MISTER SUPRANATIONAL 2016: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 1)

When I heard news that the World Beauty Association (the organizers of Miss Supranational) are going to host an inaugural male equivalent, I was excited as it can easily position itself like a Manhunt International with a European sensibility.  It turns out that actually they are also fusing this with elements of Mister World as they also introduced some challenge events (albeit not really that crucial in the selection of the finalists unlike in Mister World).  They include a cooking challenge and a swimming challenge, but of course the best parts are the modeling aspects, and one favorite shoot is them channelling James Bond while the reigning Miss Supranational Stephania Stegman, Miss Supranational 2014 Asha Bhatt and Miss Supranational 2015 Top Ten finalist from Australia (and commentator for these proceedings) Chris Fischer posed like Charlie’s Angels.  It was initially indicated they would be selecting a Top 25 like in Miss Supranational this year, but it’s a good thing because there are only half the roster in this contest compared to its distaff counterpart, a Top 20 is more sensible.

Interestingly one thing I observed about fledgling / up-and-coming pageants is that during their inception there is the dubious practice of the international pageant organizer handpicking locally-based expatriates to represent countries to shore up the roster.  I don’t like this practice, but I’ll give this pageant a pass as long as by the third or fourth year they eliminate this practice altogether.  I mention this because I noticed two possible representatives who might have been chosen through such practice.  Nevertheless, I still believe this is a credible pageant and there is a pretty strong quality of contenders out there.  Without further ado, let’s proceed to review them starting with…

ANGOLA – Osvaldo Chavez.  He looks generally solid, but I think attention is going towards another African or a dark-skinned Latino.

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ARGENTINA – Matt Ferrario.  Many guys sported scruffy stubbles as it’s very much an in look these days.  Thiis guy is no exception and he has a handsome face and buffed physique to boot.  But he has one key drawback–he’s one of the shorter guys in this competition, with Asha, Stephania, and Chris towering over him in the James Bond / Charlie’s Angels photo challenge.

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BELARUS – Sergey Bindalov.  He reminds me of a young Sean Bean and he exudes movie-star charisma that many are dubbing him as a favorite to win.  It does make sense as Miss Supranational tend in its early days to crown as winners countries that used to be part of the Polish Empire, and this one fits the bill.  No one is likely to object to his possible win as his charisma is too undeniable.

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Sean Bean in Caravaggio (1986)

BELGIUM – Johnny Gaspart.  Imagine Mexican telenovela star Gabriel Soto (who also happened to have been 1st runner-up in the inaugural edition of Mister World in 1996) with a dark-haired, slightly frumpier younger brother and you get this guy.  He’s great looking with a beefy physique, but a Top 20 placement is not really a sure thing, though it’s still highly possible.

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Gabriel Soto (image sourced from alchetron.com)

BRAZIL – Bruno Vanin.  Speaking of telenovela actors, imagine William Levy having a lankier-framed brother with dark hair and you get this guy.  Unlike Belgium, he oozes charisma from his pores that a Top Five placement is all but assured for him.

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William Levy (image sourced from markiza.sk)

CANADA – Matt Materiale.  He’s handsome, but perhaps just a tad too brooding.  But then girls might dig that.

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CHINA – Ximin Gao.  If this were Manhunt or Mister International, this guy will have an inside track in the finals.  But I noticed the judging panel doesn’t seem to feature anyone from East or Southeast Asia so he is facing an uphill battle making an impression.  I actually find him appealing, but I doubt he doesn’t tickle the tastes of Europeans, Latin Americans, or Indians.

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CZECH REPUBLIC – Jan Pultar.  He’s like a clean-shaven version of Mister International 2015 4th runner-up Jakub Kraus.  I just notice that it seems he and Jakub might have the same modeling coach as I notice for formal wear they exhibit the same cuff pose.  He looks poised to be a shoo-in for the Top 20 and possibly beyond.

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Jakub Kraus at Mister International 2015 (image courtesy of Joy Arguil)

DENMARK – Marcus Rosenberg.  His boyish handsomeness is undeniable, but also bolstering his appeal is his pedigree–his mom is Pia Rosenberg Larsen, who happened to have finished 1st runner-up in both Miss World and Miss International 30 years ago (yes, for the former, she beat Halle Berry).  He looks like a shoo-in to the Top Ten, but beyond that, there are formidable contenders out there, but it is still conceivable he can equal or exceed his mother’s lofty placements.

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EGYPT – Mohamed Medhat.  I hope he doesn’t get offended that I compare him to Israeli actor Oded Fehr, since despite the 1977 peace treaty Egyptians and Israelis don’t seem to get along well lately.  He has Oded’s swarthy appeal prior to his arrival and sported a full beard, but it seems he made a misstep by reducing his luscious beard into a wispy stubble and his charisma fizzled significantly since then.  He’s undeniably good looking and his mane is very enviable but it’s just frustrating he doesn’t sparkle as he could have.

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Oded Fehr in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (1999)

ETHIOPIA – Yohannes Asfaw.  I’m not certain about his charisma–it seems the Poles like him, but he registers as flat in my eye.  Also, he made a major misstep in the formal wear preliminaries as he wore a casual red outfit.  For me his chance of making the Top 20 is 50-50.

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FINLAND – Joonas Laajanen.  He stands out because he has a shaven head.  Though I don’t know if projecting a skinhead look is a good thing in this milieu.  Also, even if he has a cute boyish face and a tall stature, a key disadvantage is that his physique is not that toned (and his pale complexion doesn’t help matters).

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FRANCE – Bryan Weber.  He’s a veteran who was 4th runner-up at Mister Global 2015 and a well-regarded also-ran in Mister International 2015*.  He looks like he’ll make up for his shut-out in Mister International as the level of competition in this pageant, as high as it is, is not as heady.  Looks like a Top 20 shoo-in.

*The standard of that pageant was so stratified that even a gorgeous guy like him would struggle to make the cut–he had to live vicariously through the victory of his roommate, Switzerland’s Pedro Mendes.  He was the first to run towards Pedro when he was announced the winner and mass jubilation among the contestants ensued.

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All images courtesy of Leonardo Rodrigues for Mister Supranational unless otherwise indicated.

COMING UP:  HAWAII to PUERTO RICO

MISS SUPRANATIONAL 2016: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (CONCLUSION)

 

SOUTH AFRICA – Talitha Bothma.  There are angles where she registers as gorgeous, and I initially assume she’s the actual “African-most-likely”.  But with the wrong (heavily piled-on) makeup and wrong angles and her chances can become iffy.
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SPAIN – Estibe Hernandez.  She’s a great looking lady so I think she may have an inside track to make the Top 25.
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SRI LANKA – Ornella Miriam Gunesekere.  She is an experienced pageant veteran, having competed in Miss International six years ago and made the Top Ten in Miss Grand International last year.  I’ve noticed her close-up photos remind me of the ageless Miss Universe 1965 from Thailand, Apasra Hongsakula.  Her experience will most likely serve her well and she seems a shoo-in to make the Top 25 and beyond.
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Apasra Hongsakula (image sourced from rocketnews24.com)
SURINAME – Jaleesa Pigot.  She is the epitome of a “Black Barbie”, and pageant fans and pundits are raving about her.  I have a feeling she will go all the way to the Top Five, perhaps even being a possible crown contender.
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SWEDEN – Moa Johandersson.  She is like a tall version of actress Reese Witherspoon, and that could be her ticket to make the final cut.
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Reese Witherspoon (image courtesy of People magazine)
SWITZERLAND – Nadine Oberson.  She’s a pretty face, but her projection skills are still raw.
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THAILAND – Chatchadaporn Kimakorn.  Just like in Miss Grand International and Miss International this year, it looks like the strongest performing Asians are from Indonesia, Philippines, and this country.  There is a charisma about her that I like and she could be bound for the Top Ten (alongside Indonesia and Philippines, of course).
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TRINIDAD & TOBAGO – Lia Djemila Ross.  See JAMAICA, albeit she’s more elegant and attractive.
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TURKEY – Damla Figan.  There is something about her features that reminds me of the luminous glamour of Anne Hathaway, the prettiness of Katie Holmes, and the engaging lovely awkwardness of Anna Kendrick.  The more I look at her the more I’m mesmerized by her face, and I have a feeling the judges will likewise fall for her and become one of the big front-runners for the crown.
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Anne Hathaway (image sourced from Deavita.com)
Katie Holmes (image sourced from Mid-day.com)
Anna Kendrick (image sourced from Celebuzz.com)
UKRAINE – Anastasiya Lenna.  There are some angles where she resembles actress Jennifer Lawrence, and other angles where she resembles singer Demi Lovato.  She looks like she has an inside track to the Top 25 and beyond.
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Jennifer Lawrence (image sourced from latinpost.com)
Demi Lovato (image sourced from directlyrics.com)
UNITED STATES – Alexis Sherrill.  She may not be conventionally pretty, but do not discount her prospects as she’s a very polished contender who can deliver a radiant vibe.
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VENEZUELA – Valeria Vespoli.  So far it looks like this blonde is the favorite to win as she consistently radiates charisma whenever she appears.  She seems to have all the boxes ticked that she looks like she’s very much ahead of the pack.  Still, of course it’s still conceivable for the likes of Suriname and Turkey (and some others) to pull off an upset.
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VIETNAM – Kha Trang.  She seems to also be competing all out and making a splash with her red evening gown–she can give Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and possibly even Myanmar a run for their money.
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WALES – Joey Staerkle.  She’s a pretty girl with a trim figure, but doesn’t really sparkle as much as other contenders out there.
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All images courtesy of Milton Mieloch for Miss Supranational unless otherwise indicated.

With all 71 contestants accounted for, let me now trot out my leaderboard, as follows:

TOP CONTENDERS:  HUNGARY, INDONESIA, PHILIPPINES, SURINAME, TURKEY, VENEZUELA

SHOO-INS:  ECUADOR, INDIA, MEXICO, POLAND, SRI LANKA, THAILAND

LIKELIEST:  ALBANIA, ANGOLA, ARGENTINA, BELARUS, COLOMBIA, GIBRALTAR, MYANMAR, PANAMA, PARAGUAY, PERU, ROMANIA, RUSSIA, RWANDA,  SOUTH AFRICA, SPAIN, SWEDEN, UKRAINE, UNITED STATES, VIETNAM

HOST FACTOR:  SLOVAK REPUBLIC

HISTORICAL FACTOR:  CZECH REPUBLIC

EXCELLENT:  AUSTRALIA, BELGIUM, BOLIVIA, BRAZIL, CANADA, CHILE, CHINA, COSTA RICA, FRANCE, GERMANY, JAPAN, KOSOVO, MALAYSIA, MALTA,, NETHERLANDS, PUERTO RICO, SCOTLAND, WALES

VERY STRONG:  DENMARK, EL SALVADOR, GUYANA, MAURITIUS, SWITZERLAND

STRONG:  CROATIA, ENGLAND, GUADELOUPE, JAMAICA, KOREA, MONGOLIA, NEPAL, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

VERY GOOD:  ETHIOPIA, MACAU, NIGERIA, SINGAPORE

GOOD:  EGYPT, HAITI, PORTUGAL

Now here’s my “Fearful” Forecast:

TOP FIVE:  HUNGARY, PHILIPPINES, SURINAME, TURKEY, VENEZUELA

TOP TEN:  INDIA, INDONESIA, MEXICO, POLAND, THAILAND

TOP 25:  ARGENTINA, BELARUS, COLOMBIA, ECUADOR, MYANMAR, PARAGUAY, RWANDA, SLOVAK REPUBLIC, SOUTH AFRICA, SPAIN, SRI LANKA, SWEDEN, UKRAINE, UNITED STATES, VIETNAM

BUBBLING UNDER:  ALBANIA, ANGOLA, GIBRALTAR, PANAMA, PERU, ROMANIA, RUSSIA

STRIKING DISTANCE:  AUSTRALIA, BELGIUM, BOLIVIA, BRAZIL, CANADA, CHILE, CHINA, COSTA RICA, CZECH REPUBLIC, FRANCE, GERMANY, JAPAN, KOSOVO, MALAYSIA, MALTA,, NETHERLANDS, PUERTO RICO, SCOTLAND, WALES

In my opinion, this year’s batch is of a high quality, with several of them projecting like A-list Hollywood actresses.  However, according to some insiders there are some glaring issues behind the scenes that can threaten this pageant’s future.  Hope they can address this for future editions as it will be a waste if this implodes or collapses.  Hope they can redeem it somewhat with a great show tonight.  Best of luck to all the ladies!

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

 

MISS SUPRANATIONAL 2016: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 4)

NIGERIA – Adaeze Obasi.  I wonder why she wasn’t in the African continent introduction video above?  She has a voluminous weave, doesn’t she?
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PANAMA – Leydis Maybeth Gonzalez.  Judging from the representatives it’s been fielding lately, Panama is in a chocolate mood, isn’t it?  Kinda apt as cocoa is one of its key crops.  This lady is of the milk chocolate variety and makes a solid impression.  But I have a feeling a lady from the more southern parts is garnering most of the buzz, but it’s still possible that there coule be room for her.
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PARAGUAY – Viviana Florentin.  She’s a good follow-up to the reigning Miss Supranational Stephania Stegman, but I don’t see her achieving a back-to-back for her country.  Still, with her patrician features, slim figure, and polished presence, she is most likely going to make the Top 25.
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PERU – Silvana Vásquez.  This blonde does have good looks, though I’m not that sold on her charisma–but there are others who are into her and believe she has an inside track to the Top 25.
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PHILIPPINES – Joanna Eden.  I dub her the “Queen of Satin” as I noticed she makes superb impact in solid satin numbers, like the maroon Jessica Rabbit-inspired one she wore at Bb. Pilipinas and the off-shoulder purple number she wore at the preliminaries (Nick Verreos dubbed her the best dressed of the bunch).  There are some Filipino pageant fans and pundits who seemed somewhat less than impressed by her, but I think she got what it takes not only to make Top Ten, but even possibly go as far as Top Five.
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POLAND – Ewa Mielnicka.  It’s a given this raven-tressed lady will achieve vindication from being shut out in last year’s Miss International, and she’ll earn her keep as she has the looks, figure, and charisma to be worthy of belonging in the Top Ten.
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PORTUGAL – Linda Cardoso.  When I see her face, the first thing that comes to mind is comedian Sarah Silverman.  Fortunately she doesn’t have Sarah”s high-pitched nasal voice, but still Sarah Silverman’s looks are not the sort that is appreciated in the pageant world, on top of the fact that this lady is obviously raw.
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Sarah Silverman (image sourced from CraveOnline.com)
PUERTO RICO – Velmary Cabassa.  There are some angles where she looks good and some that are not as good.  She’s still a semifinalist possibility, albeit far from assured.
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ROMANIA – Sinziana Sirghi.  There is something about her jawline that reminds me of Miss World 1973 1st runner-up Evangeline Pascual.  She is making a strong impression and is in many pundits’ Top 25 lists.
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Evangeline Pascual (image courtesy of Tony Paat)
RUSSIA – Vlada Gritsenko.  She reminds me of Doctor Who actress (and “Honey to the Bee” singer) Billie Piper.  She doesn’t really fit my own notion of beauty, but there might be a whole bunch who would find her desirable, and that could give her an inside track to the Top 25.
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Billie Piper (image sourced from ouchpress.com)
RWANDA – Colombe Akiwacu.  It might be a tossup between her and Angola as the black-African-most-likely.  She’s got the looks to pull off a streak for her country.
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SCOTLAND – Angel Collins.  There is something about her skin color that hints she’s part-black.  She’s not your typical Scottish lass, that’s for sure.  Anyway, she is pretty, but making the Top 25 is far from assured.
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SINGAPORE – Chloe Xu.  We don’t really expect much from a Singaporean girl in an international pageant, and so this girl will likely end up another also-ran.
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SLOVAK REPUBLIC – Lenka Tekeljaková.  Her preliminary gown is a floral hot mess.  All right, she has a slim figure and an attractive face, but in any other year, she would not make the cut.  But I have a gnawing feeling because her country hosted some preliminary activities for this pageant, she will be granted a Top 25 slot.
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COMING UP:  SOUTH AFRICA to WALES, plus the “FEARFUL” FORECAST