KOSOVO – Donika Emini. She is a very pretty blonde with a trim figure. She has not figured in any preliminary event nor won any sponsor’s prizes thus far, but she can still be a sleeper possibility.
LEBANON – Rita Houkayem. She’s attractive, though her figure is not pageant-buffed and she’s not as polished as other contenders out there.
NEPAL – Rojisha Shahi Thakuri. She garnered a gold as most child-friendly in her group during their school tour and a silver in the Evening Gown competition. I’m not that into her features, but it seems she could be on track to make the Top 16.
NORTHERN IRELAND – Amira Graham. She garnered a gold and silver during the school tour challenge, a gold as best teacher in her group and silver as most child-friendly. Would her strong environmental commitment help parlay her to the Top 16,? In the still-important looks-oriented competitions, she tends to fall short
PANAMA – Johanna Batista. She garnered a bronze medal in her group as best school tour teacher, but she has not made any shortlist in the looks-oriented events, nor garnered any sponsors’ prizes since. Which is such a shame as she seems to be competing at a high level, with an attractive face, a trim, buffed, figure, and polished stage presence. Still, she can pull off a sleeper surprise.
SCOTLAND – Kiera Kingsman. Like last year, she’s the best looking lady among the candidates from the British Isles. It is still very possible for her to pull off a sleeper surprise like her predecessor last year and make the Top 16, though admittedly her figure is not as toned as other contenders out there.
SERBIA – Andjelika Tomasevic. The third of the Balkan redheads is the one who garnered the most buzz so far, as sponsors and pageant fans and pundits raved about her. I suppose it’s because she evokes the vibe of actress Amy Adams. She’s among the 10 “Beauties of Nature” awarded by main sponsor Hana Shampoo, garnered a sponsor’s prize, and made the shortlists in Swimsuit and Resorts Wear. She seems to be a shoo-in for the Top 16 and is a strong Top 8 possibility.
SPAIN – Christina Martinez. Though I may occasionally find her features angular, she is generating buzz amongst local pageant fans and pundits, alongside insiders that she could have an inside track for the Top 16. She won silver for her continent in National Costume, was shortlisted in Swimsuit and garnered some sponsor’s prizes.
SWEDEN – Denice Andrée. She previously made the semifinals at Miss International two years ago, and she seems on track of duplicating that finish in this pageant. So far she made the shortlists in Resorts Wear and Swimsuit. My only quibble about her is that she sometimes appears a bit too overbaked, but hopefully she will still pass muster in the preliminary judging especially since it’s famously known for having the candidates show up without make-up.
TANZANIA – Clara Noor. She’s another highly competitive African, making waves with her dark ebony complexion (who says South Sudan only has a monopoly in this?) and pretty face. She garnered a bronze for her continent in National Costume. Boy, it would be tough who among the Africans would make the final cut…
TURKEY – Ezgi Avci. I’m actually very pleased that Turkey is fielding good looking ladies with stronger communication skills across all major international pageants this year. Can she vindicate the non-placement of her predecessor in this pageant last year? Remember her predecessor was a major favorite and was a big upset shut-out. She didn’t garner as much medals as her predecessor so far, only garnering bronze in the Eco-Beauty video (based on YouTube views) and made the shortlist in Talent, but hopefully she makes the right impression in the preliminary judging.
U S VIRGIN ISLANDS – Vanessa Donastorg. I know most pageant fans and pundits wouldn’t give her a second look, but this former Miss International 2012 contestant at least made a splash figuring in the shortlist for Talent.
VENEZUELA – Alyz Henrich. This lady has hit the ground running and is making the biggest waves thus far, garnering a lion’s share of sponsor’s prizes, garnering gold in Evening Gown, and bronze medals for being the most child-friendly in her group during the school tour and for the crucial Swimsuit competition. She also was shortlisted in Resorts Wear. She seems to be a shoo-in to garner an element, now the question is, could she become the second winner of this pageant for her country since Alexandra Braun eight years ago? Venezuela is reportedly going to be airing this pageant live in their country for the first time, so I wonder if that could be a sign…
ZIMBABWE – Samantha Dika. Her beauty is not of the conventional sort, but she is undeniably polished so she can qualify still as one of the fierce Africans in this year’s contest, even if she may not be the African-most-likely.
COMING UP: GROUP 3 from BOLIVIA to NETHERLANDS