THE MOST beautiful ladies in the world are ready to battle it out for that D.I.C crown and the life-changing title of Miss Universe.
A few days from now, reigning queen Paulina Vega of Colombia will pass on the crown in glittering ceremonies at The AXIS in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. But before that, let me present to you THE WATCH LIST, which is obviously a list of the girls I am keeping an eye out before tonight’s preliminary competition. Let’s get this started!
SECURED | These girls are leading at the moment and are almost secured of a placement if nothing else fails
COLOMBIA | Ariadna Gutierrez probably has the heaviest burden among the candidates: the pressure of a back-to-back victory. But it looks like this 21-year-old cat lover is taking everything lightly. She has a radiant personality, but remains in competitive form. Her styling is always on point and she doesn’t rely on Colombia being the “defending champion” to get noticed. She is a true standout!
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC | If there is one girl who is slowly but surely climbing to the top spot, it’s Clarissa Molina. This 24-year-old aspiring actress has the aura of a queen the moment she set her foot in Vegas. She exudes so much sophistication, which is very evident in her official evening gown portrait. She has a youthful beauty yet a sexy body. We might be looking at the next titleholder.
PHILIPPINES | She waited for this for three years, and now that the moment has finally come, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach is leaving no stone unturned. Her body has improved a lot. She never fails to give something new in terms of styling. It couldn’t be denied that this 26-year-old actress and model is well-prepared. Hopes are high that the Philippines will finally win its third MU crown. With a phenomenal long gown (hopefully) and a strong support system back home, it might just become a reality.
VIETNAM | An early favorite prior to arrivals, Huong Pham‘s edge over the other candidates is her vivacious personality. She might not have the flawless face, but she has a banging body and stage presence that will give the traditional powerhouses a run for their money. It is very seldom that this country sends a top-notch delegate, so this girl shouldn’t be wasted!
USA | Olivia Jordan is one lady who has all the goods of a perfect titleholder – beautiful, sexy, smart and confident. She’s already polished from the moment she won Miss USA. Her vibrant personality is also one of the plus factors why this lady remains a top favorite. Home-court advantage aside, the pageant won’t be complete without Olivia
SAFE | Neither outstanding nor disappointing, these girls are in the safe zone at the moment
AUSTRALIA | Monika Radulovic exudes so much positive energy in all of the photos and videos posted online that makes her so easy to love. Her official photos are impressive. She might not be the “blonde beauty” prototype the Land Down Under used to send in MU, but that adorable personality and refreshing beauty could bring her to the finals.
BRAZIL | This country has been sending outstanding delegates to MU and this year is no exception! Marthina Brandt stands out with her towering height and mesmerizing beauty. She has one of the best evening gown portraits and if that’s a preview of what she will wear in the prelims, expect another placement for Brazil in the semis.
FRANCE | From her non-placement in Miss World 2014 (despite leading the scoreboard after the judges’ interviews) Flora Coquerel is back in the pageant scene. And it seems she is more suited for this pageant. Her exotic looks, modelesque stance and sophistication perfectly fits the MU mold.
PARAGUAY | The most pleasant surprise. This is the perfect phrase to describe Myriam Arevalos in MU. She’s nailing every photo shoot. She initially looked too heavy and matured, but she now shows a marked improvement. Her styling is always on point. This girl shouldn’t be taken lightly.
VENEZUELA | Mariana Jimenez is here to prove that the Osmel magic lives on. From last year’s Miss Veneuela pageant, it’s very obvious that Mariana has greatly improved. Her features are softer now and she has the bosy of an Amazona. She looks try and haggard at times, but this girl is undeniably well-trained.
VULNERABLE | They were expected to do good during pre-arrivals but are yet to live up to the hype. They have the potential to place, but needs to work on their weaknesses
INDIA | Urvashi Rautela was supposed to compete in 2012 but was replaced by her runner-up due to age requirements. Three years later, she’s now enjoying her time in Vegas wearing the “India” sash and has been very visible since Day 1. (Reminds me so much of Monic Perez in 2013). While she is considered a contender, it seems that the 21-year-old Bollywood star is yet to find the perfect styling for her. Most of the time, she looks too made up making her look older. But with India ready to reclaim its lost pageant glory, she shouldn’t be counted out just yet.
MEXICO | Thanks to IMG taking over MUO, Wendy Esparza got the chance to finally compete in Miss Universe. She was a top favorite to win NB Mexico and has been a favorite among pageant followers since winning the title. However, the 24-year-old journalist is yet to make an impact in the competition. Her official photos are a hit, but most of the time she is bordering boring. She needs to bring out that energy that she had during her national pageant.
PERU | Laura Spoya‘s first candid photos in Vegas were disappointing. She looked really tired and in need of beauty rest. But she made up for it in her official photos that were very outstanding. It couldn’t be denied that this 24-year-old sports journalist got that Sports Illustrated cover-worthy body! She might be a hit-and-miss for now, but wait it she hits the stage.
POLAND | Weronika Szmajdzińska is no stranger to pageants. She first joined Miss World 2012 and won Miss Global Teen 2012 the same year. Despite this, it comes as a surprise that with her sweet face and captivating radiant smile, she isn’t given much attention. She needs to add a more fire to her performance to keep up with the rest.
SPAIN | Another Miss World crossover queen is Carla Garcia. Back then her sheer elegance and queenly aura brought her to the semifinals. Much are expected from her given how strong her two predecessors were. However, this 25-year-old beauty is yet to leave a lasting impression in the Miss Universe competition. She needs a fresh makeover ASAP!
MINORITY | The underrated girls who have potential to go far in the competition
DENMARK | Cecilie Wellemberg describes herself as competitive. No wonder, this 21-year-old student at Copenhagen Business School started out strong since arrivals. She gave out impressive photos, both candid and professional. She’s also serious with keeping her body fit, trying to squeeze in some exercises despite busy Vegas schedule. This country seems to be taking their pageants seriously this year so don’t be surprised if Cecilie will rock the prelims stage.
FINLAND | Rosa-Maria Ryyti is a tomboy growing up, playing mostly with cars and PlayStation, so who would’ve thought she’ll end up in Miss Universe a few years later? This 21-year-old extreme-sports enthusiast has one of the most interesting faces among the contestants. At 5’11”, she also has a nice frame.
GREAT BRITAIN | Friends describe her as awkward and reserved, no wonder Nena France has been taking the backseat so far in the competition. Despite this, it couldn’t be denied that the 25-year-old beauty from London has a sweet smile and refreshing face that could light up a room! She is yet to make a mark in the competition, but I’m pretty confident she will do well in the prelims. After all, she does modelling for a living.
INDONESIA | Anindya Putri has big shoes to fill following Indonesia’s two consecutive semifinals placement in Miss Universe. But given how this 23-year-old lady strives to excel in everything she does, it won’t be a surprise if she makes it a three-peat. What’s surprising is the seeming lack of spotlight toward this 5’9″ Semarang City native. Compared to her two predecessors, Anin is more polished. She might be under the radar for many at the moment , but expect her exotic beauty to shine in the preliminaries.
SWEDEN | Paulina Brodd hopes to follow the footsteps of her mom who was Miss Sweden in 1992 and placed in the Top 10 of Miss Universe that same year. This 21-year-old fitness blogger and animal rights advocate has what it takes to make it: a beautiful face, a regal stance and the pedigree. Paulina needs to make good use of these goods in order to make herself memorable in the competition. At the moment, she is just apretty but forgettable face. PageantFocus