SOUTH AFRICA – Cindy Rachel Rosslind. For some reason, she was not present during the Press Presentation. And most photos taken of her are group shots, and I only just recently discovered one solo photo of her. Actually at first I thought she was middling, but she started to grow on me, that she started looking to me like a possible sleeper contender for the Top 15.
SOUTH SUDAN – Ayak Abiel. I’m not sure if her facial features are to the Japanese panel’s tastes, but this lady is the one standing standing out amongst the Africans so far. Wonder if she’ll be the one granted the “token African” slot?
SPAIN – Araceli Carrilero Martínez. She can qualify as pretty, though she’s not as charismatic as other representatives from her country before her. But I suppose this might already be enough for her to make the final cut.
SURINAME – Janet Farida van Klaveren. Actually she is attractive, though her features are not the sort that the Japanese panel tend to gravitate to. She could be regarded as a worthwhile contender.
SWEDEN – Eleonore Lilja. Well, she’s another who is undeniably attractive, though I cannot quite qualify as “pretty”. But she could be a type that could make inroads into the Top 15–it’s in the realm of possibility.
TAHITI – Ohana Perle Shelagh Huber. Part of her name doesn’t seem to sound French or Tahitian (rather it sounds Irish). Anyway, she is also of an exotic sort that may not really be the type that the Japanese panel are normally not into, but she can be labeled as attractive.
THAILAND – Chonthicha Thiangtham. Her features are not conventionally pretty, but she does have carriage, a polished presence, and a fair complexion to her advantage. She can be in contention for the Top 15.
TUNISIA – Sondes Zamouri. There are flattering angles on this lady, but there are other shots where she looked plain and doesn’t quite make a memorable impression.
UKRAINE – Margaryta Gorbyk. There are angles where she looks gorgeous, but there are some unflattering angles that may make her seem out of contention. I just hope she puts her best foot forward when it counts in the finals.
UNITED KINGDOM – Elizabeth Greenham. Apparently Miss World Ltd decided to let go of its franchise to this pageant, so we are no longer treated to Miss World 2012 Sophie Moulds taking part–if she did, she would’ve been hands-down the winner, in my opinion, with the Japanese press going ga-ga over the Kate Middleton look-alike. Instead, we have a petite Miss Universe Great Britain semifinalist. To her credit, she does her best and there are flattering angles. But for most part she is far from being in contention for the finals.
U S A – Andrea Neu. She does have flattering angles, but I don’t think she is likely to duplicate the semifinals showing of her predecessor.
VENEZUELA – Elián Herrera. She’s clearly the most statuesque, the buffest, and the most polished contender amongst this year’s batch. Well, she did have a major faux pas as she tripped and fell when they did the mass walk during the swimsuit portion of the Press Presentation, but perhaps in the competition that matters nothing of that sort would happen and she will rank high. It seems to be a battle between her and the Philippines for the crown, with Russia being an upset possibility.
VIETNAM – Lo Thi Huong Tram. Her features are just plain, though perhaps attractive in real-world terms.
Now that all 67 delegates are accounted for, let me trot out my leaderboard to show you how I think they all stack up:
TOP CONTENDERS: LITHUANIA, PHILIPPINES, RUSSIA, VENEZUELA
SHOO-IN: KOREA, NETHERLANDS, POLAND, SPAIN
LIKELIEST: AUSTRALIA, BOLIVIA, BRAZIL, COLOMBIA, ESTONIA, GABON, GERMANY, HUNGARY, ICELAND, INDIA, INDONESIA, MACAU, MEXICO, MONGOLIA, NEPAL, NEW ZEALAND, NICARAGUA, PUERTO RICO, SLOVAK REPUBLIC, SOUTH SUDAN, SWEDEN, THAILAND, UKRAINE
SASH FACTOR: JAPAN
EXCELLENT: COSTA RICA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, GIBRALTAR, HAITI, KYRGYZSTAN, LEBANON, MYANMAR, PERU, SOUTH AFRICA, SURINAME, TAHITI
VERY STRONG: BELGIUM, CANADA, GUAM, GUATEMALA, ITALY, LUXEMBOURG, PARAGUAY, ROMANIA, TUNISIA, U S A
STRONG: ARUBA, ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, FINLAND, PANAMA, UNITED KINGDOM, VIETNAM
VERY GOOD: CHINESE TAIPEI, PORTUGAL
GOOD: CHINA, HONG KONG, SINGAPORE
FAIR: GUADELOUPE, MALAYSIA
Now, let me give you my “Fearful Forecast”
TOP FIVE: LITHUANIA, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, RUSSIA, VENEZUELA
TOP 15: BOLIVIA, GERMANY, ICELAND, INDIA,JAPAN, KOREA, MONGOLIA, NETHERLANDS, SOUTH SUDAN, SPAIN
BUBBLING UNDER: AUSTRALIA, BRAZIL, COLOMBIA, ESTONIA, GABON, HUNGARY, INDONESIA, MACAU, MEXICO, NEPAL, NEW ZEALAND, NICARAGUA, PUERTO RICO, SLOVAK REPUBLIC, SWEDEN, THAILAND, UKRAINE
STRIKING DISTANCE: COSTA RICA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, GIBRALTAR, HAITI, KYRGYZSTAN, LEBANON, MYANMAR, PERU, SOUTH AFRICA, SURINAME, TAHITI
All images courtesy of Miss International and Katsutoshi Soeno for Tokyo Front Line unless otherwise indicated.
The only thing I’m excited regarding this pageant is the prospect of Bea Rose Santiago bringing forth a possible fifth Miss International crown for our country, though there are three or four obstacles in her way to that crown, with Venezuela being the most obvious threat and possible usurpers from Russia, Lithuania, and maybe even Poland. Win or lose, my only wish is a fair outcome and no homeland favoritism.