MEXICO – Karen Bustos. I actually found her very vivacious in interview and at first listen thought she was one of the standouts. Reviewing her interview again, and I realized she botched her answer on the question of Trump building a wall at her border, but perhaps that’s a matter of translation–she might have been pointing out that this kind of news generates publicity and attention for her country and this could be a moment for her country to rise up with self-determination. Anyway, she was oozing with outgoing charm that perhaps any objections about the content of her answer would be overcome by that charm.
NORTHERN IRELAND – Maire Lynch. Like last year, all three lasses from the British Isles are a comely, articulate, intelligent bunch. Though only Wales has been garnering medals among them, this lady’s beauty should not be denied or ignored.
PORTUGAL – Glória Silva. The countries beginning with the letter “P” is typically a fierce group and most of the time the weakest link would be this country. Most would say that the same would apply for this pageant, but to this lady’s credit, she’s attractive and fit enough and was generally solid in interview.
PUERTO RICO – Karla Victoria Aponte. This blonde Latina generated a sensation from the get-go, garnering two gold medals in swimsuit and evening gown. She is also proven her worth in interview, and considering the damage wrought to her island by hurricanes Irma and Maria, rewarding her with an element might be the right thing to do. I’m rooting for her to gain one.
REUNION ISLAND – Emma Lauret. She’s attractive and trim enough but her interview was a tad weak.
RWANDA – Uwase Hirma Honorine. Based on face alone, this lady’s the prettiest among the Africans. She’s also a solid communicator. The issue that hinders her from becoming the African-most-likely is that her bottom, like most typical African women, are disproportionately heavier than the top, and this is not rated high in this pageant. She also missed out on the public “Form and Figure” event (I suppose she is very staunch in her modesty as if you see in her appearances she likes to be covered up in swimsuit).
SERBIA – Marija Nikic. Among the Balkan contingent, she proved to be the strongest communicator. It might point to a possible sleeper surprise Top 16 placement for her.
SRI LANKA – Shyama Dahayanaka. She garnered positive notices for her looks. If we base our impression on her communication skills based on her Eco-Beauty video, you would assume she would be a strong communicator. But it was revealed during the interview that she’s actually not fluent in English, and she was a major nervous disappointment as a result.
SWITZERLAND – Sarah Laura Peyrel. Like the representative from her country ten years ago, this comely brunette made heads turn with her gorgeous face and distinctive short haircut. She garnered two silver medals in swimsuit and friendship, plus she acquitted herself well in interview. She is a strong possibility for the Top 16.
TONGA – Diamond Langi. She’s a tad trimmer compared to her Pacific Islander counterparts and she does have a compelling message about how climate change is affecting the viability of her islands. She’s got a moment in the spotlight with a gold medal in friendship.
UKRAINE – Diana Mironenko. She’s trim and attractive with an interesting Eco-Beauty video showcasing her culture and a mythological folkloric character that delivers her environmental message. She also garnered a bronze for resorts wear. I think her weakest point was interview, as though it was solid, she was not as effective in getting her message across.
U S A – Andreia Gibau. Her name is Portuguese-sounding for a good reason–her parents were originally from the country of Cape Verde, which is off the coast of Africa. I learned from watching the Geography Now video about Cape Verde that there is a huge population of Cape Verdeans living in America, concentrated in the northern East Coast (so it makes sense why she’s a New Yorker) and even exceeding the population of the homeland. There are a significant amount of pageant fans or pundits who feel she’s a near shoo-in for an element. She did garner a silver for resorts wear and bronze in swimsuit. She was a strong interview, but I was more impressed with, say, U.S. Virgin Islands instead of her. Still a path to an element is still highly conceivable.
VIETNAM – Lê Thị Hà Thu. I don’t know what’s the criteria to win a gold as an Eco-Warrior, but she won this medal. She also garnered golds for resorts wear and photogenic, plus bronzes for talent and evening gown. I’m not that crazy about her, but it seems there is significant support that she looks to be element-bound, also.
ZAMBIA – Abigail Chama. She’s solid, but there are other Africans I found prettier and buffer. She at least got the consolation of earning bronze for Darling of the Press–I have a feeling the press people were just in the mood to award this to a random African country and since she came in last, that’s probably what they put in their ballots.
COMING UP: THE LEADERBOARD, THE “FEARFUL” FORECAST and FINAL THOUGHTS