This year’s Miss International Beauty Pageant has made a big step toward re-establishing its relevance in this day and age where pageant importance is characterized by popularity and commercialism.
While new pageants were busy luring fans to like their favorite costumes and swipe their credit cards to vote for their favorites, Miss International engaged its candidates in a healthy forum aimed at discussiing the importance of women in today’s society. It also fortified its stronghold of its cultural roots by bringing its candidates to Ikebana and traditional Japanese classes as well as visiting heritage sites. The presence of the 69 candidates sends a message across that despite having diverse cultures, we can all achieve “world peace through mutual understanding”.
As the first of the Big 5 beauty pageants come to a close today, it’s time to pick the best girls who could champion the pageant’s advocacies. Here are my 15 choices for Miss International 2016.
15 Puerto Rico | Gabriela Berríos
This 25-year-old model has improved a lot since her Miss Universe stint, where she failed to make the semis but bagged Miss Photogenic. Gabriela sweet demeanor and friendly personality are more visible in Japan. She’s also one of the most experienced in the batch so expect her to bring her A-game in the finals.
14 Japan | Junna Yamagata
The host country is fielding a 22-year-old student at this year’s competition and it won’t be a surprise if she makes the cut. Setting aside the homecourt advantage, Junna is relatively prettier compared to her predecessors. She also has the regal bearing fit for a queen.
13 Nicaragua | Brianny Chamorro
A winsome smile that could light up a dark room is this 22-year-old sales director’s best asset. Brianny is also fluent in the English language, which could work well in case she advances in the speech round. She also has one of the most intricate national costumes!
12 Hong Kong | Kelly Yeuk Lam Chan
The moment Kelly landed in Japan, she has already sealed a spot in the semis. This 21-year-old student and model is among the most consistent ladies in the competition. Always in a good mood with a beautiful smile, she could easily warm anybody’s heart.
11 Colombia | Yudi Daniela Herrera Avendaño
This 21-year-old student is probably the most underrated Latina in the competition. Daniela’s distinct beauty and good body definitely deserves recognition. She is always elegant, which is a mark of a Miss International winner.
10 UK | Romy Simpkins
Another underrated beauty in the pageant is the lovely Romy. While she may not be a popular choice, she’s definitely one of the most active on social media. Aside from that, she is also a good communicator.
9 New Zealand | Jessica Tyson
One of the girls who are gaining ground as the pageant comes to a close is the 23-year-old Jessica. This beauty with brains works as a journalist, so don’t be surprised if she nails the speech round and pulls off an upset come finals.
8 Venezuela | Jessica Duarte
A back-to-back has never happened in Miss International history and it is an enormous task that the 24-year-old Jessica is facing. It is not impossible, especially if you come from a powerhouse country; however, she needs to double the effort as she appears timid at times. This serene, unassuming beauty is a dentist by profession.
7 Ghana | Cindy Kofie
The first from her country to compete in Miss International, hopes are high that this 19-year-old student will make it to the Top 5. Who wouldn’t love her energetic and youthful personality? The possibilities are endless for this gorgeous girl!
6 Mexico | Maria Geraldine Ponce Mendez
If the Miss International pageant night started on the first day of arrival, Geraldine would have won the race. This 22-year-old student is one of the most prepared delegates, and is definitely ready to keep the placement streak going for her country in Miss International.
5 Finland | Emilia Seppänen
This 22-year-old model is always well-dressed, her styling on point and she behaves like a true queen. While her communication skills is not that outstanding, a doll-like beauty like her is Miss International’s cup of tea. She could pull off a big surprise come finale.
4 Peru | Danea Juanita Panta Vargas
Insider reports say Danea is well-loved by the Miss International organization. Who wouldn’t? She has one of the best bodies in the competition, plus a strikingly beautiful face and expressive eyes. This 26-year-old experienced model seemed to be fading into the background at first, but is now slowly, but surely making her way to the top.
3 Philippines | Kylie Verzosa
22-year-old Kylie is an easy standout: she’s fresh, bubbly and is a good speaker, too. However, Kylie seems to have reached a saturation point in the middle of the pre-pageant activities. Some say she’s fortunate to be competing in a relatively weak batch (had she competed last year she would easily be overshadowed by Edymar Martinez and Jennifer Valle). But the real battle begins when Kylie hits the stage because she is a total performer!
2 Poland | Magdalena Bieńkowska
Magdalena has the girl-next-door look and a sexy body. Her serene beauty is a breath of fresh air. She exudes so much sophistication that translates into performance. She is a sweetheart and basically has the qualities of a good ambassador of goodwill. Though not the best speaker, she can compose her thoughts instantly. This 23-year-old student’s doll-like features for sure will bring Poland back to pageantry world’s map.
1 Indonesia | Felicia Hwang
Felicia neither have the most beautiful face nor the sexiest body. She isn’t the most fluent in English. She isn’t the tallest. But this a 24-year-old model and entrepreneur has the humility and determination which are qualities of a true queen. She has improved a lot since her Puteri Indonesia days. She always appears well-dressed, styling always on point. Hate her all you want, but you can’t deny she is a major force to reckon with in the competition. Indonesia just won their first international crown yesterday, and they might just win their first Big5 pageant title today. Haraya