MISS UNIVERSE is a title wanted and dreamed of by many girls across the globe, but won by so few. This year, 80 ladies from all walks of life gathered in Las Vegas, Nevada in USA for the chance to be among those very few who will experience that life-changing moment of becoming Miss Universe.
There have been clear front-runners from the start and have cemented their crown-contender status during the preliminary competition. Some ladies have also come out of their cocoons and are ready to fight for their spot. So at this point in time, it is still anybody’s ball game.
But before Paulina Vega passes on the DIC crown to her successor, here are 15 girls who, in my humble opinion, are the likely contenders for the 2015 title.
ALMOST THERE (16-20): INDIA, PERU, GEORGIA, SPAIN and KOSOVO
India’s Urvashi Rautela was a heavy favorite going into the competition. Her inconsistent styling throughout the competition and her over-the-top prelims performance made her star shine less bright.
Peru’s Laura Spoya was another top pick among pageant followers early on in the competition. However, it seemed she is in dire need of rest as she lacked the winning spark during the prelims. However, that Sports Illustrated ready body could pull her scores up.
A pleasant surprise, Georgia’s Janet Kerdikoshvili is one of the best faces in the competition. With her decent swimwear performance and very high-fashion long gown presentation, it won’t be suprising of this Miss World 2011 candidate makes the cut.
Spain’s Carla Garcia was another Miss World crossover. She was expected to deliver a top-notch performance during the prelims given that she was a Top 15 semifinalist in MW 2011. However, she lacked the freshness and looked mature especially in the evening gown round.
Kosovo’s Mirjeta Shala has one of the most stunning faces in the competition. She’s ready to hit the runway and the fashion magazines. Her haute couture gown is a love-it-or-hate-it type but she worked it well she deserved to be mentioned.
15 | GREAT BRITAIN
Nena France’s prelims performance was just right. She was sexy in swimsuit but that lame evening gown could almost ruin her chances. Despite that, her natural charisma and beauty just shone through. She might have a weak sash, but could pull off a surprise. Just change that gown, ASAP!
14 | NETHERLANDS
Not mentioned by most pageant observers due to her forgettable prelims performance. But Jessie Jazz Vuijk made a mark because of her lovely personality. The shy-type beauty might not fit the bill of a Miss Universe, but if given the proper styling she could pull off a surprise like her predecessor.
13 | THAILAND
One thing to like about Aniporn Chalermburanawong is that she is always wel-dressed. She brought her faboulous wardrobe in Vegas! She was always perfectly styled and this carried through the prelims. To be honest, she had all the ingredients of a winning look in the evening gown segment. She is the best Thailand has ever sent since 2007.
12 | FINLAND
The last time a Finnish delegate made an impact in MU was in 2011, however that girl still missed the cut. This year, Rosa-Maria Ryyti was one of the surprises of the prelims. Rosa nailed every segment of the preliminaries. She got a banging body that complements her tanned skin. While that gown might be a little dated, she still worked it well. That beautiful face shouldn’t be ignored!
11 | PARAGUAY
One of the less favored Latinas, Myriam Arevalos rose to “hot favorite” status after her solid performance during the preliminaries. She was the bomb in swimsuit, and was elegance personified in evening gown round. This shouldn’t come as a surprise because she is already a pageant veteran. She competed in Miss World 2014 and was first runner-up in Miss United Continents early this year.
10 | VIETNAM
Finally, a Vietnamese girl we’re all gonna like if she enters the semis. It isn’t that had to take notice of Hương Phạm because she is very visible. She’s one of the most photographed candidates and despite not being the most photogenic, this girl knows how to work her angles. She might not be the girl with the polished pageant walk, but she sure knows how to work on stage. With a strong fan base, it won’t be a surprise if she makes it all the way through to the final round.
09 | VENEZUELA
Mariana Jimenez is probably the most unpopular Miss Venezuela since Vanessa Goncalves. However, you have to give it to Mariana because she is a performer on stage. She’s got one of the best bodies in the competition. However, styling is her waterloo. That evening gown look looks so out of date! But as the saying goes, never count Venezuela out.
08 | FRANCE
Flora Coquerel is bordering boring. Sure, she got a well-proportioned body and the height that could make her more noticeable. But the walk, the hair and the prelims performance was just so underwhelming. Despite this, she remains one of the most elegant candidates in the competition. Just find the perfect hairstyle!
07 | BRAZIL
The streak will continue for Brazil with Marthina Brandt. With that sexy body and long legs make her a sight to behold in swimsuit. But the highlight was her evening gown performance. Aside from the fact that she got one of the best and most intricate gowns, she was oozing with sophistication. She just needs to freshen up her hairstyle, but overall she’s a strong candidate.
06 | AUSTRALIA
Monika Radulovic made a good first impression with the short interview clip posted on the Miss Universe page during the arrivals. She was bubbly, well-spoken and naturally beautiful. But during the prelims, she has shown that she’s a well-rounded beauty. She could do real damage in the swimsuit round with her good body. Her dress is bordering tacky but her sexy yet classy demeanor offsets that.
05 | IRELAND
The biggest surprise of the prelims is the alluring Joanna Cooper. This Cara Delevigne deadringer was too strong in both prelimimary rounds she is just too hard to ignore. Yes, she’s not that tall and she looks skinny, but with IMG taking over MUO now, she might just set a trend. Sultry yet classy, this girl is in my “gamble” spot in the Top 5.
04 | COLOMBIA
Ariadna Gutierrez got a commanding walk that makes her standout from the rest. While the gown might be a little underwhelming and a bit similar to that of Paulina Vega last year, Ariadna exudes real queenly vibes that are just too hard to ignore. You can infer that she prepared a lot and a back-to-back victory isn’t far-fetched.
Before I even get started with my Top 3, let me just say that these girls have been my three top favorites since pre-arrivals and it gave me head and heart aches choosing who among them should be my winner. But I had to make a decision and here it is.
2nd runner-up | DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Clarissa Molina has the aura of a queen the moment she set her foot in Vegas. She has her guns fully loaded, with stunning official photos and on point styling. But she fortified her front-runner status during the prelims where she showed off her youthful beauty and very sexy body. Her evening gown reminds us of Zuleyka Rivera but one couldn’t deny how phenomenal Clarissa worked it. There’s not stopping this former Nuestra Belleza Latina girl from the competition.
1st runner-up | USA
Already polished the moment she was crowned Miss USA, Olivia Jordan has all the qualities to look for in a Miss Universe – beautiful, sexy, smart and confident. Despite her experience in competing in Miss World, Olivia said when she won Miss Oklahoma that it has always been her dream to be Miss Universe. And now that the moment has finally come after a few attempts, Olivia isn’t taking everything lightly. She was one of the top performers in the prelims and her vibarant personality always shines through. Setting aside homecourt advantage, expect Olivia to be up there til the end.
MISS UNIVERSE 2015 | PHILIPPINES
Despite five consecutive placements since 2010, the Miss Univere crown has remained elusive to the Philippines. Year after year, the road ends in a heartbreak, but the hope never waned that one day there will be that girl who will have all the qualities to win the coveted crown. After more than four decades, it seems the dream of a third MU crown if finally within reach.
It took Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach three years before her dream of wearing the Philippines sash in Miss Universe finally came true. It wasn’t an easy road with all the bashing and doubting of her intentions and chances, but Pia didn’t back down. She proved naysayers wrong with her determination. Her body has improved a lot, but it didn’t suck the freshness in Pia. She did not disappoint during the prelims. Unlike most girls, her swimsuit presentation wasn’t rushed. She was very sophisticated in that tomato red Oliver Tolentino gown and definitely miled every moment of it to her advantage. All she needs if she advances further is a stunning tailor-made winning gown.
The Philippines has finally sent a girl with a stunning face, a queenly personality, and the gift of gab. A girl finally worthy of accolades and the hype. It’s high time for a Miss Universe from the Philippines!