GROUP 17: This is the last of four groups that have three ladies advancing to the Top 30. First there is MEXICO (Vanessa Ponce) who is a formidable force to reckon with and a big front-runner from the get-go. The other two from this group advanced by impressing the insiders enough in interview: NORTHERN IRELAND (Katharine Walker) and RUSSIA (Natalya Stroeva).
ARUBA – Nurianne Arias. She’s actually an above-average contender who is polished, intelligent, and well-spoken. It’s just that she’s drowned out by other girls that piqued the interest of insiders.
MALTA – Maria Ellul. It can be argued she’s the weakest link of this group, but she actually gave great points about her love for the environment and her choice of Anne Frank as a relevant historical figure and how she effectively linked her with the issues brought about by the current immigrant crises. So she’s a worthwhile contender with a batch filled with so much of them.
SPAIN – Amaia Izar. She exudes a lot of charm and has a great story about her efforts learning Chinese. But one has to note, it started when she started when she wanted to visit her architect brother who is working in Taiwan. I wonder if it is taken against her for that detail since Taiwan is considered a renegade province by the mainland Chinese. Still, she also has highlight making the shortlists in Top Model and Talent (with her flamenco dance). She probably missed the Top 30 by very little.
GROUP 18: This is another group where all members ultimately failed to advance. But somehow for many people (including myself), it seems that an injustice was committed here as this group of ladies are actually of a high standard and several are Top 30 worthy. There are some a couple of occasions where I go: “Seriously, BARBADOS over this?”
CROATIA -Ivana Mudnić Dujmina. Her striking good looks made her a worthy choice for making the Top 32 in Top Model. She’s not as “deep” as other contenders out there, but her great looks are undeniable and she’s a worthwhile contender.
HAITI – Stephie Morency. She at least has a highlight making the Talent shortlist, where she created an emotional moment with her imploring dance. She’s a well-spoken lady too so she’s a worthwhile contender who deserved a better break.
SRI LANKA – Nadia Gyi. She has a human interest story as she lost her dad and had to stop school for a while and take odd jobs to survive but somehow after setting up a tech start-up she earned a diploma.
TANZANIA – Queen Elizabeth Makune. She’s a gorgeous stunner to my eyes, and she’s well-spoken, so it’s shocking she didn’t figure in any fast-track event, not even Top Model. She’s one I would say, “BARBADOS over her?! Seriously?!” If we exclude ENGLAND and PORTUGAL from Holly Carpenter contention because they received citations for non-bearing events, this lady would be my choice as winner for the Holly Carpenter award.
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO – Ysabel Bisnath. With her intelligence, eloquence and background being educated in Oxford, it’s no shock she won in this group. But then she had to deal with the unstoppable juggernaut that is MEXICO, and despite placing Top 12 in BWAP (for setting up a school), she’s shut out of a Top 30 slot. You would think she would ace the interview, but oddly, the judges somehow preferred BABADOS and MARTINIQUE over her. I have previously noted she’s the winner of the Ruth Ocumarez award for this pageant. A big injustice, if you ask me.
TURKEY – Sevval Sahin. BELIZE, you may need to take pointers from this lady regarding communicating your passion for fashion. She could even provide useful fashion tips that could significantly improve your style. It’s no surprise she made the Top 32 in Top Model, and it is indeed highly befitting. Clearly she’s overshadowed by stronger communicators and other ladies that piqued the insiders’ interest, but this achievement is something she could be proud of, on top of being one of the stronger representatives fielded by this country in recent years.
GROUP 19: The winner of this group originally belonged to another group (Group 13 to be exact), so after the results of the first round were announced, I wonder if any of the original five ladies in this group thought, “Bitch stole my slot!” Still, there are a couple of ladies who are Top 30-worthy who by the twists and machinations of the competition format, missed the cut.
ARGENTINA – Victoria Soto.
ECUADOR – Nicol Ocles. It’s nice to see a black representative from this country–it has happened before, but it’s a welcome treat when this rarity shows up. Anyway she’s a solid contender but her highlight is being shortlisted in the Sports fast-track.
EL SALVADOR – Metzi Solano. She’s a strong communicator, but she’s obviously drowned out by the stronger Latinas out there.
KENYA – Finali Galaiya. She made headlines being the first non-black to represent this very African country in this pageant (she’s of Indian descent). She made a great impression with her intelligence and eloquence. That is a quality that helped her make the Top 12 in BWAP with her HIV-prevention and widow cleansing project. She also made Top Three in Multimedia and won the special activity creating a promotional video for Sanya. She probably missed the final cut by very little.
MADAGASCAR – Miantsa Randriambelonoro. Yes, she has a lofty background studying to become a cartographer, but everything about her is otherwise raw so she can be seen as the weakest link of this group.
POLAND – Agata Biernat. She’s undeniably great looking just like almost all contestants fielded by her country. But interestingly she fared best in the “homely” fast-track events in Sports and Talent (with her contemporary gymnastic dance). If it weren’t for ARGENTINA’s presence, it would’ve been either her or KENYA who would be pitted against UGANDA in the second round of the head-to-head challenge.
GROUP 20: This group and Group 19 (and to a lesser extent Group 18) could be characterized as the “groups of latecomers”. This group has yielded a gem who went pretty far: UGANDA (Quiin Abenakyo). More on her as I do my full-fledged Miss World finals review.
ANGOLA – Nelma Ferreira. She’s actually an above-average contender, but well, there are standouts that piqued the insiders’ interests over er.
GUINEA-BISSAU – Rubiato Nhamajo. Like SLOVENIA, she has a passion for sports and this is reflected as she’s selected as a reserve in the Sports fast-track. This small country rarely makes inroads in an internatiomal pageant, so this is an achievement worth celebrating.
HONDURAS – Dayana Sabillón. She has a human interest story as she’s born with a congenital heart condition and her path to recover from this is inspirational. Her patrician features are probably not to the insiders’ liking so she couldn’t make inroads even if she’s a strong communicator.
HONG KONG – Wing Wong. She has a name that makes you think she would speak in that stereotypical choppy Chinese accent. But it’s a treat that it turns out her accent is more plummy English RP (Received Pronunciation) and she’s very well-spoken. She’s good looking too so she’s very much a worthwhile contender.
Consider this review of the non-finalist contestants a prelude to what’s coming up: my review of the Miss World 2018 finals.