I was expecting this year’s Mister Supranational to be a battle of the “giants”–meaning the winner is a hunk who is taller than the reigning champion Gabriel Correa.  Indeed a “giant” won, but not the one I was expecting.

I can pat myself on the back that I got 17 of the Top 20 correct.  However, there was one who for me qualifies as a “headscratcher”:  RUSSIA (Mikhail Baranov).  Sure he has an outgoing personality and a buffed bod, but his look is just so off-putting to my taste that I placed him in my bottom four.  As I mentioned in my Miss Supranational reaction article, there might be several factors at play on why he managed to make the cut.

I didn’t know that there is a popular vote fast-track and I should’ve taken that when assessing MYANMAR (Ellis Lwin)‘s prospects.  I have a feeling like the way we won a popular vote last year to secure a slot in the Top 20, this guy would probably officially ranked 20th in the Top 20.

I should’ve been more bullish towards THAILAND (Kevin Dasom) as I only pegged him in my Bubbling Under list.  Turns out with his personality and facility with English won over the Polish judges that he got to go very far in the competition, to the point of ending up 3rd runner-up.

Now, let’s discuss the guys I thought would make it but didn’t.  I thought COLOMBIA (Andres Mejia) would be the “little cutie that could”.  But well, with MYANMAR getting a fast-track slot and that surprise favoritism towards RUSSIA, he was yanked out of the roster.

I thought EQUATORIAL GUINEA (Jesus Dikuasa) with his supremely beefy buffed bod would be the African most likely to secure a slot in the Top 20.  But I suppose the judges felt he lacked spark (on top of the fact he was a late arrival) and not only did he miss the cut, the continental title for Africa went to TOGO (Kwassy Adjamah) instead.

But the biggest shock is that VENEZUELA (Jeudiel Condado) missed the cut even if the reigning champion was from his country.  Yeah, he tends to look a tad too rough, but still I thought the Venezuelan banner has luster to make people over look that quality, as he’s still a good looking guy.  So he’s the winner of the Lucas Malvacini award.

Now let’s talk guys who somehow fell short of their expected showing.  First, I was expecting MALTA (Benoit Bartolo) and MEXICO (Alejandro Garcia Torres) to figure in the Top 10 but they didn’t pass beyond the Top 20.  Admittedly this is a highly competitive year so these kinds of mini-upsets are expected.

I only got one out of the Final Five correct as it turned out the ones I was betting to be in that court somehow fell below expectations.  I thought PHILIPPINES (Marco Poli) should’ve been a Top 10 shoo-in but he didn’t garner enough favor with the judges and insiders that he missed the Top 10. I think when the organization releases the rankings of the Top 20, I would have toconsole myself that Marco should rank above 17th place (our best showing from the inaugural edition).  In retrospect after watching the chit-chat videos, I can understand why one of my big favorites to win, SPAIN (Fabian Perez Fernandez) fell short of the Top 10–though he exuded more charisma here than in his unremarkable stint at Mister Global earlier this year, he just lacked spark and simply making the cut is achievement enough for him.

The other two big giant favorites to win, SLOVAK REPUBLIC (Jan Palko) and UNITED STATES (Nicholas Kostelas), perhaps they fell short of the Final Five by very little.  I wonder if those artistic nudes that SLOVAK REPUBLIC did hurt his ultimate prospects and the judges deemed him a tad too sexy to win, I wonder? I think he can’t help it that everything about him oozes sex appeal.  And the classic Superman features possessed by UNITED STATES may have its adherents, but perhaps may be considered a tad too bland for today’s tastes?

I think there was a battle of the clean-cut Latinos between MEXICO and DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (Daniel Sicheneder) with the latter deemed to have more spark.  Hence it was DOMINICAN REPUBLIC who made the Top 10 instead of the one more favored by most pageant fans and pundits.

No doubt SRI LANKA (Tymeron Carvalho) has oodles of charm and personality that this is key for him to go as far as he did, all the way to the Top 10.  His showing is deemed a refreshing treat and makes a point that long-haired guys like him can look great and exude charisma.

I may have penalized NETHERLANDS (Ennio Fafieanie) severely for that brief “dumb” moment in his chit-chat video as the judges and insiders still favored him very highly that he ultimately ended up as 4th runner-up.  I can’t begrudge him that as he has charisma and handsomeness for miles.

It’s always a possibility that POLAND (Jakub Kucner) and BRAZIL (Samuel Costa) would make a play for the Final Five if any of my Final Five choices fell by the wayside, and indeed that happened, and these guys ended up as 1st and 2nd runner-up respectively.  Jakub is expected to see action at the upcoming Mister World pageant, but it looks like with muted news or publicity the pageant is further postponed from the scheduled 27 January 2019 final–hopefully the postponement wouldn’t be that long as I’d like to see if he can pull off the hat-trick delivered by England’s Christopher Brammell, who finished in the Final Five in Mister World 2016, Manhunt International 2016 (2nd runner-up) and Mister Global 2017 (also 2nd runner-up).

At first glance, I presumed INDIA (Prathamesh Maulingkar) is in the same “rough” category as VENEZUELA with his hirsute appearance and tattoos.  But he wins people over with his superbly chiseled bod and his engaging, outgoing personality, and ultimately that helped him become the “last giant standing” and ultimately win.

I’m a tad surprised at the reversal of fortune for several of the hunky giants in this year’s contest, but still there are strong merits for the guys that ultimately garnered the Final Five honors and that still, a charismatically hunky and sexy giant is still declared the winner.  Looking forward for future editions of this pageant as this is now serving as a beacon on how to conduct a great male pageant.




The thing about Miss World is that with the current system, you now know half of the Top 30 in advance.  But this year and last year, they decided to guarantee slots for all Top Five Beauty with a Purpose (BWAP) finalists–potentially that would’ve been 19 slots out of 30, but with NEPAL (Shrinkhala Katiwada) already securing a slot via Multimedia and MEXICO (Vanessa Ponce) via the Head-to-Head challenge, that at least opened up 13 slots from the judges’ interviews.

Of the 13 remaining slots that I had to forecast, admittedly I was rather off as I only got six.  And though most are within my radar, there is one who turned out to be a big surprise for me…MARTINIQUE (Larissa Segarel).  I actually put her in my bottom six, even if she has good looks as I was not impressed at all with her during the Head-to-Head challenge.  But I think something changed between the Head-to-Head challenge and the judges’ interview–first, she decided to make herself over and sport an Afro bob (not sure if that is her natural hair or if it’s a wig–I presume the former) and that made her create a more striking presence that somehow won over the insiders interviewing her.  They were so impressed that she eventually ended up going as far as the Top 12.

I only put BARBADOS (Ashley Lashley) in my Striking Distance list because I found her stated ambition to become the UN Secretary General to be too ambitious and far-fetched and I wonder if she thought things through regarding exactly what it takes to achieve that position.  But then again, anything is possible and if she has the drive, determination and political savvy, she might be able to achieve it several decades from now.  Still, I think she edged out other Caribbean ladies mainly by the catchiness of her name.

BELARUS (Maria Vasilevich) was in my radar as she was indeed a strong communicator with a refreshing vibe and that helped her ultimately edge the big European favorite, FRANCE (Maeva Coucke).  Meanwhile I probably way underrated SCOTLAND (Linzi McLelland) and NORTHERN IRELAND (Katharine Walker) as I put them both in my Striking Distance list–I simply underestimated their strengths.

BELGIUM (Angeline Flor Pua) was also in my Bubbling Under list, so I’m not that surprised she made it and found her a refreshing choice.  For us Filipino fans, she’s also a consolation as at least there is still a Filipina present in the Top 30, albeit not carrying the Philippine sash and has a speaking pattern that is very Belgian and not Filipino.

NIGERIA (Anita Ukah) may have features that may register as angular but she’s undoubtedly very striking and that may help her impress the insider panel in the interview round.

I was under the impression BRAZIL (Jessica Carvalho) would be a shoo-in but somehow the insiders are not as impressed with her than the others mentioned above, and she didn’t win any challenges to secure her slot–she probably fell short by just a bit. I thought KOREA (Bo Ah Cho) would have an edge with her Top Five placement in Top Model and her distinctive chic techie girl persona would also give her a heads up with the insiders, but well, she also fell a tad short. I was similarly impressed with PUERTO RICO (Dayanara Martinez) during the Head-to-Head challenge plus that high ranking in the Sanya Tourism activity that I thought she might also have an edge, but again, like KOREA and BRAZIL, just fell a tad short.

Post the Top Model Top 32 shortlist and the first-round win in the Head-to-Head challenge, there were signs that PHILIPPINES (Katarina Rodriguez) is not really impressing the Miss World insiders that winning that head-to-head second round with VENEZUELA (Veruska Ljubisavljević) would’ve been crucial in securing our streak.  Unfortunately that fell through and our prospects were in jeopardy from then on.  I’ll discuss this more in my full contestant review for this pageant.  Many Filipino pageant fans would declare Katarina the winner of the Ruth Ocumarez award for this pageant, but there are three bigger candidates I have in mind for that title.

I thought based from the head-to-head challenge ENGLAND (Alisha Cowie) would’ve tugged at the insiders’ heartstrings but turns out two other representatives from her nation impressed the insiders more, and since the Sanya Tourism Promotional Video award has no bearing like with the other challenge events, she is the technical winner of the Holly Carpenter award.  Since I thought she would go far, she’s my 2nd runner-up for the Ruth Ocumarez award.  Meanwhile, KENYA (Finali Galanya)‘s strong communication skills and strong showings in Multimedia (3rd place) and BWAP (Top 12) should’ve presumably secured her a Top 30 slot, but again with such limited slots she fell a tad short.

Though in my “Fearful” Forecast, I only pegged TRINIDAD & TOBAGO (Ysabel Bisnath) in my Top 15 and ranked ENGLAND and KENYA higher than her, retroactively I realized she probably has more compelling qualities to go far over those two, so I decided to declare her the winner of the Ruth Ocumarez award.  It was by bad stroke of luck she missed securing a Top 30 slot via the 2nd round of the Head-to-Head challenge because she was pitted against the powerhouse favorite MEXICO (Vanessa Ponce) and her BWAP project was good enough for a Top 12 shortlist so it’s a headscratcher why the insiders preferred other Caribbean ladies over her, as with her overachieving background she should’ve been one who can shake up the apple cart and come close to challenging the eventual winner for the crown.  For many, it’s an outrage she’s shut out of the Top 30.

I have mixed feelings with the Miss World Organization’s decision to revert back to the Continental format they implemented from 2005-2006.  Though it yielded some refreshing breakthroughs with the best finishes ever for BELARUS, UGANDA, and THAILAND (Nicolene Pichapa Limsnukan), it also means to make way for the likes of BARBADOS and MARTINIQUE they would shut out a host of Asian standouts like CHINA (Mao Peirui), COOK ISLANDS (Reihana Koteka Wiki), INDIA (Anukreethy Vas), INDONESIA (Alya Nurshabrina) and JAPAN (Kanako Date).  To a certain extent, I can also speculate this system also prevented CHILE (Anahi Hormazabal) for the Americas and SOUTH AFRICA (Thulisa Keyi) from advancing further but then again, it might be the final night judges just took a liking for more refreshing choices like MAURITIUS (Murielle Ravina) and PANAMA (Solaris Barba) in their stead.

The winner from MEXICO (Vamessa Ponce) was a big favorite from the get-go so at least I can console myself that I got that right.  It’s also been long overdue for this country after some close calls last year, 2005, and most especially 2009.  Though most Filipinos would tend to tune out and feel this year’s results are disheartening, I think we should still keep the faith and with the right set of circumstances we still have the Miss World Organziation on notice.  Anyway, congratulations to the winner and may she have a fruitful reign.