MISS WORLD 2016: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 5)

NIGERIA – Debbie Chinah Collins Ugochukwu.  This pretty lass competed at Miss Universe last year sporting straight hair weaves.  She decided to go for the natural (albeit lighter colored) nappy head here, (with extensions for formal affairs).

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NORTHERN IRELAND – Emma Carswell.  She’s one of the prettier lasses from the British Isles this year.  Since she didn’t figure in the challenge events her best prospects would be a high interview score.

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PANAMA – Alessandra Bueno.  Her face registers as plain and angular, albeit with the patrician features one would associate with the likes of Miss World 2011 1st runner-up Gwendoline Ruais of the Philippines.  But her prospects brighten when she opens her mouth as she is very articulate and intelligent.  She made the Sports shortlist as part of the White Team and her BWAP program, “A Chance to Change” involving rehabilitating female inmates, was among the 24 projects screened (and 37 under deliberation).

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PARAGUAY – Simone Patricia Freitag Krutzman.  There are some people who might dig her delicate features (clearly European as she’s full-blooded German) but other than that I don’t see her making serious inroads into the Top 20.

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PERU – Pierina Sue Wong Mori.  Her surnames (mother’s maiden and paternal) may be Asian, but there are Latin traces to her features, making her more of a mestiza instead of full-blown Asian.  Her best prospect for avoiding a possible candidacy for the Holly Carpenter award is that she charms the judges in interview.

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PHILIPPINES – Catriona Elisa Gray.  She exudes regal elegance whenever she appears, and she covers almost all the key bases in the challenge events–she won Multimedia, was 2nd in Talent (fiercely fought with eventual winner Mongolia) and is one of the Top Five BWAP projects featuring her helping set up a school in the garbage slums of Smokey Mountain in Tondo, Manila.  Sure there is a bit of a furor amongst Filipino fans when she didn’t make Top Five in Top Model, but I think it’s just a matter that she missed the Top Five by a few slivers and the judges just preferred China and Indonesia (and the fact that her Top Model dress doesn’t quite fit an African theme, as seen below).  Filipino pageant fans have also observed she’s very much like the second coming of Megan Young, so they are expecting she can duplicate her feat.  So far it seems to be pointing that way.  If she doesn’t win, I just couldn’t envision her being shut out of the Final Five–she is simply that awesome.

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POLAND – Kaja Klimkiewicz.  She is a comely lass who made an impression in Talent singing a French song.  Could this be her ticket to make it to the Top 20?

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PORTUGAL – Cristiana Sofia Ferreira Viana.  She’s a slightly awkward, less-polished ingenue.  She could have potential if she competes in another pageant down the line.

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PUERTO RICO – Stephanie del Valle.  This Broadway aspirant made the shortlist in Talent but fell short of being among the Top Ten finalists.  Her BWAP project wasn’t among the 24 initially screened but was among the 37 eventually deliberated upon before determining the five BWAP finalists.  It was also reported she was called for a second interview which could make her Top 20 prospects strong.

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ROMANIA – Diana Dinu.  There are angles where she looks pretty and others where she looks, well, angular.  She has not figured in any challenge event so she is unlikely to make the final cut.

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RUSSIA – Yana Dobrovolskaya.  She made the shortlist in Talent with her dance routine (a contemporary style with ballroom elements) and her BWAP project was among the 37 being deliberated upon.  She was deemed a big favorite among pageant fans and pundits, with some even placing her at the Top Five.  I think she’ll end up in the Top Ten, at most.

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RWANDA – Jolly Mutesi.  I’m glad this country is making its debut in this pageant after making splashes in Miss Earth and Miss Supranational.   This slender lady with a passing resemblance to ex-Fugees singer/rapper Lauryn Hill makes a positive impression, though her highlight is that her BWAP project (covering a wide variety of issues) was among the 24 screened (and 37 considered for deliberation).

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Lunch on a boat in New York with Kenya (R)
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Lauryn Hill circa 1998 (image courtesy of Sony Music)

SCOTLAND – Lucy Kerr.  Just like England, she is noted for making the Sports shortlist for the Red Team but she also has added credits for making the Talent shortlist with her cheerdance routine.  Can she score high in interview to make the final cut?

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SERBIA – Katarina Šulkić.  This deadringer to director Sofia Coppola made the shortlist in Talent with her rendition of a traditional Serbian song.  Most wouldn’t expect her to make much inroads beyond that.

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Sofia Coppola (image sourced from CreativeMindsAndFashion.com)

SEYCHELLES – Christine Barbier.  See LESOTHO.

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With Miss England (R)

SIERRA LEONE – Aminata Adialin Bangura.  She looked her best in Top Model, as otherwise she regsiters as plain.  Her BWAP project helping Ebola virus victims was among the 24 projects screened (and eventually among the 37 shortlisted).

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SINGAPORE – Bhaama Padmanathan.  This lady of Indian heritage made a splash in Sports, making the shortlist as part of the White Team.

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SLOVAKIA – Kristína Činčurová.  See CZECH REPUBLIC.  There are fans who believe she has a chance of making the Top 20 even if she didn’t figure in any challenge event.

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SLOVENIA – Maja Taradi.  This brunette made the Talent shortlist with her solo tango routine.  She’s a worthwhile contender.

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SOUTH AFRICA – Ntandoyenkosi Kunene.  Like Slovenia, her achievement of note thus far is her making the Talent shortlist singing the late Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.  Though Kenya seems to be taking the lion’s share of attention, do not discount the power of the South African sash as she can still have the charm to make the Top 20.

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COMING UP:  SOUTH SUDAN to WALES plus the “FEARFUL” FORECAST

MISS WORLD 2016: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 4)

KAZAKHSTAN – Aliya Mergenbaeva.  She is highly regarded amongst pageant fans and pundits with  her great looks, but she has not figured in any challenge events.  Her best hope is that she charmed the judges enough in the interview to secure a Top 20 slot.

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KENYA – Evelyn Njambi Thungu.  Prior to her arrival, the buzz over who would take the Continental title for Africa tend to veer towards other ladies like South Africa, South Sudan, Nigeria, or even D R Congo.  But as the days went on, the one pulling away from the pack is this lady, as she has the Top Five finishes in both Top Model and BWAP (for her campaign against female genital mutilation (formerly called female circumcision).  She looks likely to advance to the Top Ten and probably even beyond…

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KOREA – “Miriam” Hyun Wang.  Koreans with strong English language skills typically did well in this pageant, and this lady fits the bill as she is studying arts at the University of Southern California.  She also was among the 37 short-listed for BWAP with her art therapy project.  I’m rooting for her to make the final cut and hope there would be room for her even if there are a whole host of Asians who secured their slots already.

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KYRGYZSTAN – Perizat Rasulbek Kyzy.  She’s raw and unpolished and not figuring in any of the challenge events do not help matters.  She’s likely an also-ran.

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LATVIA – Linda Kinca.  She made the cut in the “homely” challenges, as she made the Sports shortlist for the White Team and her rhythmic gymnastic/contemporary dance routine to Rachel Platten’s 2015 smash hit “Fight Song” gave her a deserving Top Ten finish in Talent.  It’s commendable for her that she has already made her mark.

LEBANON – Sandy Tabet.  She’s a significant step down from last year’s stunning rep, Valerie Abou Chacra, and with her not figuring in any challenge event, it’s unlikely she’ll make the final cut.

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LESOTHO – Rethabile Anacletta Tšosane.  Basically plain and unpolished.  Enough said.

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MALAYSIA – Tatiana Nandha Kumar.  There seems to be obstacles to her making inroads in this pageant, like in Multimedia–she doesn’t have the support of her national director, which caused her to not have access to her own Miss World-Malaysia account.  Can she make a strong impression in interview to overcome that?

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MALTA – Anthea Zammit.  Like Croatia, she made a major splash in the “homely” challenge events of Sports and Talent, placing third for the Red Team in the former and making the Top Ten with her contemporary dance inspired by a person she encountered in her BWAP project.  We’ll see if that would be enough for her to break the 47-year-long drought since Mary Brincat’s Top 15 finish in 1969.

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MAURITIUS – Véronique Allas.  Her features are clearly African (instead of Indian as is typical).  She’s likely another also-ran as she failed to figure in any challenge event.

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MEXICO – Ana Girault.  Pageant fans and pundits have rated her as a favorite, though some are wondering if her personality seems a tad over-the-top on some of the Facebook Live videos shown, like during their New York boat cruise.  There was also a scandalous release of a risque selfie that she has since reportedly apologized for with the organization.  Now, there was talk she was one of the selected few who were granted a second interview–does this mean she made the final cut despite not making the grade in any of the challenge events (unless perhaps she was actually Top Ten in Multimedia, though only the Top Three was announced).

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MOLDOVA – Daniela Marin.  Her features veer from attractive to raw depending on the angle.  For a 17-year-old she seems well-spoken so I think she deserves some credit in the interview round.

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MONGOLIA – Bayartsetseg Altangerel.  Like Dominican Republic, she’s a veteran of other major pageants (a well-regarded contestant in Miss International 2014 and a highly-regarded Top 16 semifinalist in Miss Earth).  It looks like she’s making an even bigger splash here and she is likely to improve on her Miss Earth finish.  So far she is the winner of the Talent challenge with her combination of a magic show, calligraphy demonstration and quick-change techniques, was Top Three in Multimedia, and was among the 24 screened (and 37 deliberated upon) for BWAP with her Brothers-and-Sisters Mentorship project.  She has already brought forth the Mongolian breakthrough with her Talent win and she seems to go beyond and has her sights to the Top Ten, if not the crown.

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MONTENEGRO – Katarina Keković.  She’s a worthwhile contender who figured in the Sports challenge under the Blue Team.

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MYANMAR – Myat Thiri Lwin.  There are a bunch of strong powerhouse Asians this year, and as worthy as she is, she’s easily overlooked.

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NEPAL – Asmi Shrestha.  Lookswise, most pageant fans and pundits would say stick to India, but she does have an ace with her BWAP project building a classroom for children, which is one of the Top FIve projects.

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NETHERLANDS – Rachelle Reijnders.  She’s good looking but it seems she’s likely one of the Holly Carpenter candidates as she didn’t make the shortlist in any challenge event.

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NEW ZEALAND – Karla de Beer.  She’s good looking but her main achievement of note so far was making the Sports shortlist under the White Team.

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NICARAGUA – María Laura Ramírez Castillo.  She is the sort who would be deemed gorgeous in real-world terms but falls short in pageantry standards.  Not making any of the challenge shortlists doesn’t help her cause.

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COMING UP:  NIGERIA to SOUTH AFRICA

MISS WORLD 2016: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 3)

GERMANY – Selina Kriechbaum.  She’s a pretty blonde who has not figured in any of the challenge events.  Despite that,she should be considered a worthwhile contender.

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GHANA – Antoinette Delali Kemavor.  Her achievement of note is with BWAP–though it wasn’t among the 24 initially screened, it was among the 37 being deliberated upon.

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GIBRALTAR – Kayley Mifsud.  She’s relatively plain, but at least she made the cut in Sports as part of the Red Team.

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GUADELOUPE – Magalie Adelson.  Her BWAP video for helping the elderly was among the 24 screened and of course, among the 37 deliberated.  It could be her ticket to make inroads into the Top 20.

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GUAM – Phoebe Denight Palisoc.  Along with Philippines and United States, this lady is of Filipino descent.  She’s a worthwhile contender in my book, though she seems overshadowed and has not figured in any challenge event.

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GUATEMALA – Melanie Jeanett Espina Luna.  She may not be conventionally pretty but she seems to be an intelligent, articulate law student.  Would that be enough to give her an edge in interviews?

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GUINEA – Safiatou Baldé.  She’s actually good looking, but has not made a splash in any challenge event, plus no-one featured her in a designer gown or in the Top Model event.  The epitome of “overlooked”.

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GUINEA-BISSAU – Sandra Marisa Araújo Monteiro.  At least this lady made a splash with her ebony complexion (overshadowing South Sudan, which usually holds the monopoly on this)

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GUYANA – Nuriyyih Gerrard.  Her exotic features are not to every one’s tastes though I know there are some who would dig it.  Unlike in recent editions, unfortunately her prospects for advancing (and making Top Ten) is getting very slim as she didn’t make the cut in Talent or BWAP (some recent strangleholds for this country in recent editions).

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HAITI – Suzana Sampeur.  Her close-cropped haircut was a standout just like Cayman Islands, but she also has a pretty face and a radiant smile that gave her a big edge that could contribute to a high interview score, along with her BWAP project being among the 37 deliberated upon.

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HONDURAS – Kerelyne Campigotti Webster.  This dusky Afro-Latina has an elegant vibe about her that makes a great impression.  She also has the Sports challenge placement (for the Blue Team) that is a highlight of her stint in this pageant.

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HUNGARY – Tímea Gelencsér.  This lady is one of the major favorites, and she made big splashes in the challenge events–she is 3rd place in Talent with her acrobatic dance interpretation of Ike & Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary” (with white fringe costume to boot), was shortlisted in Sports (for the Blue Team).  On top of that, her BWAP project involving equestrian therapy was among the 24 screened and 37 deliberated upon.  She seems poised for a Top Five finish, at least.

ICELAND – Anna Lára Orlowska.  Her surname is Slavic, not Icelandic (you know, ending with “-dottir”), as she’s the daughter of a Polish mother (and an Icelandic father).  She’s down-to-earth, but not really reflective of Iceland’s “babeland” reputation.

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INDIA – Priyadarshini Chatterjee.  This country has had its ups and downs in this pageant recently, with last year’s representative not making the Top 20 even after challenge scores are factored in.  I think this lady will provide an upside and make the final cut, as she has the intelligence and good looks, along with a Top 21 shortlist in Talent (for her traditional Indian dance) and a Top Five citation for her BWAP project (this, despite not being among the 24 that was initially screened).

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INDONESIA – Natasha Mannuela.  I know for most pageant fans and pundits, her features are not much to look at, but she is still one to reckon with considering she placed second in Top Model, third in Multimedia, and her BWAP project, “Dreams Beyond the Dumpsite” (helping garbage scavengers) is one of the Top Five projects.  If her national director Liliana Tanoesoebidjo is among the judging panel like last year, it’s possible she can equal or exceed her predecessor’s 2nd runner-up finish.

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IRELAND – Niamh Kennedy.  Irish pronunciation lesson:  her name is pronounced “Neev” or “Nyev”, like Scream actress Neve Campbell.  She’s notable for being Miss Philippines‘ roommate (due to similar Gaelic roots) and for her BWAP project helping out Alzheimer’s patients.  Could be a possible Top 20 contender.

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ISRAEL – Karin Alia.  This lady has great looks that it’s such a shame she doesn’t generate much buzz or figured in the challenge events.  Hopefully, she scores well in interview or else she’s another prime candidate for the Holly Carpenter Award.

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ITALY – Giada Tropea.  See ISRAEL.  Take note though that she has a photo posing with three Miss Worlds.

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Miss Italy (2nd from right) with the queens: Miss World 2010 Alexandra Mills, Miss World 2013 Megan Young, and Miss World 2015 Mireia Lalaguna.

JAMAICA – Ashlie Victoria White Barrett.  Most pageant fans and pundits may regard her face as amongst the plainest, but she might still score high in interview with her strong communication skills and her story of overcoming a major childhood illness.  But she has not officially figured in any challenge event–but then again, I was impressed with a shot of her taken at the Top Model event as she exudes a dignified elegance, so she might have scored high there.

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JAPAN – Priyanka Yoshikawa.  She’s a pretty girl with a human interest story considering she is half-Indian on her mother’s side (and remember that Japanese society preferred to be homogenous).  It looks like this is as far as she will go as she has not figured in any challenge event, even if she’s a worthwhile contender.

COMING UP:  KAZAKHSTAN to NICARAGUA