice.net)
Angela Bassett (image courtesy of biography.com)

COSTA RICA – Elena Correa.  This blonde is actually attractive, but it seems during the swimsuit/cocktail wear competition she overdid her presentation.  I would classify her as a member of the P.A.T.I.S. crew.

(Image courtesy of Global Beauties)

COTE D’IVOIRE – Reine Aka.  She has an attractive face, but everything else about her is rather raw and unpolished.  She is one of the weaker links in what is otherwise a formidable African and black contingent.

At the talent competition (she didn’t receive any citation, but I could not find any suitable solo photo of her except this) (image courtesy of Global Beauties)

CZECH REPUBLIC – Lucie Klukavá.  Last year’s representative, Michaela Dihlova, was a drop-dead gorgeous stunner who placed 2nd runner-up (I thought she should have been the winner, to be honest).  This lady may not be as stunning, but she has the goods to continue this country’s strong track record in this pageant.  I think she’s a Top 20 shoo-in at the very least.

(Image courtesy of Global Beauties)

DENMARK – Alexandria Eissinger.  She is attractive and has a trim figure, but there are a lot of stronger European options out there.  But she is making a positive impression so a Top 20 finish is within reach.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Alba Aquino.  In some of the tour photos, I actually thought she could make serious inroads.  But buzz faded as the days wore on, that she is registering more like a member of the P.A.T.I.S. crew instead of a more serious contender.

All images courtesy of Miss Supranational unless otherwise indicated.