The last major pageant of the year is the Miss International pageant, with the finals being held a week before Christmas in wintry Japan. I suppose the cold climate limits the itinerary of activities that could be held, that is why the schedule is down to a tight 11 days–though there are the traditional intake of Japanese culture such as the witnessing a tea ceremony, seeing how sushi is made, learning some traditional fan dances, visits to Shinto shrines, and a few others.
It is interesting to note that even though the pageant is held in the reigning winner’s home country, the reigning Miss International is currently not on hand to attend the activities as is typical tradition, and instead we see Miss International 2008 from Spain, Alejandra Abreu, on hand. Why? It is reported that Ikumi Yoshimatsu is currently being harassed and stalked by a shady but influential talent manager and she is initiating legal proceedings against him. For the sake of her own personal safety it was decided she cannot appear in public for the meantime until justice is served against that person.
With the scaled down roster of events, plus haphazard coverage (well, there are nice official photos, but not comprehensive official photos, and we have to rely mostly on private photos released on the delegates’social media accounts to follow the proceedings), it’s a bit difficult for me to muster excitement towards this pageant. I hate to say it also, but to be blunt, despite the relatively high turnout of delegates this year (67, in a tie for the 4th highest number for this pageant) the quality overall is one of the weakest (if not the weakest) I have encountered. There are quality dips in Miss Universe, Miss Earth, and yes, even Miss World (despite having the unimpeachably creamiest , dreamiest, and most stellar Top Five ever) this year, but not as precipitous as in this pageant. I can only count with one hand those who would qualify as pretty, and this was a pageant that used to guarantee a whole boatload of those in previous years, and it’s also hard to also find those with charisma and star quality. In some ways, it’s supposed to make it easier to pick who would make the semifinals, but then again, determining who among the less-than-conventional-pretty faces would make an impact is a challenge. Anyway, let me still try starting with…
ARUBA – Erialda Josaine Croes. Her features are a tad too exotic for Japanese tastes, and her figure is less than the slender ideal, so I don’t regard her to be in serious contention for the Top 15.
AUSTRALIA – Johanna Parker. In real-world terms, this blonde can be considered refreshingly pretty. In other years, one may not pay much attention to her, but in a year like this, she just might have the chance to make it.
BELGIUM – Ekaterina Sarafanova. There is a prettiness to her face, but it’s a “sugar pretty” type that doesn’t make much impact.
BOLIVIA – Adriana Delgadillo Galvan. Well, she is attractive enough and polished enough to pass muster so she can possibly make the final cut in this year’s pageant.
BRAZIL – Cristina Alves da Silva. I find her features a tad angular for my comfort, but tradition cannot be denied, and because of that she could still be considered in serious contention.
CANADA – Sarah Ainsley Harrison. She does have a trim figure, but other than that I don’t see her making any serious inroads into the finals.
CHINA – Jin Ying. Unlike last year, at least we see this country back in action in this pageant. But she’s just so plain and raw, and considering ongoing tensions, it is justifiable if Japan doesn’t hand out its traditional “goodwill” slot for this girl.
CHINESE TAIPEI – Chen Xio-wen. It’s rare to see a representative from this country be stronger than her mainland counterpart, but it is the case this year, but even if that is the case, it is unlikely that this lady would make serious inroads into the finals.
COLOMBIA – Cindy Lorena Hermida Aguilar. Like in the case of Brazil, traditionally this country is a contending country, though I have misgivings about her angular features. I’m more excited about next year’s representative, a drop-dead gorgeous ebony darling who can become the next rare woman of color to win this pageant.
COSTA RICA – Andrea María Rojas Pacheco. We Filipinos (and perhaps even the Japanese) may appreciate her mestiza features, but I don’t think they’re the sort that would make serious inroads in an international pageant. But then again, she won a lesser international pageant Reina del Costa Maya earlier this year.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Carmen Muñoz Guzman. She is attractive, but I have quibbles about her apparent double-chin (though her figure seems fit enough). I will not totally count her out yet.
ECUADOR – Nataly Arroba Hurtado. Yes, she’s a polished mulatta, but her features are clearly not the sort that the Japanese (nor Filipinos) would appreciate.
EL SALVADOR – Yaritza Rivera Barillas. Well, in general she seems polished enough, but I don’t really see her in serious contention for the finals.
ESTONIA – Madli Vilsar. I find her “haute couture” pose during the National Costume round of the Press Presentation very interesting. She previously competed in Miss Universe 2011 and did not make the final cut. I have a feeling she might have a better chance in this pageant, as she is one of the prettier ones in this group.
COMING UP: FINLAND to INDONESIA