65TH MISS UNIVERSE: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 2)

CANADA – Siera Bearchell.  Pageant netizens were shocked at her form when she toured Boracay, as it was a far cry from the form that garnered her 1st runner-up at Miss Supranational in 2015.  This led to a lot of body-shaming messages, and she garnered headlines on the graceful way she countered all that.  I salute her stance, and of course being of a large size, I understand that we also need to appreciate those who may have “girth”.  It remains questionable if she could win over the judges in her state–the only one who was able to get away with it thus far was Venezuela’s Migbelis Castellanos back in the 63rd edition in Doral, Florida.  I don’t think Canada has as powerful a sash as Venezuela, though, so it’s doubtful she’ll pull off a Migbelis.  At least let us enjoy her for being here.

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Migbelis Castellanos at the 63rd Miss Universe

CAYMAN ISLANDS – Monyque Brooks.  She rocks the short hair, looking like a prettier, more youthful version of Good Morning America anchorwoman Robin Roberts.  She’s a worthwhile contender.

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Robin Roberts (image courtesy of Us Magazine)

CHILE – Catalina Caceres.  Sure most fans’ attention is directed towards other great looking Latinas, but she seems to keep up with the best of them, and when people meet her she wins them over with her outgoing personality.  I’m actually pretty impressed with many Latinas’ interviews, and they can be sleeper choices to make the final cut.

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CHINA – Li Zhenying.  There are pageant fans and pundits buzzing about her, and she does have charisma and stage polish.  But I have a feeling this year it’s the Southeast Asians who are the strongest, but she’s a worthwhile formidable choice.

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COLOMBIA – Andrea Tovar.  Prior to her arrival, many pageant fans and pundits consider her the front-runner for the crown, and she’s set to vindicate the traumatic 1st runner-up finish of her predecessor, Ariadna Gutierrez.  But concerns were raised first when a TV interview surfaced that showed her being brusque when asked about allegations of plastic surgery.  There was a momentary uproar, but that died down when she arrived in Manila as fans hoped she would be better behaved by then.  But then, some candid footage of her making fun of some gifts she received from a sponsor which offended not only Filipino fans but Mexican fans (because she said her misgivings in that accent).  Buzz on her dimmed significantly since then, and her performance in the Preliminary Competition, albeit strong, is not decisive enough to reinstate her front-runner status.  Still, if like Miss Universe 2003 from Dominican Republic, Ameila Vega, the judges were willing to overlook her reported attitude issues, she might still pull it off.

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COSTA RICA – Carolina Rodriguez.  See CHILE, albeit her looks and Preliminary show performance was just a tad below semifinalist-worthy levels.

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CROATIA – Barbara Filipović.  See ANGOLA and BAHAMAS, another addition to the P.A.T.I.S. crew.

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CURACAO – Chanelle de Lau.  She seems poised to equal the semifinalist finish of her predecessor.  She has the looks, charisma, personality, and stage presence to do that, and she’s one of the buzzed about favorites.  With Miss Universe 2007 Riyo Mori in the preliminary panel of judges, I wonder if her moves in the evening gown brought her fond memories–she performed the “Riyo Mori Gucci Flash” in her purple halter-top satin number.

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CZECH REPUBLIC – Andrea Bezděková.  She’s great looking, but her slender figure might make some uncomfortable, and her red evening gown during the Preliminary Competition was a fashion misfire.  Still, her pretty face and strong stage chops made her a worthwhile contender.

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DENMARK – Christina Mikkelsen.  I still have nightmares about the 2012 representative so I am so relieved that this lady has good looks and solid stage polish to be a worthwhile contender.

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DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Sal Garcia.  I’ve noticed that there are a host of Latinas with extraordinary long necks.  This is the first of those.  I don’t consider her conventionally pretty, but she does have charisma and her lean figure and statuesque frame are enviable (and she has superb stage chops to showcase them).  I love her evening gown with the collar accessory–it makes one forget about that extraordinary long neck of hers (and perhaps that jewelry was indeed suitable for extraordinary long necks like hers).  She can indeed be a semifinals possibility.

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ECUADOR – Connie Jimenez.  Also interesting is that following a long-necked Latina would be a shorter, thicker-but-buffed Latina, which is the case with this lady.  She has all boxes ticked but she has a great human interest story as she’s one of the very few female agricultural engineers in her country.  She’s also one of the strongest communicators, too.

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FINLAND – Shirly Karvinen.  It’s interesting that FInland fielded a half-Chinese lady this time.  Though not much is expected about her semifinalist prospects, she still needs to be saluted for doing the best she could.

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FRANCE – Iris Mittenaere.  She’s got looks and charisma, and possesses an extremely sexy va-va-voom figure.  I could argue she has the best figure of all the 86 delegates this year, and was second only to Venezuela in terms of performance in swimsuit.  She also delivered in her yellow gown, though well, there are several impressive gowns out there, but I have a feeling with that performance she secured her ticket to the Top 12.

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COMING UP:  GEORGIA to JAMAICA

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