Group 2 seems to be filled with some exciting front-running standouts, including some of the biggest pageant powerhouses.
ALBANIA – Afroviti Goge. It seems this year, we are treated to a rare breed known as the Balkan Redhead. There are three of them represented this year–I previously discussed Bosnia & Herzegovina, and I will be discussing Serbia later, and then there is this lady. She is not as head-turning as the aforementioned two ladies, but she has her merits to be regarded as a worthwhile contender.
AUSTRALIA – Renera Thompson. There is something exotic about her features–is she part Maori, or Filipino, or any form of Malayo-Polynesian ethnicity? Her chances of advancing further may be dependent on how much of the preliminary judging panel would like her type of features.
BAHAMAS – Vandia Santos. She is generally a polished contender, and she made a splash in the National Costume competition, garnering gold for her continent.
BELGIUM – Kristina de Munter. She previously competed in Miss International 2011. Though she is attractive and relatively polished, I have a feeling she will equal the same outcome she had back in Chengdu, China two years ago.
BELIZE – Amber Rivero. She may be relatively short at 5’5″, but she has a slender figure, is attractive, and is generally polished. She deserves a little more notice than she’s getting.
CHINA P.R. – Lisa Xiang. I don’t really find her conventionally pretty, but she is getting some positive notices amongst pageant fans and pundits and garnering one of the 10 Beauties of Nature award by main sponsor Hana Shampoo. She also garnered a bronze medal for her talent performance,
COSTA RICA – Mariela Aparicio. She previously was a semifinalist at Miss International 2010. She may not be making that big of a splash so far in this pageant, though she is shortlisted in Swimsuit, but she is still definitely in contention of making the Top 16 in this pageant.
COTE D’IVOIRE – Bintou Traore. Here is another great looking African amidst a whole bevy of them. Just like Ghana, despite not garnering sponsor’s prizes or medals, I would still rate her as a contender to make the final cut.
CZECH REPUBLIC – Monika Leova. She is attractive, but not near as stellar as the reigning Miss Earth. But, well, she is half-Filipina, so perhaps that could be her edge to make the final cut.
FRANCE – Sophie Garenaux. She is good looking and she is polished, and she has thus far made a major impression in Resorts Wear, as she took a bronze medal. Though it seems most of the attention tends to go to the Eastern European candidates, this lady seems to be shining a bright beacon for Western Europe.
GUADELOUPE – Marie Vaitilingon. She is attractive with a trim figure, but she is not quite standing out.
GUAM – Katarina Martinez. She also saw action at Miss International 2011. She is attractive and undeniably a polished contender though I have a feeling she will likewise have the same outcome like what happened in Chengdu, China two years ago.
INDIA – Sobhita Dhulipala. In my opinion, she is one of the strongest contenders in this pageant. She was shortlisted in Resorts Wear and Talent, and she garnered a gold in the vote-oriented Miss Photogenic competition. I’m rooting for her to go far, though admittedly I wonder how many slots in the Top 16 would be available for Asians…
KAZAKHSTAN – Kumis Bazarbayeva. Though her figure is not that toned, she is very pretty. She made the biggest splash in the Talent competition, winning the gold medal with her operatic performance singing that Andrea Bocelli / Sarah Brightman classic “Time to Say Goodbye” (a.k.a., “I Will Go With You (Con Te Partiro)”). She could be a sleeper choice in the semifinals
KOREA – Catharina Choi. Several pageant fans and pundits regard her as a top favorite for the title prior to her arrival, as her part-Brazilian heritage and features are fascinating. Though she still continues to turn heads lookswise, besides a silver medal for her group in the school tour she has not figured much in terms of sponsor’s prizes or in key preliminary competitions. Still, do not count her out and she is still on track in making the final cut.
COMING UP: KOSOVO to ZIMBABWE