MISS WORLD 2016: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 1)

I was expecting that since Miss World will be holding this year’s pageantt outside of China, that the internet restrictions that hampered coverage there would not be an issue for this edition, and we will be treated to extensive coverage of the events.  However, it frustratingly turned out to not be the case.  We don’t get an official disclosure on who belongs to the three teams (Red, White, and Blue), for starters (though you can deduce where many of them are, though there would be several who you still wouldn’t be able to determine).  There are reports that there is no full, overall itinerary but each day’s schedule was only being disclosed to the 117 contestants the night before or during breakfast on that day.  Some say this is deliberate as this can measure a conttestant’s readiness when any last-minute changes occur.

Anyway, at least from what we can glean, they seem to be ditching the points system–winners of the Sports, Multimedia, Talent, Top Model, and Beauty with a Purpose challenge events get an automatic slot to the Top 20, and the rest of that roster would be determined via judges’ interviews.

The roster of 117 is the third highest in this pageant, behind the 2013 (127) and 2014 (121) editions.  Many pageant fans and pundits are all agog with the quality of this year’s contestants.  Is it justified?  Without further ado, let’s examine them starting with…

ALBANIA – Ëndrra Kovaçi.  We’ve seen prettier representatives from this coutnry before.  Her facial features are a tad too angular for my taste and she has not made a splash in any challenge event.

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ANTIGUA & BARBUDA – Latisha Greene.  It’s nice to see this country back after an eight-year absence.  Still she’s drowned out by other Caribbean standouts out there (especially those of the Latin variety) and she has not figured in any challenge event.

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Antigua & Barbuda (L), with Nigeria (C), Turkey (3rd from R), South Africa (2nd from R) and GEO (R)

ARGENTINA – Camila Macías.  She’s a pretty lady who figured so far in Beauty with a Purpose (BWAP) project as one of the 37 viewed for final judging.  She could be considered a more-than-worthwhile contender.

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ARUBA – Lynette Fatima Agrela do Nascimento.  This fair-complexioned lass figured in the Sports challenge, as part of the Blue team.  She looks like a strong communicator too, so it’s possible she could be a sleeper surprise for the Top 20.

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AUSTRALIA – Madeline Cowe.  She exudes an abundance of that sunny Aussie charm that she seems to have an inside track into the Top 20 and beyond.  She also made her presence felt in Sports (part of the winning Red Team) and her Beauty with a Purpose (BWAP) project helping the Aborigine chlidren was part of the Top 24 (yes, I dare say it–though Miss World made a requisite denial about it*) selected for double viewing (first in a special event then among the 37 being deliberated upon for final judging).  There are also reports that she was one of the very few select ladies being called back for a second interview with the final panel of judges, which bodes well that she may make the Top Ten.

* Back in 2011, Miss World publicized ten selected ladies for their BWAP projects but also made the same denial that those weren’t the Top Ten.  But since the scores for this category was also disclosed, it turned out they are indeed the Top Ten.

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AUSTRIA – Dragana Stankovic.  This blonde made a splash in Sports as part of the White team and her BWAP project was among the 37 screened for final deliberation.

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BAHAMAS – Ashley Bettina Hamilton.  Her facial features are a tad too angular for my taste and her makeup and lighting for her introduction video made me assume she was suffering from vitilgo (she doesn’t).  Anyway, at least her BWAP project was among the 37 deliberated upon.

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BELARUS – Polina Borodacheva.  She has a pretty face but has not figured in any challenge events.  Can interview save her prospects?  (Well remember there were times this country made the leaderboard because of interview, like back in 2013).

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BELGIUM – Lenty Frans.  She’s otherwise gawky and unpolished, but her BWAP project helping children in Cambodia would most likely give her some serious inroads into the finals.

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BELIZE – Iris Carmen Salguero.  She has not figured in any challenge event and her online presence is relatively minimal, though it’s sweet for Miss India to give her a spotlight, citing her for a profound, wise quote:  “Live one day at a time and be a better person than yesterday.

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With Miss India (R)

BOLIVIA – Leyda Lourdes Suárez Aldana.  She’s attractive enough to make a positive impression, though she has not figured in any challenge event.

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BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA – Halida Krajišnik.  She registers as a less-than-polished but sweet ingenue.  Still don’t fully count her out.

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BOTSWANA – Thata Kenosi.  Here is an otherwise attractive lady and strong communicator who seems overshadowed by other contenders out there.

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BRAZIL – Beatrice Bezerra da Fontoura.  Here is a surprise:  this lady failed to figure in any of the challenge events, not even BWAP (which usually is a stronghold for this country).  She seems to have everything else on-point, so what gives?  Can she salvage her fortunes with a high interview score?  Or is she a candidate for the Holly Carpenter award?

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BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS – Kadia Turnbull.  We don’t really expect much for a representative from this country and since she didn’t figure in any challenge event, her best strategy is to enjoy her U.S. stay to the fullest.

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BULGARIA – Galina Asenova Mihaylova.  She’s clearly a raw ingenue but at least she made a big splash in Sports as part of the Blue Team.

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CANADA – Anastasia Lin.  It’s quite a journey for this lady–she was supposed to compete the previous year, but since her advocacy is against wholesale government organ harvesting of Falun Gong prisoners, she was banned from entering China to compete.  At least now that it’s held in the US, she got to compete, but that advocacy again stirred controversy this year as there was talk that she was being prohibited by the Miss World Organization to speak about her cause or appear in a movie premiere as she starred in a film related to that cause.  In the end, she was allowed to speak and attend that premiere, and she also has the consolation of making the Top Ten in talent with her piano playing skills.

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CAYMAN ISLANDS – Monyque Roshel Brooks.  She stands out with her boyish haircut.  She made the Sports challenge short list as part of the Red Team.

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In the middle between Scotland (L) and England (R)

CHILE – Antonia Cristal Figueroa Alvarado.  She is memorable for her violin-playing skills that gave her a Top Ten showing in Talent, and that mass of curly ebony tresses.  Her BWAP project helping children via music also made the Top 24.  She can be a Top 20 possibility.

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CHINA – Jing Kong.  I know some Filipino fans are in an uproar when it was announced she won Top Model–which gives her a guaranteed place in the Top 20.  Well, one needs to note that modeling doesn’t always involve a pretty face, and she is an experienced model with strong catwalk skills.  Also consider the fact that her BWAP projects (three different projects helping children with brain damage, buildng a children’s center, and care for the elderly) was among the Top 24.

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COMING UP:  COLOMBIA to GEORGIA

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