GREEN TEAM: This team seems to have a Latin flavor as the bulk of the Latin Americans are found in this group, along with speakers of the Iberian languages (Spanish and Portuguese) from other regions. This group is also notable for featuring two last arrivals who missed the Sports and Beach Fashion events (along with the first round of talent auditions), and the fact that for the Volleyball round of the Sports challenge, the entire team was not composed of the ladies who were announced as part of the shortlist. There is also the favorite from the Latin American region featured here. Now let’s take a look at who they are starting with:
ANGOLA – Maria Castelo. She’s attractive, and she seems charming, but she looks rather raw (unlike the more glamorously polished contenders we have seen in recent years), that is is not surprising why she has not figured in any of the challenge events thus far.
BELARUS – Maryia Vialichka. She’s good-looking and slender, and some pageant fans and pundits have a high regard for her. Her features reminds me of a blend of Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Hudson. But she has not figured in any challenge event thus far so she might be relegated thus far as “just another pretty face”.
BOTSWANA – Rosemary Keofitlhetse. Despite her very Tswana surname, what is most notable about her is that her complexion is fairer than what we typically associate for a representative from her country. She and Miss Macedonia FYRO oddly don’t have solo Beach Fashion photos available even if all accounts reported that they took part. She is well regarded by pageant fans and pundits, but she has not figured in any challenge event so far–with the exception of being part of the volleyball team. Hopefully she charms the judges enough with her girlish but intelligent speech.
BRAZIL – Sancler Frantz. In a rather relatively lackluster group of contenders from her continent, this blonde shone brightest and is a lock for Miss World – Americas. She is currently the front-runner amongst oddsmakers, and she delivered on her status as favorite as she made the finals in the most watched-over challenge events of Beach Fashion and Top Model. She also made the shortlist for Beauty with a Purpose as her project involves leprosy. It was just announced during rehearsals that she won Beach Fashion, giving her more serious inroads into garnering a second crown for her nation. Though I sentimentally would want one person to win it all, I know this lady is putting up a great fight thus far.
COLOMBIA – Daniela Ocoro. Last year’s representative was a well-regarded favorite. This year’s representative? She’s rather plain by comparison, but she does have redeeming qualities–she registers better on video and she has a charm about her there. But otherwise, it’s not surprising why she has not figured in any challenge event thus far. An interesting note: for some reason her Beauty with a Purpose video was not uploaded on Miss World’s official YouTube channel but so far is only available on the MissesColombianas channel. Wonder why?
ENGLAND – Kirsty Heslewood. Lookswise, I would’ve preferred Miss Northern Ireland, but it seems the one who is on track to clinching the Miss United Kingdom title is this lady, who figured in three challenge events: Top 32 in Beach Fashion, shortlisted in Sports, and Top 10 in Top Model. I guess she should be regarded as a shoo-in for the Top 20.
UPDATE: Her Beauty with a Purpose project was announced to have ranked 8th. Her status as Miss United Kingdom seems secure, and she seems poised to occupy the Top 10.
GUADELOUPE – Sheryna van der Koelen. She previously saw action at Miss Earth last year. Considering she did not figure in any challenge event (with the exception of playing volleyball for her team even if she was not included in the shortlist), it is likely she’ll repeat her Miss Earth outcome in this pageant.
GUINEA-BISSAU – Heny Tavares. It’s a good thing she ditched her original look when she won her national title, but as a result, I don’t have the perfect fodder to comically compare her to an unforgettable character from a cult British comedy that has been transformed into a Tony-Award-winning Broadway musical. Anyway, considering the ordeal she endured in order to finally make it to Bali, it’s at least nice that she made it at last, and be the first from her tiny nation to compete in a major beauty pageant. For that alone, she should be saluted, even if there is no chance that she would be in contention for Miss World – Africa, unless the board of judges are filled with blue collar blokes like this guy.
GUYANA – Ruqayyah Boyer. She improved from her Miss Universe stint last year, where she most memorably performed a “Miriam Quiambao” during the Presentation Show (how’s that for a Philippine connection) Here in this pageant, besides figuring in the Top 32 she is most memorable for the videos she posted on her Facebook page interacting with her fellow contestants and showing a refreshing inside and personal look of the ladies having fun during downtimes. Most legendary are her series of videos with the Philippines’ Megan Young, singing along, sharing thoughts. We crazy Filipino pageant fans enjoy them all, and now most of us welcome her as if she is one of us. I am rooting for her to go far.
ICELAND – Sigridur Asgeirsdottir. She reminds me of comic actress Amy Poehler. Thus far, she has not figured in any of the challenge events, and her figure seemed a tad too voluptuous during the Beach Fashion event. Her best strategy at this point is to simply enjoy her stay in Bali.
KAZAKHSTAN – Ainur Toleuova. Pageant fans and pundits felt that the change she made with her hair color diminished her chances of making serious inroads into the finals. There was a moment where pageant fans and pundits went into a tizzy as her photo became the profile photo of the official Miss World Facebook page, that she might be considered the winner. It was soon corrected as it turns out it was posted as a profile photo by mistake (it was simply to be placed in an album). Considering she has not figured in any challenge events thus far, her winning the crown is a major longshot.
KOREA – Min Park. She is attractive, but just like last year’s representative, she failed to figure in any challenge event. Sometimes I wonder if Korea keeps forgetting what their winning formula is, as after fielding ladies with spunk like, say, Doe Kyung-Min in 2011, they would then field bland and meek contestants after that. This is the reason why their track record remains spotty.
KYRGYZSTAN – Zhibek Nukeyeva. It’s nice to see this country finally making some impact, as this lady made the Top 32 in Beach Fashion. She is a polished and worthwhile contender that deserves to be reckoned with. Her Beauty with a Purpose video is rather interesting as it seemed to focus on her country’s turbulent recent history (with footage of violence).
LATVIA – Eva Dombrovska. She’s rather plain looking, but at least she got to figure in the finals of a challenge event by participating in the volleyball round of the Sports challenge (even if she’s not one of those short-listed).
LITHUANIA – Rūta Elžbieta Mazurevičiūtė. Even if she has not figured in any challenge event, she deserves to be treated in better regard as she’s pretty.
MAURITIUS – Nathalie Lesage. She is attractive and polished (albeit with eyebags like in her profile video), so even if she has not made any major splash in any challenge event as yet, she deserves some credit.
COMING UP: GREEN TEAM, PART 2