Monthly Archives: November 2014

RESULTS REACTION: MISS EARTH 2014

Awaiting the final results

If you see my postings on my Facebook account, I was present at the Miss Earth 2014 coronation night in UP Theater, Diliman, Quezon City.  I only learned from my pageant friends at that moment that there was an attrition in the roster of 85, as Miss France (Letitia Penmellen) contracted amoebiasis after her Palawan trip, was confined in St. Luke’s Hospital for about a week, and departed the country one or two days before the finals.  It’s so sad this happened because she was a highly regarded contender, and her gorgeous face could’ve made her a shoo-in.  All I could say is–c’est malheureux (it’s unfortunate).

Au revoir: Miss France (image courtesy of Carousel Productions)

Anyway, my track record in predicting the Top 16 improved from the previous two years as I got 9 out of 16 correct this time.  Five of those that I didn’t get were in my Bubbling Under list, and two were in my Striking Distance list.  I may have gotten one elemental queen correct, but the remaining three were in my Top Eight, so I’m not that way off.  I consider this year’s Top 16 to be one of the most satisfying lineups in the history of this pageant–there is a strong emphasis on facial beauty this time around, I noticed, and almost all delivered on charismatic presence.

With at least 40 high caliber contenders this year, of course there would be some favorites left out in the cold.  And this is barring the controversy that there were supposed to be slots reserved for the winner (or winners) of the Yahoo Philippines online voting, which didn’t materialize during the pageant.  Leading that online poll were Nepal (Prinsha Shrestha) and India (Alankrita Sahai).  Wonder what caused that award to be scrapped?

Yahoo Philippines online poll leaders:  India and Nepal
Yahoo Philippines online poll leaders: India and Nepal

Just like last year, I will award gold, silver and bronze for the Ruth Ocumarez award.  I would have put India as my silver medalist.  The bronze medalist for me is Puerto RIco (Franceska Toro) and the gold medalist is Paraguay (Sendy Caceres).  There are several reasons why over the years several favorites in this pageant would fall off the final cut, but one crucial  factor would be conduct behind the scenes based on chaperone feedback, and there were rumors about an incident in pre-judging about one favorite insistent on keeping her makeup on when there is a standard no-makeup policy (only lipgloss is allowed) being enforced during this stage.  Could it be either of these ladies guilty of that transgression?

Ruth Ocumarez Awardees:  Gold - Paraguay, Bronze - Puerto Rico
Ruth Ocumarez Awardees: Gold – Paraguay, Bronze – Puerto Rico

I’m also grousing the fact that dark complexions are not represented in the Top 16.  I think the issue here is that the pre-judging panel have not yet fully developed an appreciation for a wider range of darker complexions–for a black lady to make the cut in this pageant she needs to be extraordinarily intelligent and committed to the cause (like the official Miss Earth 2002 Winifred Omwakwe of Kenya) or be stunningly doll-like gorgeous like in the case of the three black Miss Earth-Air winners Murielle Celimene of Martinique (2004), Amell Santana of Dominican Republic (2005) and Miriam Odemba of Tanzania (2008).  I wish that somewhere down the line, they can open up their appreciation for this year’s likes of Dominican Republic (Mayte Brito), Kenya (Lydiah Linah Manani), Namibia (Paulina Malulu), Nigeria (Damola Akinsanya), Panama (Maria Gallmore) and U.S. Virgin Islands (Esonica Veira).

Black shut-out:  Top (from L-R) -- Dominican Republic, Kenya, and Namibia; Bottom (from L-R) -- Nigeria, Panama, and U.S. Virgin Islands
Black shut-out: Top (from L-R) — Dominican Republic, Kenya, and Namibia; Bottom (from L-R) — Nigeria, Panama, and U.S. Virgin Islands
For a black delegate, you need to be extraordinarily bright…: Miss Earth 2002 official winner Winifred Omwakwe of Kenya
...or extraordinarily beautiful:  Miss Earth - Air winners Murielle Celimene of Martinique (2004), Amell Santana of Dominican Republic (2005), and Miriam Odemba of Tanzania (2008)
…or extraordinarily beautiful: Miss Earth – Air winners Murielle Celimene of Martinique (2004), Amell Santana of Dominican Republic (2005), and Miriam Odemba of Tanzania (2008)

The closest thing to a head-scratcher in the Top 16 for me is Egypt (Nancy Magdy).  Figure- and catwalk-wise she lagged behind the rest of the semifinalists, but I’m not mad at her inclusion as she’s still attractive and I heard reports that she is such a likable personality that she won over the pre-judging panel and the Carousel insiders.

I may have placed Slovak Republic (Daria Fabrici) in my Striking Distance list, but I didn’t realize how there are many pageant fans who looked beyond her frizzy hairdo to see that gorgeous face underneath.  It also helps matters that she tamed her frizz when it counted the most, that is why ultimately she went as far as the Final Eight.  The Phineas and Ferb song “Izzy’s Got the Frizzies” kept playing in my head whenever I see her, and with her surname, I fantasize creating a meme superimposing her face to the Isabella (Izzy) character of that Disney cartoon and call the song “Fabrici’s Got the Frizzies”.  Anyway, excellent job on her!

There was some speculation of bad tidings by the other contestants over the results as they were not shown coming forward to congratulate the winners.  Actually, being there at the venue I didn’t really hear such foul sentiments and after the cameras stopped rolling the girls did come forward to hug and/or congratulate the winners or do the requisite selfies with them.  A case in point would be this picture I took from my cellphone of Kenya congratulating Miss Earth – Fire Russia (Anastasia Trusova).  It’s nice seeing different races interacting together in harmony like that sight.  It’s such a shame my cellphone battery fizzles out so easily that I wish I would’ve taken more pictures of the even (and pose with more selfies with the winners and candidates–as it is I only manage a selfie with Miss Earth-Fire, Russia

Miss Earth – Fire Russia being congratulated by Miss Kenya.

I am planning to do a full-fledged review of this pageant, though it is likely going to be posted after the Miss World pageant is over.  Sure, there are pageant fans and pundits who would be grousing about the homeland decision, but this is a result I can live with and it is justifiable.  I did observe that there is a pattern I noticed from six years ago when we last won the crown.  For the Elemental Queens, all I’ll say is congratulations on a job well done!

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

The Elemental Court: Miss Earth-Water Venezuela, Miss Earth 2014 Philippines, Miss Earth-Air U S A, and Miss Earth-Fire Russia

Images courtesy of Bruce Casanova for OPMB Worldwide and this blogger unless otherwise indicated.

MISS EARTH 2014: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (CONCLUSION)

NETHERLANDS – Talisa Wolters.  In general this blonde is polished and good looking.  A possible sleeper into the Top 16.  She also earned a silver for friendship.

NEW ZEALAND – Sheree Anderson.  See NETHERLANDS, albeit not as tall and has not garnered a medal.

NIGERIA – Damola Akinsanya.  Behind Kenya, she’s the second best-looking black African in this pageant.  There are some pageant fans and pundits who are including her in their Top 16 list.  It is indeed possible.  She got one gold medal for being Best Teacher in her group.

Group 3 Best Teacher – Bronze – England, Gold – Nigeria, Silver – U S A

PAKISTAN – Shanzay Hayat.  She made the Top 20 in last year’s Miss Grand International.  She is arguably the best-looking representative ever fielded by this country to this contest.  I have a feeling the fortunes between her and Paraguay would reverse for this pageant from their Grand International stint–Paraguay will most likely make the cut while she would be likely be shut out.  It’s still conceivable that she could make the final cut but it’s a crowded field this year.  Anyway, she made the medal board as she earned gold for her talent.

Group 3 Talent winners: Silver – Kenya, Gold – Pakistan, Bronze – Kazakhstan

POLAND – Patrycja Dorywalska.  She has the smoldering sexy looks that could earn her a slot in the Top 16.  She only garnered one medal–a bronze for swimsuit–but she has a strong presence and great looks to be taken into serious consideration.

ROMANIA – Andreea Chiru.  She competed in last year’s Miss World and didn’t make an impact, and it’s likely the same scenario will take place here.

RUSSIA – Anastasia Trusova.  Based on the medals she garnered she is one of the ladies who could be in line for an element.  She garnered gold in evening gown, silver in national costume, and bronze in cocktail wear.  She was also rated as one of the top 10 Eco-Beauty videos, though personally I would’ve preferred another contender to take her slot–I don’t quite believe some of the facts she is stating about her country in her video, especially in relation to news stories we hear regarding this nation lately.  Anyway, she does have what it takes to generate her nation’s best showing to this pageant.

Group 3 Evening Gown winners: Bronze – U S A, Gold – Russia, Silver – Venezuela

SAMOA – Natasha Westropp.  She’s attractive, but clearly not in serious contention for the finals.

SINGAPORE – Silvia Lam.  I regard here as a polished contender.  She can strike a sexy presence especially in her form-fitting national costume.  She earned a bronze medal for friendship.

ST. LUCIA – Francillia Austin.  See HAITI, with extra polish.

SWEDEN – Frida Fornander.  She’s a pretty blonde who needs a little polish to make maximum impact.  But still, it’s conceivable she can make the cut as a refreshing choice.

THAILAND – Sasi Sintawee.  She employs sex appeal to generate maximum impact.  And thus far it’s working with gold medal wins in swimsuit and cocktail wear, plus a silver in resorts wear.  On top of that, she made the Top 10 for her Eco-Beauty video.  It seems she has an inside track into the Top 16, with the possibility of going as far as her dethroned predecessor.

Group 3 Swimsuit winners: Bronze – Poland, Gold – Thailand, Silver – U S A
Group 3 Cocktail Wear Winners: Bronze – Russia, Gold – Thailand, Silver – Venezuela

U S A – Andrea Neu.  I didn’t quite get her when she competed at last year’s Miss International and made the Top 15.  But I’m starting to get her as she competes here–she is evoking the vibe of one of my favorite beauty queens–the legendary hardest-working beauty queen Natascha Börger.  She is one of the more prominent players garnering a gold for  resorts wear, silver for Best Teacher and swimsuit, and bronze for evening gown.  She seems to have an inside track of garnering an element during the finals–but it’s going to be a tightly fought contest.

Group 3 Resort Wear winners: Bronze – Venezuela, Gold – U S A, Silver – Thailand
Natascha Borger at Miss Universe 2002 (image courtesy of Miss Universe LP LLLP)

VENEZUELA – Maira Alejandra Rodriguez.  She was originally designated to compete in this pageant the following year, but the designated representative was deemed by Osmel as unfit to compete so he accelerated her to compete this year.  She is rated by most pageant fans and pundits as a major favorite, and it shows that even if she didn’t garner gold, she won the most medals with five.  She garnered four silvers for Darling of the Press, evening gown, cocktail wear, and national costume, and a bronze for resorts wear.  It’s not a 100% guarantee that all these awards would mean she will ultimately make the final cut, but indications seem to be heading toards that direction.  The rumored presence of Osmel Sousa in the pageant finals may also factor in guaranteeing her presence in the Top 16.

Now that all 85 delegates are accounted for, let me trot out my leaderboard to show how I think they all stack up:

TOP CONTENDERS:  PHILIPPINES, SPAIN

SHOO-INS:  PARAGUAY,  RUSSIA, THAILAND, U S A, VENEZUELA

LIKELIEST:  AUSTRIA, BOLIVIA, BRAZIL, COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, EL SALVADOR, ENGLAND, FRANCE, HUNGARY, INDIA, JAPAN, KAZAKHSTAN, KENYA, KOREA, MAURITIUS, MEXICO, MONGOLIA, NAMIBIA, NETHERLANDS, NEW ZEALAND, NIGERIA, PAKISTAN, PANAMA, PERU, POLAND, PUERTO RICO, SCOTLAND, SLOVENIA, SOUTH AFRICA, SWITZERLAND, TAHITI, UKRAINE, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, ZAMBIA

COMMITMENT FACTOR: NEPAL, SRI LANKA, TANZANIA, ZIMBABWE

EXCELLENT:  AUSTRALIA, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA, CANADA, P R CHINA, CURACAO, DENMARK, EGYPT, GABON, GUATEMALA, GUYANA, INDONESIA, MALAYSIA, MYANMAR, NORTHERN IRELAND, REUNION ISLAND, SINGAPORE, SLOVAK REPUBLIC, SWEDEN,

VERY STRONG:  CHILE, CZECH REPUBLIC, FIJI, GERMANY, GUAM, LATVIA, PORTUGAL

STRONG:  BELGIUM, CROATIA, ECUADOR, ISRAEL, ITALY, LEBANON, MADAGASCAR, SAMOA, ST. LUCIA

VERY GOOD:  BOTSWANA, GHANA, HAITI, ROMANIA

GOOD:  CHINESE TAIPEI, TONGA

So here is my “Fearful” Forecast:

TOP FOUR:  PARAGUAY, PHILIPPINES, SPAIN, THAILAND

TOP EIGHT:  INDIA, RUSSIA, U S A, VENEZUELA

TOP 16:  BOLIVIA, BRAZIL, FRANCE, PUERTO RICO, SLOVENIA, TAHITI, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, ZAMBIA

BUBBLING UNDER:   AUSTRIA, COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, EL SALVADOR, ENGLAND, FRANCE, HUNGARY, JAPAN, KAZAKHSTAN, KENYA, KOREA, MAURITIUS, MEXICO, MONGOLIA, NAMIBIA, NETHERLANDS, NEW ZEALAND, NIGERIA, PAKISTAN, PANAMA, PERU, POLAND, SCOTLAND, SOUTH AFRICA, SWITZERLAND, UKRAINE

STRIKING DISTANCE:  AUSTRALIA, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA, CANADA, P R CHINA, CURACAO, DENMARK, EGYPT, GABON, GUATEMALA, GUYANA, INDONESIA, MALAYSIA, MYANMAR, NEPAL, NORTHERN IRELAND, REUNION ISLAND, SINGAPORE, SLOVAK REPUBLIC, SRI LANKA, SWEDEN, TANZANIA, ZIMBABWE

There are 42 top-notch contenders fighting for 16 slots.  There are several interesting and satisfying combinations that can be derived from them.  The key questions would be these:  Would we have our 2nd Miss Earth win?  Would Spain finally garner its first win?  How many blacks/Africans will make the final cut?  How many Latinas?  How many Latinas of color?  How many Asians?  How many blondes?  Will Venezuela garner an element?  Whatever the case, it will be a close battle as I see it.  Good luck to all the ladies!

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

I

MISS EARTH 2014: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 5)

CURACAO – Akisha Albert.  She’s generally attractive and polished, and would make more serious inroads in a less competitive year.

ECUADOR – Maria Jose Maza.  Her features are a bit too strong for most people’s tastes, including mine.  Still, we have to hand it to her that she’s generally polished, but well, the Latina contingent is formidable this year.

EL SALVADOR – Georgina Gonzalez.  She may not tally medals, but I think she has the sort of girl-next-door looks that can pull off a sleeper surprise.

ENGLAND – Gabriela Gatehouse.  Facewise, this brunette is attractive but there are prettier and more stunning faces out there.  She tends to take the sexy path, judging from the provocative neckline of the gown she wore in the evening gown competition, and the hotpants-with-thigh-high-kinky-boots style of her beefeater costume.  Anyway, she made a major splash on the medal board as she garnered golds for costume and friendship and a bronze as Best Teacher.

Group 3 Friendship winners: Bronze – Singapore, Gold – England, Silver – Netherlands
Europe National Costume winners: Bronze – Spain, Gold – England, Silver – Russia

GERMANY – Arta Muja.  She’s good looking but raw.  As a result, she couldn’t make as much impact as she potentially could with her looks.

GHANA – Nana Ama Odama-Okyere.  She is the BB Sweepstakes winner for this edition of this pageant.  Her facial features are very plain to my taste, so I don’t foresee her making any serious inroads into the finals.

INDONESIA – Annisa Ananda Nusyirwan.  Her Asian features are not really to the Filipinos’ tastes, but she is making the most of what she has.  She garnered a gold for her national costume.

Asia/Pacific National Costume winners: Bronze – India, Gold – Indonesia, Silver – Philippines

ISRAEL – Tala Safadi.  She is cute, but clearly overshadowed by her peers.

 

KAZAKHSTAN – Assel Zholdassova.  She seems to make a striking presence onstage, and she has appealing features to boot.  She’s on the medal map with a bronze for talent, but I can see her making inroads into the Top 16.

KENYA – Lydiah Linah Manani.  She is the best-looking dark-skinned African in this year’s batch, in my opinion.  But buzz is muted about her.  She figured in the medal board with a silver in talent.  She could still be one of the sleeper possibilities for the Top 16.

MAURITIUS – Anne Sophie Lalanne.  I find her better looking that the one who made the cut last year.  But with a competitive group like this year, I’m not certain she can duplicate her predecessor’s feat.

MEXICO – Yareli Carillo.  She seems to have great looks and charisma, though it seems it falls short for her to medal, though she made such a positive impression that several pageant fans and pundits have included her in their Top 16 lists.  It is highly possible, but there are just so many possible scenarios equally likely to take place.

MYANMAR – Ei Mon Khine.  It seems this country is developing an avid internet pageant following, and those followers helped propel her to a bronze medal finish in the online photogenic vote.  It’s a remote possibility she could conceivably made the final cut, but there are formidable contenders out there.

NEPAL – Prinsha Shrestha.  She doesn’t make an impact looks-wise, but her Eco-Beauty video is for me one of the best and most impactful–it being touted as one of the 10 best is well deserved in this case.  The video talks about a grassroots potato pancake project–it’s earnest and serious and all, though I feel that for some Filipino viewers like myself, the 1985  Japanese anime version of A Little Princess (called Princess Sarah), which was phenomenally popular in our shores in the early 1990s would pop to mind–for Filipinos, remember those amusing viral internet memes?

All images courtesy of Carousel Productions and Bruce Casanova for OPMB Worldwide unless otherwise indicated.

COMING UP:  NETHERLANDS to VENEZUELA and the “FEARFUL” FORECAST