MISS INTERNATIONAL 2016: DELEGATES REVIEW (PART 3)

NORWAY – Camilla Ellinor Devik.  I found her mother’s maiden surname is De Souza so her dark complexion may be either of Angolan, Brazilian or Mozambican origin.  She’s another one who delivered a strong performance, but let’s face it–as nice as her flowy baby blue gown was, there were other gowns that made stronger impact.  Still, a commendable performance overall.

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PANAMA – Daniela Ochoa.  Here is another gorgeous Latina who delivered a strong performance, but couldn’t make the cut.  Again it’s the case of too many steller girls but too few slots to put them in a better spotlight.

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PERU – Danea Panta.  See PANAMA

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PORTUGAL – Carina Marques Frazão.  She’s not as polished as the other contenders out there, but she actually held her own very well.  She would’ve made more inroads if this was, say, 2013, but this year is just loaded with strong performers that she’s easily overshadowed.

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PUERTO RICO – Gabriela Berrios.  I think this veteran delivered a stellar performance and I do get the hype and the frustration of Puerto RIcan fans when she was then shut out (again).  I think the Japanese-dominated panel was torn who to advance between her and Dominican Republic, and in this instance, they favored the Dominican (though I would’ve probably have it the other way around, especially with that lovely lacey evening gown).  It made me recall those the Flama videos featuring battles between who’s the best between Puerto Ricans and Dominicans and one Joanna Rants video which declared both are basically the same.

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SIERRA LEONE – Maseray Zelda Swarray.  Here is another African lady whose features are clearly not to the Japanese tastes.  It doesn’t help that her figure is considered not toned enough for pageant standards, and she’s a bit unpolished.  Still it’s nice to have some radical diversity in this mix, and with her bright spirit as experienced by her peers, she was awarded Miss International Africa.

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SINGAPORE – Wang Hui-qi.  She’s actually one of the stronger representatives fielded by this country in this pageant, but still not enough for this country to catch a break, as there are stellar Asians this year.

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SLOVAK REPUBLIC – Michaela Menkyova.  She sported one of the weakest gowns in this batch, an obviously off-the-rack white minidress-with-train-to-qualify-as-a-gown.  Besides the gown, some would also quibble that her figure may not be as well-toned and she’s not as pretty as, say, Poland.  Still if given enough support and polish she could shine.

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SOUTH AFRICA – Tharina Botes.  She’s delivered a strong performance in all categories, but still not a standout enough to bring forth her country’s breakthrough in this pageant.

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SPAIN – Anabel Delgado Torres.  This country is traditionally a powerhouse in this pageant, but it failed to make serious inroads in recent years.  This lady’s features are rather angular and plain, making her one of the weakest representatives fielded by this country.  Still I give her credit for being polished onstage.

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SRI LANKA – Ayesha Fernando.  Her red gown ins nice, but she’s obviously raw, espeically in swimsuit.

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SWEDEN – Maria Taipaleenmäki.  See NETHERLANDS and NEW ZEALAND.  There are simply other blondes that impressed the judging panel more than these ladies.

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TAIWAN – Ai-Ning Tan.  She’s the rawest among the contestants in this batch.

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TUNISIA – Hiba Telmoudi.  Is she another talisman like the USA’s Olivia Jordan?  She competed with Megan Young at Miss World 2013 and now she competed with a Filipina who ended up winning the pageant.  Anyway, she’s a tad voluptuous for Japanese tastes, and a tad less polished onstage.  This country enjoyed a heyday back between 1996-2000 as it made the final cut four times in that period (it only missed 1999) and got as far as 1st runner-up in 1996.  Another piquant note–considering that back in Bali she had to be modestly draped in sarong in the Beach Beauty roudn, her swimsuit in this pageant revealed a lot of cleavage.

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UKRAINE – Viktoria Klose.  Prior to the pageant finals, I preferred this brunette over Russia.  She was actually solid onstage, but I realize what made her fell short is flaws in styling, especially sporting those dark platform heels during swimsuit and evening gown–they are called “hooker heels” and I realize those shoes do make one look cheap.

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UNITED KINGDOM – Romy Simpkins.  I bought into the hype about her, and I still maintains she delivered on the hype, though I have to agree Canada overshadowed her.  I think she missed the final cut by very little, though I still wish she made the cut instead of say, Russia, El Salvador, and Dominican Republic.  I could find any fault with her performance at all.

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VENEZUELA – Jessica Duarte.  I’m still lamenting the elimination of “Marmegantina”.  I’m still mesmerized by her gorgeousness and I so adore her red evening gown with elaborate dramatic train–for me it’s the second most impressive gown of the night.  So what gives?

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VIETNAM – Phạm Ngọc Phương Linh.  Here is another pretty Asian who delivered a consistently sterling performance but there is room for only four Asians in the Top 15.

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All images courtesy of Jory Rivers for OPMB Worldwide unless otherwise indicated.

COMING UP:  THE TOP 15

MISS INTERNATIONAL 2016: DELEGATES REVIEW (PART 2)

HAWAII – Guinevere Davenport.  She was another of the biggest onstage revelations for me, as she was totally lit up all throughout.  I like the way she shook her booty in her hula costume, how she’s brightly beachy vibrant in swimsuit, and elegant in her long-sleeved white evening gown.  I thought she should be a shoo-in for the Top 15, but the predominantly Japanese panel doesn’t seem to agree with me here and hence she was shut-out.  I realize on photos her torso may register as a tad thick and maybe that’s the quibble the Japanese judges had with her.

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HONDURAS – Andrea Nicol Salinas.  She’s solid, but I think the huge masses of wavy hair was a bit too distracting and not to the judging panels’ (nor my) tastes.

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HONG KONG – Kelly Chan.  In other years she could be a middle-of-the-pack contender but ins extremely stratified edition she’s one of the weakest links.  I’d love to give her credit for doing the Taliana Twirl in her royal blue evening gown, but the gown is just too off-the-rack for that move to have any impact.  At least she has the consolation of winning the congeniality-themed Miss International Asia.

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HUNGARY – Csillag Szabó.  She’s trim and good looking, but it’s just that there are prettier choices who made more impact out there.  Still a worthwhile performance.

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INDIA – Rewati Chetri.  She may not be as pretty as other Indian representatives before her, but she’s a strong performer onstage, and was a dreamy presence in her layered ombre purple gown.  there are so few slots for so many strong Asians.

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IRELAND – Katherine Gannon.  Her makeup and hairstyling was too 1990s pageant-patty for comfort, and her relatively thick figure doesn’t help matters.

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KOREA – Kim Min-jeong.  Here’s another lady who did everything right but whose efforts were not enough to impress the judging panel.  The Japanese are not in the mood to revive the “goodwill” slots they typically accord this country in the 1990s-2000s.  But to me her performance was at a high level–it’s just that at least 30 others are also at that level.

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LEBANON – Stephanie Karam. It’s noted tjat this lady actually grew up and lives in Mexico, but has her heritage from this country–think the scenario of Lebanon’s represenative in 2008, Jessica Kahawaty, who was actually Australian (and represented Australia in Miss World 2012, ending up as 2nd runner-up).  But unlike Jessica who ended up as a semifinalist that year, this lady fell a bit short with her too-voluptuous-for-Japanese-tastes figure and pageant patty lacy red gown.

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MACAU – Ip Su-lin.  Of the Chinese contingent, she’s the strongest one out there–it seems this year this Chinese Special Administrative Region has been fielding quality contenders in the international pageant arena, and this lady, although missing the cut, is one of them.

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MALAYSIA – Olivia Constance Nicholas.  Just like India, Korea, and Macau, another stellar Asian that the judges couldn’t find room in in the Top 15.

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MAURITIUS – Shavina Hulka.  She’s attractive, but she’s one of the few raw ones onstage this year.

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MOLDOVA =- Alina Kirchiu.  She garnered the honors of Miss Perfect Body (the equivalent of Best in Swimsuit).  She does have the trim model’s frame to be worthy of the award, and she’s generally strong onstage.  But I think if overall impression is tallied, there are at least 15 (or in my reckining, 20 to 25) others who made a much stronger impact.

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MYANMAR – Inngyin Htoo.  She’s very solid onstage, but in a year full of stellar Asians, being solid is just not good enough to make the final cut.

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NEPAL – Barsha Lekhi.  See MYANMAR< but this girl has a nice smile.

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NETHERLANDS – Melissa Gesina Scherpen.  This blonde didn’t make any mistakes and delivered a strong performance, but there are stronger blondes out there and with so few slots available, there isn’t enough room for her.  At least she got the consolation of winning Miss International Europe (a congeniality award).

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NEW ZEALAND – Jessica Tyson.  See NETHERLANDS.  I think because these two blonds came one immediately after the other, it made them appear that they are not as distinctive as they could be.

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NIGERIA – Ivie Mary Young Akpude.  She looks like a less charimatic version of actress Zoe Saldana, and because her face doesn’t light up sparks, she couldn’t open the Japanese judges’ minds the way Kenya’s Eunice Onyango did last year on her way to a 2nd runner-up finish.

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NORTHERN MARIANAS – Josifynn Vivian “Peachy” Rasa.  Well, she’s clearly not as polished and buffed as the rest of the contenders, hence she’s in the bottom of the pack.  In other years she would’ve been in the middle of the pack.

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Images courtesy of Jory Rivera for OPMB Worldwide unless otherwise indicated.

COMING UP:  NORWAY to VIETNAM

MISS INTERNATIONAL 2016: DELEGATES REVIEW (PART 1)

The Japan editions of the Miss International Beauty Pageant is notorious for its relatively unchanging format and its reputation as a snoozefest.  However, this edition was more entertaining and watchable, because of better choice of background music and the quality of this year’s contestants–it was a revelation that many of them have stronger than expected stage chops that in other years, I believe at least 30-40 of the non-finalists would make the final cut in other editions.  I bet the judges really had a difficult time winnowing them down to the final 15 and it comes with personal tastes and the minutest of details to determine who would make the final cut.  Hence, I’ll begin my review by paying tribute to all non-finalists, starting with…

ARUBA – Tania Maria Nunes.  She possesses a lovely fair Latin type of beauty with her jet black tresses, pretty face and fair complexion.  She also has solid stage skills, a trim figure, and a tasteful white evening gown.  She could’ve garnered a Top 15 placement in other editions.

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BELARUS – Polina Tsegalko.  In general she gave a solid performance all throughout as you cannot fault her figure and her stage presence.  It’s probably she’s just not as gorgeous or stunning as the other ladies in this group, and being solid is not enough to go to the next level.

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BELGIUM – Caroline Van Hoye.  She’s got good looks and makes the most of her off-the-rack beaded silver-and-purple gown.  Obviously she’s simply overshadowed by other stylish ladies out there but she deserves tribute for a strong performance.

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BOLIVIA – Katherine Añazgo.  Here’s another jet-tressed Latina looker who was in serious contention for the finals but well, didn’t win enough favor with the judges but deserves a lot more credit that she was granted–it’s such a shame there are only 15 slots available as again I reiterate, there are so many stunners out here this year.

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BRAZIL – Manoela Alves dos Santos.  It dawned on me she resembles a pre-2010-era Taylor Swift.  Now, Taylor Swift’s looks are not genarally appreciated in the pageant realm and in relation to the Brazilian stunners we’ve seen over the years, she’s like a relatively weak link.  Still we have to compliment her for her trim figure and her grey gown.

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Taylor Swift circa 2008 (image sourced from Buzzfeed)

CHINA – Xinna Zhou.  There are so many Asian stunners this year that she was clearly drowned out.  But she acquits herself very well with her trim figure, her well-fitted beaded aquamarine gown and strong catwalk.

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COLOMBIA – Daniela Herrera.  I had high expectations for “Dayaniela” that is why I put her in my “Glorious Eight” even as she didn’t seem to turn the fire up in the activities in Japan.  She did have some fire on stage, but admittedly so many others delivered spicy performances that she ultimately got drowned out.  I couldn’t really fault anything about what she did, it’s just it’s not strong enough to convincingly take her to that hallowed level.

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COSTA RICA – Raquel Maria Guevarra.  She is pretty with those lovely eyes, and was performing solidly all throughout–but what made her middle-of-the-pack was that her figure was clearly not as toned as other contenders out there.

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CUBA – Daniela Quesada.  Another fair-skinned Latina looker who deliverd solid marks all throughout, but not enough to make it to the Top 15.

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DENMARK – Sara Skals Danielsen.  We don’t typically expect Danish pageant contestants to have strong stage presence as most of the time they were raw.  But this lady is a stunning exception to that, as she turned out to be a big revelation.  Prior to the final, she registers as a plain contestant, but onstage, she evokes the elegance of Miss Universe 1992 from Namibia, Michelle McLean.  Now, this lady should’ve been in a volunteeer program to teach hundreds of girls how to catwalk and turn on the charisma onstage (unlike Josefine Hewitt, Miss Denmark Universe 2012, whose disastrous presentation show performance I continue to shudder when I recall her), because she has proven to be a master at it.

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Miss Universe 1992 Michelle McLean (image courtesy of Miss Universe Organization)

ECUADOR – Ivanna Fiorella Abad.  I think the Japanese may have found her waist a bit too thick for their taste that is why despite an overall solid performance, she expectedly fell short.  At least she got the consolation of winning Miss International America (a special award equivalent to Miss Congeniality).

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FRANCE – Khaoula Najine.  She has a pretty face, but no one can deny that her figure is pretty thick–if this was Miss Grand International, Nawat would’ve penalized her and declared her “fat”.  I’m sure the Japanese judges also have similar notions of the lean ideal, and this lady doesn’t fit the bill.

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GHANA – Cindy Kofie.  She did turn on a few sparks when she was onstage but still not enough to make another African breakthrough.  Still it’s nice to see this country debut in this pageant.

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GIBRALTAR – Joseanne Barr.  She has a trim figure and solid stage presence, but her plain, angular face is definitely not part of many people’s notion of beauty.

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GUADELOUPE – Preslile Adolphe.  The prettiest black girl of the batch, she delivered a strong performance, but well, I think if you’re black you would need to be extraordinary to make any inroads.

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GUAM – Annalyn Buan.  In real-world terms she’s gorgeous, but in pageant standards, especially as stratified as this one, she ends up as one of the weaker links.

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GUATEMALA – Laura Maria Vadillo Urrutia.  There is a significance to the last part of her name, as her mother is Miss International 1984 Ilma Julieta Urrutia.  I think traces of her mother could be seen in her pretty features and her smile and althoough she gave a strong performance, it fell short (I think pairing those black shoes with a white swimsuit was the key obstacle).

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HAITI – Cassandra Joseph.  She made things interesting by doing a mock bob (making her long hair look short)for swimsuit and evening gown.  It may not necessarily be to the Japanese judges’ tastes, but in my reckoning she gave a strong performance.

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Images courtesy of Jory Rivera for OPMB Worldwide unless otherwise indicated.

COMING UP:  HAWAII to NORTHERN MARIANAS