HAITI – Ketsia Lioudy Iciena. It’s nice to see this country return to this pageant after an absence of 38 years (when it placed among the Top 7 finalists). With the exception of participating in the Waterbucket round of the Sports challenge (i presume other members eventually could join in besides the designated shortlisted contestants), she has not made an impression thus far in the challenge events. Still, it’s nice to see this country present.
HONG KONG CHINA – Jacqueline Wong. She might be one of the lesser-regarded contestants from the Asia-Oceania region, but she made the Talent finals with her traditional Chinese dance. To her credit she has excellent communication skills.
JAPAN – Michiko Tanaka. She is one of the prettiest representatives ever fielded by this country in this pageant (yes, include her as one of the ladies more beautiful than the reigning Miss International, Ikumi Yoshimatsu). Hope that she makes the right impression with the judges to make more serious inroads than her Top 32 finish in Beach Fashion may indicate. As she’s the roommate of the Philippines’ Megan Young, she is now held in high esteem and is well beloved amongst Filipino fans and pundits.
KENYA – Wangui Gitonga. To her credit, she has a slim and slender figure and she’s well spoken. But it’s not surprising why she has not made serious inroads in any challenge event.
KOSOVO – Antigona Sejdiu. This lady is well regarded by pageant fans and pundits even if she didn’t figure in any challenge event. Anyway, it’s a welcome debut for this country in this pageant.
LESOTHO – Mamahlape Matsoso. She’s plain and unpolished. So it’s not surprising why she failed to figure in any challenge event.
MALTA – Donna Leyland. Well, what is notable about her is what Megan recounted–that she’s increasingly becoming Asian, learning Chinese songs from Miss China.
MONTENEGRO – Ivana Milojko. Though she’s not the top performing sportswoman in her team, she was prominent in photos of the Blue Team during the Sports challenge finals. She was the only one who played volleyball among the members shortlisted, and she is prominent in the other events as well. Though her only impact thus far was the “homely” challenge event, she’s actually very good looking and deserves better notice than what she got thus far. I think she could be an underrated gem.
NORWAY – Alexandra Backstrom. I actually find her very gorgeous and thought she could make serious inroads into the finals. But then as the events wore on, she failed to figure in any of them. She seems to be a front-runner for the “Holly Carpenter” award.
PHILIPPINES – Megan Young. It was just announced that she won the Top Model challenge event. It is not surprising as she looked regal and elegant during the event, proving that you can make a major splash without relying on elaborate hairstyles or hair accessories. She also was announced as 5th in the Beach Fashion challenge and 4th in the Multimedia challenge (though if you ask me, the content she generated was way more engaging and spirited than what I saw from the ones who outranked her, but then again, I might simply be too biased).
From the get-go she has delivered her status as a favorite to win it all, and she is proving to possess the qualities that Miss World Ltd should not dare overlook. Her generous spirit with her peers made me recall the reigning Mr. World, Francisco Escobar. It is also well known about her willingness to help out in whatever worthy causes. Of course, there is her stunning features, that perfect balance of classic Western beauty and Asian exoticism, and her touted excellent communication skills. Also, imagine the opportunities in the English-speaking world for reality-oriented TV, as Megan has experience in that realm, too. She is on the path to realize the fervent dreams of about 100 million Filipinos all around the world. If the title is granted to her, there is a guarantee that the causes of Miss World would be promoted to the next level as the legion of Filipino fans would be rallying behind her and publicizing her every move.
Now, it has been reported that there is a small group of saboteurs who sent emails to the Miss World organization trying to discredit our beloved Megan, and they happened to be Filipinos. It’s so shameful that there is this situation, and that the ugly crab mentality that we Filipinos tried to eliminate has reared its ugly head again. Just like the furor by the conservative Islamists over this pageant as a whole, the sentiments of those saboteurs are not reflective of the sentiments of the public at large. I can presume the issue the saboteurs were trying to raise was the magazine layout Megan did for Rogue magazine. Now, okay the layout was sensual, but it was also editorial and artistic and lust is not the first thing that would come to mind when you look at them–more a sense of appreciation of beauty, like Chris Isaak’s legendary “Wicked Game” video with supermodel Helena Christiansen. Besides, Megan didn’t expose any private parts in any of those photos. If this is considered a chink in what is otherwise an impeccable reputation, most people would love to have that as their only bit of notoriety.
I also have to note that remember that there are at least three Miss World winners who were notorious for topless photos, too, and they were all allowed to complete their reigns (and I have to say, I saw some of those topless photos and they weren’t as tasteful as Megan’s as they have a cheesecake instead of art-directed feel to them).
ST. KITTS & NEVIS – Trevicia Adams. Well, let me say that it’s nice to see this country in action in this pageant, as they don’t make regular appearances.
SERBIA – Aleksandra Doknić. Her features are generally plain, but she seems to make the most out of them. At least she saw action in the Volleyball round of the Sports challenge.
SINGAPORE – Maria-Anna Zenieris. Megan has described her as reminiscent of her Miss World Philippines 2013 2nd runner-up Zahra Bianca Saldua. I see a resemblance to Glee star Jenna Ushkowitz.
SPAIN – Elena Ibarbia. Many pageant fans and pundits presumed that if Megan is to become the winner, this lady would likely become the first runner-up and bring forth Spain’s best finish in this pageant thus far (its best finish was a 2nd runner-up placement back in 1961). She seems to be on track by making the Top 10 in Beach Fashion and had the bonus of making the shortlist of the Sports challenge. But then came the Top Model event, and she seemed to have lost some luster in that event–she might still have earned credits, but she didn’t seem to be performing at a level that most pageant fans and pundits have expected of her. It turns out after the challenge results were announced that she was 2nd in the Sports challenge overall. There is still a chance that she could still make the Top Three, but it seems that the edge is going towards Brazil, Ukraine (or France), and of course the Philippines at this point.
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO – Sherrece Villafana. She is actually a solid contender. At least the highlight is that she made the extremely competitive Talent final with her steel drum skills.
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – Petra Cabrera-Badia. She is no Esonica Veira, but she’s attractive enough to garner some compliments. She at least made the Top 32 in Beach Fashion. Based on her surname, it’s interesting that it seems English is not her first language–she’s probably actually Latina.
Now with everyone in the Blue Team accounted for, let me trot out my leaderboard:
TOP CONTENDERS: PHILIPPINES, SPAIN
LIKELIEST: ALBANIA, CAMEROON, CYPRUS, DENMARK, ECUADOR, JAPAN, MONTENEGRO, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
CHALLENGE EVENT FACTOR: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, EL SALVADOR, HONG KONG CHINA
EXCELLENT: CHINESE TAIPEI, GUATEMALA, GUINEA, KOSOVO, NORWAY
VERY STRONG: KENYA, SERBIA, SINGAPORE
STRONG: GERMANY, ST. KITTS & NEVIS
VERY GOOD: BARBADOS, GREECE
GOOD: COSTA RICA, HAITI, MALTA
FAIR: GABON, LESOTHO