BOTSWANA – Nicole Gaelebale. Lookswise, she is one of the weaker links in the African contingent, but in terms of personality, intelligence and commitment to the cause, she is worth reckoning. She is cited as one of the Top 10 Eco-Beauty videos.
BRAZIL – Leticia Silva. Golds in evening gown and best teacher may indicate that this lady could be on track of garnering an element. Whatever the outcome, this country consistently fields high quality contenders to this pageant–if they don’t fare high (win or earn an element), the ones who missed the cut would still be well regarded and be considered the ones who should’ve made it. Let’s see what fate holds in her cards on finals night.
CHINA PR – Shirley Sham Yen Yi. Chinese language lesson: her surname is not Mandarin, as Mandarin Chinese don’t use an “m” sound at the end of their words–they only use “n” or “ng” (or rare cases, “r”), as otherwise it would end in a vowel. It turns out she’s from Hong Kong, which explains her having an English name. Hong Kong speaks the Cantonese language, and their words could end with an “m” like in this lady’s case, or “p”, “t”, or “k”. She’s a strong communicator judging from her Eco-beauty video and in general is a worthwhile, polished contender.
COLOMBIA – Alejandra Villafañe. She is making a strong impression, as she garnered gold for swimsuit and is being raved about by pageant fans and pundits. But she is facing fierce competition from the likes of Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Venezuela–would there still be room for her in the Top 16?
CROATIA – Ana Batarelo. Just like Slovak Republic, this lady goes against the grain with her short blonde haircut. It made many pageant fans and pundits recall Dominique Rinderknecht of Switzerland, who made the Top 16 sporting a similar look. I could recall another Croatian all the way back, who sported a cropped bleach blonde haircut. I don’t really have a high regard for her, but at least she made the medal tally as she garnered a bronze for friendship.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Mayte Brito. This lady garnered a sponsor’s prizes, on top of garnering silver in resorts wear. There are a whole host of possible candidates for “black-girl-most-likely”, as besides the African contenders, there is also a fierce black Latina from Panama to contend with. Let’s see if there would be room for her in the Top 16.
EGYPT – Nancy Magdy. She is attractive and relatively polished, though besides a bronze medal for her shimmering metallic costume, she is unlikely to make serious inroads into the Top 16.
FRANCE – Laetizia Penmellen. In the early proceedings for the pageant, she has been garnering buzz as one of the big early favorites. She is undeniably gorgeous and an overall gold for the online photogenic vote is well deserved. Now, wonder what happened to her that she (along with Miss Portugal) was conspicuously absent in the national costume competition? I hope this doesn’t hurt her chances to make the final cut as her gorgeousness is just too good to waste.
GUAM – Erin Marie Camacho Wong. She is attractive and generally polished, but not really quite standing out. Still, she should be regarded as someone worthwhile.
HAITI – Fabiaula Dumas. She is otherwise polished, but her facial features are an acquired taste, and not the sort that is currently appreciated by Filipinos.
HUNGARY – Sydney Van De Bosch. If she plays her cards right, she can pull off a sleeper surprise. She is generally polished and well-spoken so even if she didn’t medal, she can still conceivably make the final cut. Her name is not really Hungarian, as her father is Dutch (it’s pronounced van de bosk).
KOREA – Sumin Shin. She is cute and there is a sparkle about her. In other years, she would be a shoo-in for the finals, but with a crowded strong field like this year, nothing is set in stone.
LATVIA – Alise Feldmane. Her features are at the border of plain and attractive–depending on the angle it could go either way.
LEBANON – Amina El Hassan. in real-world terms she will be deemed good looking but in stratified pageant standards she just couldn’t make any inroads.
All images courtesy of Carousel Productions and Bruce Casanova for OPMB Worldwide unless otherwise indicated.
COMING UP: MALAYSIA to ZAMBIA