ARGENTINA – Judit Grnja.  Her surname seems to be Slavic (possibly Czech or Polish) though her primary language is Spanish.  Anyway, she is agreat looker who deservingly made the shortlist in Top Model.

BELARUS – Anastasiya Laurynchuk.  This country has had a good year, garnering an element at Miss Earth and making the cut in Miss International.  Last year this country got the Continental title for Europe, and this lady is a good follow-up to that and could make the cut here.  She’s a great communicator.  Sure she only made the shortlist in Sports, but it’s notable she won this group–though she has not secured a Top 40 slot as she was beaten by the very formidable NIGERIA in the second round but she’ll sstill be likely to make Top 40.

FINLAND – Dana Mononen.  She gives me Lola Odusoga vibes as she’s obviously bi-racial (a Finnish father and an indeterminate African mother).  Her striking looks and her passion for fashion helped her get shortlisted in Top Model.  She is a good communicator, so I think it’s possible she can impress the judges enough to make Top 40.

KENYA – Maria Wavinya.  Many are buzzing about her, and even if it seems to be a battle between NIGERIA and UGANDA, she can still pull through and make a splash.  She at least made the shortlist in Top Model and Sports (as part of the Yellow team.

MACAU CHINA- Yu Yanan.  She’s a strong communicator (as she spent time in the US for eight years) and made the shortlist in Top Model.  Could be a sleeper possibility in the Top 40.

UKRAINE – Margarita Pasha.  Though many people think BELARUS has the edge in communication skills and looks, this lady made the shortlist in three challenge events:  Top Model, Sports, and Talent.  Those achievements could not be ignored so she can still conceivably advance to the Top 40.


ARUBA – Ghislaine Mejia.  If this were any other pageant, she could be considered the “Lizzo” of this group.  But she proved that her thick frame is healthy as she got shortlisted in Sports.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Alba Marie Blair.  She’s a pretty porcelain-skinned lass, which is actually atypical of the people from this Caribbean nation.  Those looks helped her make the Top 40 in Top Model, but her strong interview skills may also give her a slot in the Top 40.

GHANA – Rebecca Nana Adjowa Kwabi.  She’s “exotic”, though the British tend to prefer those from the Caribbean than her.  She’s a good communicator, but other than that, she has not made any impact.

PHILIPPINES – Michelle Marquez Dee.  Being the daughter of Miss International 1979 Melanie Marquez and cousin of Reina Hispanoamericana 2017 Winwyn Marquez she has a tall order achieving the lofty achievements as dictated by her pedigree  Anyway, though her speaking style may seem too low-key to the point that a casual listener may think she’s boring, it turns out there’s depth and strength of content in what she says and when you’re drawn in, you’ll be hooked.  She’s the clear winner of this group, and she secured her slot beating TURKEY in the second round.  She can make a play for the Top 12–though INDIA seems very formidable, she can still pull up an upset and maybe make a play for the crown.

RWANDA – Meghan Nimwiza.  She is notable for her passion for agriculture.  She’s a good communicator, but she has not shortlisted in any fast-track event, and there are more compelling Africans out there.


CAMBODIA – Vy Sreyvin.  She’s cute but obviously not as prepared, as she doesn’t have an introduction video.  It also doesn’t help she couldn’t speak English (and no one in production bothered to provide subtitles).  .

MAURITIUS – Urvashi Devi Gooriah.  Though to my eyes, she’s prettier than her predecessor, I don’t think she’ll make the same Top 12 impact like her predecessor.

MONTENEGRO – Mirjana Muratović.  I find her features angular, but the people on hand running Top Model took a liking to her to make Top 40 in Top Model.  At least she’ll have that as her highlight.

UGANDA – Oliva Nakakande.  She’s as exotically striking with strong communication skills that she’s a great follow-up to her predecessor, who made a big breakthrough by becoming Africa’s Continental Queen.  It seems she is in a rivalry with NIGERIA for this year’s Miss World – Africa title, with the latter having the upper hand.  Still, she made a major splash placing 5th in Top Model, getting shortlisted in Sports as part of the Blue team, and winning this group.  Yes, she’s beaten my MEXICO in the second round but she still seems a shoo-in for the Top 40 with a possible Top 12 finish.

VIETNAM – Lương Thùy Linh.  She made a prominent splash placing 2nd in Top Model and Top 10 with her BWAP project building a road to connect remote mountain villages to more developed towns.  She communicates her project well so a Top 40 placement is strong with a possible play for the Top 12.


ANGOLA – Brezana da Costa.  She’s good looking and made the shortlist in Sports.  That will probably be her highlight as she couldn’t keep up with the likes of NIGERIA and UGANDA.

BANGLADESH – Rafah Nanjeba Torsa.  She’s the winner of this group as she’s clearly the best communicator in this group.  It’s unfortunate she was then pitted against INDIA in the second round, so she couldn’t secure a Top 40 slot unless she shone in interview.

ETHIOPIA – Feven Gebreslassie.  She’s your typical Ethiopian contestant–very pretty but a weak, tentative communicator.  She also doesn’t have an introduction video.

KYRGYZSTAN – Ekaterina Zabolotnova.   See ANGOLA, and she couldn’t really speak English unlike what her introduction video seems to suggest.

SENEGAL – Alberta Diatta.  She was one of the very last to arrive and it’s possible her late arrival may have prevented her from making the Top Model shortlist as she has the looks for it.




AUSTRALIA – Sarah Marschke.  This blonde stood out with her background being a rugby player.  She seems to be the one who might be considered the best performer for Oceania with her shortlists in Top Model and Talent, but it seems there is this reported incident where she reportedly physically assaulted GREECE–you know this pageant frowns that sort of behavior so that honor, if bestowed, might go to COOK ISLANDS instead.

EL SALVADOR – Fátima Mauricio.  She’s attractive and a solid communicator (another Latina who opted for English) but she didn’t figure in any challenge event, and there are other stronger contenders out there so prospects making the Top 40 are slim.

GEORGIA – Nini Gogichaishvili.  It’s interesting that she’s the winner of this group.  However she didn’t secure her slot in the Top 40 as she was defeated by Group 8 winner PARAGUAY.  Her background as a TV presenter served her well as she proved to be a strong communicator.  She figured in the Sports shortlist as part of the Yellow team.  She can be a sleeper surprise for the Top 40.

GUINEA-BISSAU – Leila Samati.  She’s a surprisingly good communicator–partly because she lived in London for 14 years, working in a beauty salon run by her mother.

PUERTO RICO – Daniella Rodríguez.  She has a human interest being a cancer survivor, but she has other strong qualities that could make her make Top 40–like the looks to be shortlisted in Top Model.

SLOVAKIA – Frederika Kurtulíková.  She made the shortlists in both Top Model and Talent (with her dancing skills).  She is also a great looker and a good communicator, so she can be a Top 40 possibility.


BAHAMAS – Nyah Bandelier.  She tugged heartstrings when she relayed the time when the Hurricane Dorian hit her country.  Otherwise, she is unlikely to make inroads into the Top 40.

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA – Ivana Ladan.  She’s a stunning looker so it’s not surprising she made the shortlist in Top Model.  She’s an adequate interview, but probably not enough to impress the judges.

BOTSWANA – Oweditse Gofaone Phirinyane.  Let’s just say her features are very exotic.  She is a good communicator but she has not made any impact otherwise.

HAITI – Alysha Morency.  She made the shortlist in both Top Model and Sports.  She’s well-spoken with a human-interest story surviving a drug-addicted mother.

INDIA – Suman Rao.  Many are buzzing she could bring forth India’s sixth crown from this pageant.  She has figured prominently in Top Model and BWAP (with her Pragati project uplifting the status of women in various communities) as she made the Top 10 in both and got shortlisted in Talent.  She secured her slot in the Top 40 by winning this group and beating Group 19 winner BANGLADESH in the second round.  I agree with the buzz, but I’m rooting for a FRANCE or NIGERIA win.

THAILAND – Grace Chadapattarawalrachoat.  She is notable for her extraordinarily long surname.  She’s a great communicator and exudes a lot of charm, but she didn’t figure in any shortlist, so unless she wins over the judges, she could be deemed a candidate for the Holly Carpenter award.


ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA – Taqiyyah Francis.  British tastemakers have very exotic taste, which explains why this unconventional Afro-sporting looker made the cut in Top Model.  She’s a good communicator but there are other ladies from her region that made a bigger splash.

BARBADOS – Ché Amor Greenidge.  She figured in Top Model, probably having exuded appeal that appeal the British people judging this event, and in Talent.  She’s an intelligent communicator, so she can still win over the judges to secure the Top 40 slot.

CHINA, P.R. – Li Peishan.  She’s a globe-trotting cosmopolitan lady, so it’s not surprising she won in this group.  But she was not able to secure a Top 40 slot as she was beaten by Group 3 winner VENEZUELA.  Still, she looks like she will still get that spot anyway–the question would be if she will be able to advance further to the Top 12.  The Asian group is that formidable.

GREECE – Rafaela Plastira.  She tugged heartstrings being a survivor of domestic abuse.  She’s pretty, but her story of note was an incident with AUSTRALIA that resulted in her brief hospitalization.

SAMOA – Alalamalat Lata Polamalu.  She has an interesting background being a security officer.  She’s solid as a communicator but she has not made much impact, otherwise.

SWEDEN – Daniella Lundqvist.  Normally this country rules the roost in pageants, but she’s overshadowed by her Nordic counterparts.  She’s a solid communicator with a good advvocacy about mental health,but





CAYMAN ISLANDS – Jaci Ariana Patrick.  She’s upfront about her own mental health issues, particularly anxiety and depression.  We should salute her for her courage.

GIBRALTAR – Celine Bolãnos Perera.  She’s good looking and got shortlisted in Talent for her thespian skills.  She’s solid, though the Talent shortlist is as good as she will get.

MEXICO – Ashley Alvídrez.  She’s a great follow-up to the reigning Miss World, as she has good looks that helped her get shortlisted in Top Model and is a superb communicator with a great facility in English.  She may not be the winner of this group but because there were only 19 groups set up she secured a wildcard slot because of aggregate votes to advance to the next round, and from there secured her spot in the Top 40 by beating Group 18 winner UGANDA.  She could make a play in the Top 12–could she beat VENEZUELA and make the Final FIve?  If so, it will be interesting how Piers will conduct his interview with her.

NEPAL – Anushka Shrestha.  Though lookswise I have my eye on other Asians like INDIA, INDONESIA, and the PHILIPPINES, this lady is one of two who got the distinction of double-securing their spots in the Top 40–she won this group and beat the formidable INDONESIA to secure her slot from the Head-to-Head challenge, and she won the Multimedia fast-track.  On top of that, her BWAP project uplifting a remote community economically was shortlisted in the Top 10.  She’s a superb communicator, so she has an inside track to the Top 12.

POLAND – Milena Sadowska.  See CROATIA, albeit blonde and has a strong affinity for Saint John Paul II..

TANZANIA – Sylvia Sebastian.  She’s attractive and articulate enough, though there are stronger African standouts that will edge her out of the Top 40.  She at least have a Talent shortlist as a highlight.


COLOMBIA – Sara Arteaga.  She’s a great looker and is a good communicator–she opted to speak English for the Head-to-Head challenge.  Yet she didn’t figure in any fast-track shortlist. and seems on track to be a candidate for the Holly Carpenter award.

COSTA RICA – Jessica Jiménez.  She’s a vivacious personality and made the Sports shortlist (as part of the Yellow team).  Could she charm the judges to make the Top 40?

JAPAN – Marika Sera.  She’s one of the youngest contestants, but she is making significant waves, making the shortlist in Sports (as part of the formidable Green team) and Talent with her piano skills.  She is very charming, and it could make Top 40.

LUXEMBOURG – Mélanie Heynsbroek.  She may register as raw, but she’s actually well-spoken (and multilingual at that) and made more traction than expected.  Like her male counterpart, her highlight is being shortlisted in Sports as part of the Red team.  She also made the shortlist in Talent.

NETHERLANDS – Brenda Muste.  She’s also a Holly Carpenter candidate, as she has good looks and strong communication skills and didn’t figure in any fast track shortlist.  Could she charm the judges enough to avoid that fate?

NIGERIA – Nyekachi Douglas.  Imagine actress Gabrielle Union if she has a relative with Naomi Campbell‘s frame, and you get this lady.  Like NEPAL, she double-sealed her spot in the Top 40 as she won Top Model and is the winner of this group and beat Group 16 winner BELARUS for this slot.  But she’s also prominent in several other fast-track events, making the shortlist in Talent, placing second in Sports (as part of the formidable Green team), and with her hygiene program in the slums of her country, her BWAP project made the Top 10.  She exudes a very outgoing personality with lots of stories to tell, and with her glamorous charisma many are pegging her as one of the likeliest to win this year’s crown.  It would be a great double whammy narrative of gorgeous black African winners in the two most premier pageants this year when that happens.  Can she be the second Nigerian after Agbani Darego‘s win 18 years ago?

Gabrielle Union (image courtesy of Greg DeGuire for WireImage)
Naomi Campbell (image sourced from Harper’s Bazaar Arabia)


BELGIUM – Elena Castro Suárez.  She’s actually vivacious, even if there are prettier ladies out there.  Though she is prominent about her flamenco talent, it wasn’t enough for her to make the shortlist in Talent.

JAMAICA – Toni-Ann Singh.  She secured her spot in the Top 40 by winning Talent, singing Whitney Houston‘s classic Bodyguard ballad, “I Have Nothing“.  She’s a vivacious personality and she made the Top 40 in Top Model, so she is likely not only placing Top 40 but making a possible play for the Top 12.

PANAMA – Agustina Ruiz.  She is a good looker who made the “homely” shortlists in Sports (part of the Red Team) and Talent (with her dancing skills).  She’s a solid contender but unlikely to equal the Continental win of her predecessor.

SLOVENIA – Špela Alič.  She reminds me of actress Kristen Wiig.  She’s solid, but did not make a splash in any aspect, even in this challenge.

Kristen Wiig (image sourced from Wikimedia commons)

TURKEY – Simay Rasimoğlu.  She’s the winner of this group but in the second round she was beaten by Group 17 winner PHILIPPINES.  Like the Philippines, she also made the Top 40 in Top Model.  But making the overall Top 40?  To be honest, she’s just adequate in communication skills so I’m not sure she has what it takes to impress the judges.

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – A’yana Keshelle Phillips.  Interesting fact:  she competed in Miss Universe last year representing the British Virgin Islands.  Apparently between last year and this year, she moved to the US side and got the right to represent this territory.  She also made the shortlist in Talent, but her British counterpart edged her out here, as Rikkiya placed second.  Still, she gets more traction here than in her Miss Universe stint.