ISRAEL – Maria Abboud. She is most notable for her frizzy hair. In general she strikes a very raw presence, so she is not in serious contention of making the Top 16.
JAPAN – Yu Horikawa. She may not be as adorably cute as her predecessor Megumi Noda, but she’s undeniably polished that she is making a strong impression–but there are a bevy of fierce Asian rivals to deal with so her making the final cut is far from assured.
LITHUANIA – Monika Sereckyte. Her figure is far from buffed, but she has a sweet girl-next-door prettiness about her.
MADAGASCAR – Erwina Mathon. She is actually attractive, though in pageant standards, she may have a tough time standing out.
MARTINIQUE – Rani Charles. She easily stands out with her short hair, but that short hair only accentuates her utterly gorgeous face–she is channeling a hybrid of Rihanna with dashes of Halle Berry thrown in–though she has a skirt in her Eco-Beauty video, doesn’t her entrance in that video remind you of Halle Berry’s famous beach scene in the James Bond film Die Another Day? She already made a splash being shortlisted in Resorts Wear and Talent. I’m slightly concerned about her communication skills, but hopefully there will be room for her brand of stellar gorgeousness.
MONGOLIA – Bayartsatsral Baljinnyam. She is very raw and doesn’t speak English much–to the point that she could not deliver an environmental message at all during the Press Presentation–though she is attractive with a trim figure.
NIGERIA – Marie Miller. I’m not gravitating to her kind of exotic features, but she is actually making a strong positive impression–as I mentioned, the ladies from the African continent are a competitive group this year. She garnered a silver medal for her continent in the National Costume competition.
PHILIPPINES – Angelee de los Reyes. If you ask me, this lady is stronger than her two predecessors who placed high. She has an undeniably buffed figure and a more attractive face, for starters, and though her predecessors are excellent communicators, she can hold her own even if we Filipinos may sometimes quibble about her diction. Considering the major trend of Philippines placing high or winning in several major pageants this year, she seems to have an inside track for an element, and thus far she has garnered the most medals being awarded (albeit none of them gold): bronze in Evening Gown, silver for her group in the school tour campaign, bronze for being child friendly in her group, silver for her continent in National Costume, and bronze for Photogenic. Will the powers-that-be at Miss Earth allow her to sustain our nation’s pageant trend, or would she be paying the price for the much-criticized high placements garnered by her predecessors?
POLAND – Aleksandra Szczęsna. She is making heads turn with her gorgeous face, and as a communicator (judging from her Eco-Beauty video and the Press Presentation), she is stronger than most Polish girls I’ve observed in various pageants. She seems on track in not only landing the Top 16, but going further to the Top 8 and possibly beyond. She has won some sponsors’ prizes and was shortlisted in Resorts Wear.
REUNION ISLAND – Christelle Abrantes. There are people who may find her exotic features appealing, but I think in general she is not making a standout impression in this entire batch.
SINGAPORE – Vanessa Hee. To be blunt, she is rather plain looking and a tad raw in projection. She is a solid communicator, though.
SLOVAK REPUBLIC – Lucia Slaninkova. She could be considered a worthwhile semifinalist possibility, especially since she was shortlisted in both Resorts Wear and Swimsuit.
SOUTH AFRICA – Ashanti Mbanga. In some ways, she can be considered the African-most-likely, especially since she garnered gold medal wins by being the best teacher in her group during the school tour and winning National Costume for her continent. Though at her best she can channel singer-actress Brandy, there are other times where she looks rather plain to my taste. Still, she is likely to score high for her commitment to the environmental cause and her superb communication skills.
SWITZERLAND – Djoa Strassburg. She doesn’t seem to be your typical Swiss Miss, but she is attractive, especially in the real-world sense. By pageant standards, though, she seems to be facing an uphill battle to stand out.
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO – Ariana Rampersad. This lady of East Indian descent does make a positive impression, though she isn’t making a standout impression thus far.
COMING UP: GROUP 2 from ALBANIA to KOREA