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).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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?
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.
SEYCHELLES – Christine Barbier. See LESOTHO.
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).
SINGAPORE – Bhaama Padmanathan. This lady of Indian heritage made a splash in Sports, making the shortlist as part of the White Team.
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.
SLOVENIA – Maja Taradi. This brunette made the Talent shortlist with her solo tango routine. She’s a worthwhile contender.
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.
COMING UP: SOUTH SUDAN to WALES plus the “FEARFUL” FORECAST