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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
CUBA – Daniela Quesada. Another fair-skinned Latina looker who deliverd solid marks all throughout, but not enough to make it to the Top 15.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Images courtesy of Jory Rivera for OPMB Worldwide unless otherwise indicated.
COMING UP: HAWAII to NORTHERN MARIANAS