Monthly Archives: October 2016

MISS EARTH 2016: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (CONCLUSION)

PANAMA – Virginia Hernandez.  She’s a strong Latina, but overshadowed by fiercer Latinas out there. But if one is in the mood for someone refreshing, she can be a sleeper surprise.  At least she garnered a silver in long gown.

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PARAGUAY – Vanessa Alexandra Ramírez.  She’s another strong, fierce Latina, but again attention has been placed towards the likes of Ecuador and Venezuela, and to a lesser extent, Bolivia, Colombia, and Mexico.

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PHILIPPINES – Imelda Schweighart.  When she competed in the Golden Batch of Binibining Pilipinas (2013), I liked her and found her good looking and she gave a good answer in the final Q&A and thought she’ll be a worthwhile choice for international pageants in the future.  I’m fine with her when she joined Miss World Philippines last year, but when she dropped out and I learned about her incomprehensible Facebook post explaining her withdrawal (some esoteric musing that mentioned God), I started losing my regard for her and now consider her as a “flaky” girl.  When she won Miss Philippines-Earth, I was hoping she had finally gotten her act together, but then came her pronouncements post-pageant that she was bullied by other contestants and it divided observers whether they should give her their sympathy or was she whining too much.

But we still hope she will pull it together, but then came three incidents that may not only derail any prospects of a Philippine three-peat, but may even shut her out of the Top 16.  First was that viral video where she was conversing with Miss Austria and inappropriately mentioned Duterte’s controversial self-comparisons to Hitler, which of course made Miss Austria cringe.  In her inimitable style, Imee took to social media to apologize, but her apology included her describing herself as an “extremist”, which doesn’t make any sense.  Then, there was this talk about how she persuaded a few other delegates to eat the seeds of the mangosteen–which is not meant to be eaten and toxic.  The third incident involved post preliminary judging, when Imee posted on her Facebook account alluding to two former beauty queens seemingly acting disrespectful to her.  It turns out of those queens was Miss Earth 2008 Karla Henry who wrote a scathing reaction to Imee’s post.  Such antics have derailed many perceived favorites in this pageant over the years, so things are not looking good for Imee and our country in this pageant–we may just rely on a surrogate consolation with the presence of Sweden’s Cloie Skarne.  It looks like Imee’s only path from hereon is a tacky reality TV career.  Such a shame as you have the good looks and communication skills to makeit.

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POLAND – Magdalena Kucharska.  She resembles actress Laura Dern.  Now Laura Dern looks aren’t the sort that is favored in pageants, so besides having seen better representatives from this country, I doubt this lady will make the final cut.

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Laura Dern (image courtesy of Daily Mail)

SERBIA – Teodora Janković.  She seems to be a pretty girl who hasn’t been receiving buzz.  Lacking an Eco-Beauty video does not help matters.

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SIERRA LEONE – Josephine Kamara.  Most people don’t respeond to her sort of beauty, but she exudes a vibrant charm about her with her bright, cheery smile.

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SINGAPORE – Manuela Bruntraeger.  Wonder why she lacks an eco-beauty video?  She actually seems to be a worhwhile contender who garnered two medals, a silver in friendship and bronze in long gown.  She can be another refreshing sleeper choice for the finals.

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SLOVAK REPUBLIC – Kristina Sulova.  She has a great figure as she earned a tie for bronze with Uruguay in teh swimsuit competition.  I think the closed door preliminary judging primarily takes into account figure, so it might bode well for her prospects.

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SOUTH AFRICA – Nozipho Magagula.  There is a three-way battle for the “African-Most-LikelY” to make the final cut.  This lady could be it, and wonder if there will be more who’ll join her, like Nigeria and Kenya.

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THAILAND -Atcharee Buakhiao.  She made the biggest splash in national costume with her fabulous peacock-inspired outfit.  She’s not as conventionally pretty as her predecessors, but still it’s possible for her to make the final cut.

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UGANDA – Priscilla Achieng.  She garnered gold for national costume for her continent.  She’s attractive, but then again, probably not something most Filipinos would appreciate.

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URUGUAY – Valeria Barrios.  Judging form her bronze medal in swimsuit, she could be a sleeper choice to make the final cut.  She reminds me of singer Sara Bareilles.

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Sara Bareilles (image courtesy of Epic Records)

VENEZUELA – Stephanie de Zorzi.  She was supposed to be the representative for 2014, but Osmel punished her for gaining weight (she and her colleagues from her batch seemed to be notorious for that) and sent her successor instead.  Now that Osmel lost the franchise (rather acrimoniously), she got the right to compete in this pageant finally, and she’s in great fighting form.  She seems bound to garner an element, garnering sliver as Darling of the Press and bronzes for photogenic and resorts wear.

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WALES – Charlotte Hitchman.  here is another quality delegate, who is the surprisse gold medal winner in swimsuit.  It makes her a probable choice for the Top 16.

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Now that every one’s accounted for let me trot out my leaderboard:

TOP CONTENDERS:  AUSTRALIA, ECUADOR, U S A, VENEZUELA

SHOO-IN:  BOLIVIA, COLOMBIA, ENGLAND, MEXICO, RUSSIA, SWEDEN

LIKELIEST:  AUSTRIA, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA, BRAZIL, CANADA, CZECH REPUBLIC, DENMARK, INDIA, INDONESIA, ITALY, JAPAN, KENYA, LEBANON, MOLDOVA, MONGOLIA, NIGERIA, PARAGUAY, PERU, PHILIPPINES, SINGAPORE, SOUTH AFRICA, THAILAND, UKRAINE, URUGUAY, VIETNAM, WALES

EXCELLENT:  BELGIUM, BELIZE, CROATIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, GHANA, GUAM, GUATEMALA, KOREA, KYRGYZSTAN, MACAU S A R, MALAYSIA, NEPAL, NETHERLANDS, NORTHERN IRELAND, PAKISTAN, PANAMA, SERBIA, SLOVAK REPUBLIC, SURINAME, ZIMBABWE

VERY STRONG:  CHILE, CHINA, CHINESE TAIPEI, CYPRUS, HUNGARY, ISRAEL, MALTA, MAURITIUS, MYANMAR, NAMIBIA, POLAND, PORTUGAL, REUNION ISLAND, SLOVENIA, SRI LANKA, UGANDA, ZAMBIA

STRONG:  ARGENTINA, BAHAMAS, COOK ISLANDS, HAITI, IRAQ, NEW ZEALAND, SWITZERLAND

VERY GOOD:  GUADELOUPE, SIERRA LEONE

GOOD: PALESTINE, ROMANIA

Now, here is my “Fearful” Forecast:

TOP FOUR:  AUSTRALIA, ECUADOR, SWEDEN, U S A

TOP EIGHT:  BOLIVIA, MEXICO, RUSSIA, VENEZUELA

TOP 16:  COLOMBIA, DENMARK, ENGLAND, ITALY, MONGOLIA, SINGAPORE, SOUTH AFRICA, VIETNAM

BUBBLING UNDER:   AUSTRIA, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA, BRAZIL, CANADA, CZECH REPUBLIC, INDIA, INDONESIA, JAPAN, KENYA, LEBANON, MOLDOVA, MONGOLIA, PARAGUAY, PERU, PHILIPPINES, THAILAND, UKRAINE, URUGUAY, WALES

STRIKING DISTANCE:  BELGIUM, BELIZE, CROATIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, GHANA, GUAM, GUATEMALA, KOREA, KYRGYZSTAN, MACAU S A R, MALAYSIA, NEPAL, NETHERLANDS, NORTHERN IRELAND, PAKISTAN, PANAMA, SERBIA, SLOVAK REPUBLIC, SURINAME, ZIMBABWE

I have this gnawing feeling that once the Philippines miss the cut the crowd sentiments that traditionally would be directed towards her would shift towards Sweden, and this would help her garner an element–now the question is, will this then result in a crown for Sweden to implicitly achieve the Philippine Three-Peat?  Or will long-time front-runner Ecuador prevail?  Australia, USA, and yes, Venezuela are also formidable forces to reckon with.  Let’s see if Imee can still get away with making the cut despite all the pre-pageant antics.  Best of luck to all the ladies!

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

MISS EARTH 2016: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 5)

GROUP 3:

AUSTRIA – Kimberly  Budinsky.  She’s attractive, but we’ve seen better representatives from her country before.  Anyway, she may garner a sympathy vote because of an incident involving a careless remark by a fellow delegate that has gone viral

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CANADA – Tamara Jemuovic.  She’s a very articulate lady with strong commitment to the cause.  She’s also good looking, but well, normally the Miss Earth judges tend to have a bias against blondes.  But if they allow room for a few, she can make inroads.

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CHINA – Xiaohan Gang.  She seems polished, but not that conventionally pretty.  Still she can deliver a creditable performance.

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CZECH REPUBLIC – Kristýna Kubíčková.  She is not as drop-dead gorgeous as predecessors such as Miss Earth 2012 Tereza Fajksova but she’s still great looking.  We’ll see if there’ll be room for blondes like her and Canada.  She garnered a silver for talent.

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ECUADOR – Katherine Espín.  She seems to be the prohjibitive favorite to win it all, considering she garnered the most medals with five, gold for Darling of the Press, Long Gown, and Resorts Wear, plus silver in Swimsuit and bronze in National Costume.  She does impress in her Eco-Beauty video that she can join the footsteps of the 2011 winner Olga Alava.

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GUATEMALA -Stephanie Sical.  She has interesting facial bone strucutre.  She is a worthwhile contender.

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HAITI – Valierie Alcide.  She’s attractive, but doesn’t seem to generate buzz or impact.  At least she got the consolation of garnering bronze in talent.

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INDONESIA – Luisa Andrea Soemitha.  This country has made a major splash recently with a win in Miss Grand International and 2nd runner-up in Miss International.  She’s attractive, but I don’t know if she’ll sustain the big streak.  It is possible, though.  She garnered bronze in national costume.

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ISRAEL -Mira Kahli.  She’s attractive, but needs more sparkle in the charisma department.

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KENYA – Grace Wanene.  Most pageant fans and pundits felt she’s the African-most-likely as she is considered the prettiest among the Africans this year.  I agree, but she has not garnered any medal.  I won’t count her out because of that since medals don’t really carry that much weight anyway.

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KOREA – Chae-Yeung Lee.  She’s good looking and tirm, but we have seen other Koreans whith charisma and spark before, and she falls a bit short on those.

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MONGOLIA – Enkhbor Azbileg.  This country has been on a hot streak since 2014, with a Top Eight finish that year, and making the Top 16 in 2015 (though many pageant fans and pundits–including myself) felt that one should’ve gone all the way to the Top Eight and maybe even win it all.  Her contortionist talent was unique and sensational enough that she earned gold for talent.

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NETHERLANDS – Deborah van Hemert.  She has an exotic, Asian vibe about her.  She’s good looking but not as impactful as other contenders out there.  Still she’s worthwhile.

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COMING UP:  2ND HALF of GROUP 3 from PANAMA to WALES, plus the “FEARFUL” FORECAST

MISS EARTH 2016: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 4)

MYANMAR – Nang Khine Shwe Wah Win.  She has an Asian girl-next-door appeal about her.  She garneered silver for Photogenic and bronze for Friendship.  Could she parlay those to a semifinal finish?

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NEPAL – Rosharii Khatri.  She has an attractiveness about her and is a polished contender.  She garnered silver in resorts wear.

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NEW ZEALAND – Janelle Nicholas-Wright.  She has an attractive face but perhaps her thicker-than-pageant-standards figure may hinder her chances of advancing further.

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NIGERIA – Chioma Precious Obiadi.  In talk of who would become the African-most-likely, it’s currently a toss-up among this lady, Kenya, and South Africa.  Will there be room in the Top 16 for at least two of them?  She garnered a bronze for national costume in her continent.

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PAKISTAN – Anzhelika Tahir.  She’s an attractive, solid contender.  She hass a surprisingly trim figure and for a staunchly Muslim country, she has no hesitation to wear a bikini.  She garnered gold in talent, in a tie with Slovenia.

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PALESTINE – Natali Kantisi.  Speaking of staunchly Muslim countries, this lady staunchly refuses to wear the regulation swimsuit as she prefers to be modestly dressed.  At least let us welcome her presence here–the first time her country saw action in any major international pageant.

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PERU – Brunella Fossa.  Here is another of the fierce Latinas in this year’s batch.  Will there be room for her in the Top 16,

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ROMANIA – Crina Stinca.  She has a severe face, and since she has no Eco-Beauty video, she might be at a big disadvantage.

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RUSSIA – Alexandra Cherepanova.  She is one of the buzzed about contenders in this year’s batch, garnering gold in long gown, silver in swimsuit, and bronze in resorts wear.

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SLOVENIA – Maja Ana Strnad.  She at least has the consolation of garnering gold in talent

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SRI LANKA – Disna Edirirathne.  Her feeatures may not be for all tastes, but she’s generally polished and worthwhile.

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SWEDEN – Cloie Skarne.  She garnered media mileage because of who her parents are:  she’s the child of actor Gabby Concepcion and model/actress/fashion designer Jenny Syquia.  She adopted the surname of her stepfather after her mother remarried in 1997.  One might assume due to practices in earlier years that she was handpicked but the fact is she competed in the Miss Universe Sweden pageant, became a runner-up and because this national pageant also holds theMiss Earth franchise, she got the right to represent Sweden in this pageant.  There is heavy talk that she’ll be the one who’ll be the contestant of Filipina heritage to make the cut (and maybe bring forth the Philippine three-peat in this pageant).  There was precedent to this–back in 2007 the Philippine representative Jeanne Harn failed to advance but the winner, Canada’s Jessica Trisko, is of Filipino descent on her monther’s side.  I don’t mind seeing her garner an element but for delicadeza I don’t want to see a three-peat (even by proxy).  The medals she garnered are bronze in long gown and silver in national costume.

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USA – Corrin Stellakis.  She’s one of those complete packages of looks, stage presence, intelligence, and environmental commitment.  She can sustain the elemental streak this country experienced with Andrea Neu in 2014 and Brittany Payne the following year.

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ZIMBABWE – Sharon Enkromelle. She garnered silver for talent.  There are people who can appreciate her looks but I don’t know if the Filipino panel feels the same way.

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COMING UP:  1ST HALF of GROUP 3, from AUSTRIA to MONGOLIA