ONLY two days left before a new Miss World is crowned, but the battle is not yet over as judging for the Beauty with a Purpose and Multimedia Awards are still underway. For the last part of my Watchlist series, we are to discuss what I consider as the strongest group of candidates this year: EUROPE.
France, Marine Lorphelin Armed with her inimitable charm and distinct beauty, Marine as expected managed to make waves in Bali. All aspects considered – beauty, charm, wit and performance, I can say she is one of the most consistent candidates. She made it as finalist in both Beach Fashion and Top Model challenge events. She was also among the 10 girls chosen to take part in the televised Beauty with a Purpose day. As an aspiring pediatrician, it is only apt that her project is healthcare-related. She promotes organ donation and supports Mecenat Chirurgie Cardiaque, which provides assistance for children with serious heart conditions in France. I also appreciate that her Facebook posts are both in English and French, so that people from different countries can relate to her. She really prepared for this, and it sure will be rewarded.
Spain, Elena Ibarbia In the early rounds of the competition, Elena was on a roll. She made it to Beach Fashion’s Top 11 and Top 20 of Sports challenge event. But as the pageant progresses, the top favorite seems to be losing her luster. But she for sure won’t be counted out. With her sophisticated and unassuming beauty, she remains in the running for the crown. She looks sincere and prepared to become an ambassador of Beauty with a Purpose, which is very evident on her BWAP video. She worked with Best Buddies España which aids children with disabilities. She can surely keep the placement streak going for Spain.
Ukraine, Anna Zaiachkivska I have to admit, Anna was among the girls i took lightly at the start of the pageant. I initially thought she she had was her beautiful face, but I was mistaken. Soon as she set foot in Bali, she started to gain solid ground. Her winsome smile and angelic face can light up a room. In terms of performance, she could be considered an a total performer. Making it into three challenge events is already a feat in itself, what more making it as a finalist. She was adjudged 2nd runner-up in Talent Finals and also placed as finalist in Beach Fashion and Top Model (where I think she got an edge because of her towering height. She’s on a roll right now, but I’m afraid she might end up like equally beautiful Yaroslava Kuryacha who placed in four fast track events but failed to make it to the Top 7 in 2011.
Italy, Sarah Baderna The underdog has now become a real contender for the crown. At the beginning, many thought her beauty is not for Miss World. But Sarah seems to have broken this belief after she placed in three challenge events. And she didn’t just place, but made it as a finalist: Top 11, Beach Beauty; Top 10, Top Model; Top 5 of winning group, Sports. Back in her country, this girl is already accomplished. She owns a beachwear and ready-to-wear business. In 2012, when Emilia Romagna region (where she lives) was hit by an earthquake that left 16,000 homeless, she decided to donate a part of her earnings for the reconstruction of kindergartens.
Belgium, Noemie Happart Many pageant observers must have already written this girl off their lists, as she has only placed in the Sports challenge event. But the org must have been impressed by her BWAP project as she was chosen to speak about it during the BWAP day. Noemie went to Rong Vean, Cambodia after raising funds for the construction of a new school in the village. They also provided school supplies and uniforms to the children. Don’t be surprised if this girl makes the cut!
England, Kirsty Heslewood What is Miss World without a British girl making it? Of the four, Kirsty has the best chances of placing. Aside from her Miss World-prototype beauty, placing in the Top 10 of Top Model will surely work to her advantage. As a child, she suffered from selective mutism. She is now working with SMIRA and Kanmoku Net, two charities that help children with this disorder.
Gibraltar, Maroua Kharbouch For more than a week now, Maroua is leading the Miss World app official poll. If ranking doesn’t change in the last two days of voting, expect her to be in the Top 6 regardless of her score in the board. What I really like about her is that she’s always well-dressed. Very regal, especially with her hair in a bun and that winsome smile,
Slovakia, Karolína Chomisteková She’s nowhere to be found in many pageant fans’ pre-arrival favorites so her inclusion in three challenge events early in the competition came as a surprise. She was in Beach Fashion’s top 33, and was part of the winning group’s final 5 in the Sports challenge event. But what could be considered her shining moment is when she made it as a finalist in the Talent round. During the finals she played the violin, which she has been doing for 13 years.
Bulgaria, Nansi Karaboycheva 22-year-old Nansi used to be a volleyball player, so it’s no surprise she made it as a reserve player for the Sports challenge event. Making it to the Top 33 of Beach Fashion is also enough to say she has made her presence felt in the competition. Her BWAP is “to fight against violence and ignorance towards animals as well as the attempt to find their homes”.
Cyprus, Kristi-Mari Agapiou This half-English, half-Cypriot lady started modeling at age 12. Years of experience worked to her advantage as she made it as finalist in the Top Model challenge event. She also made it as a finalist in the Sports challenge. Her face sometimes appears too strong (must be her eyebrows), so she must avoid wearing too much make-up.
Netherlands, Jacqueline Steenbeek She only placed in the Sports challenge event, won by her group. But I think Jacqueline also has a shot at placing in BWAP. She raised funds for Free a Girl foundation, which aims to fight prostitution. “To raise money, I locked myself up as well as other representatives for 12 hours in a tiny cabin.” She also has a very organized Facebook page. Being an early favorite by the org — she was chosen to attend the press conference and to be interviewed on the spot during the opening ceremonies — she shouldn’t be counted out.
Wales, Gabrielle Shaw I have to admit that this girl is my favorite among the British girls because of her sweet demeanor. A fan of any music genre, Gabrielle is comfortable performing dance tecnhniques and singing. No wonder she made it to the Final 12 of the Talent challenge event. She sang “On My Own” during the finals but failed to penetrate the top 5. She looked immaculate in her white gown, though.