Spain Drops the Miss World Franchise; To Concentrate on Miss Universe Instead

The National Director of the Miss World pageant in Spain, Guillermo Escobar, had just recently dropped the franchise. In a post released a week ago, the BeMiss Organization (which holds both the Miss Universe and Miss World franchises) informed the public that they have decided not to renew the franchise of the London-based pageant.

Madrid on January 21, 2017
After four years of successful results leading the organization and our country in the Miss Universe and Miss World contests, which have achieved important achievements as several finalists in both contests and the first Miss World crown for Spain in 65 years of history of the contest with Mireia Lalaguna in 2015, Guillermo Escobar, President of BeMiss has decided not to renew license with the Miss World brand to focus all the company’s work and effort of in the Miss Universe pageant. The bag acquired during these intense four years allows BeMiss to assure the greatest importance and international repercussion of the Miss Universe brand, hence this decision, which seeks to guarantee our supporters, signatures, sponsors and of course the candidates their participation in the contest of greater reference and relevance within and outside our borders. We are sure that concentrating all the effort and the tools of our team in a single objective, will be a great step forward to enhance the value of the international beauty pageants and the Miss Universe brand in our country, with the benefit that it Entails for all our collaborators.
Organization BeMiss

Several speculations rose that one of the underlying reasons that the franchise was dropped was the pressure and difficulty in surmounting two national pageants for each international competitions. It can be remembered that the MWOrg required its national franchise holders to hold separate local contest for MW.
This would be the second national director dropping the franchise in just a matter of one month. Previously, Philippine national director Cory Quirino have decided to release the franchise from her and was picked up by Arnold Vegafria instead.

Pia Wurtzbach: A Summary of her Reign

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach had a very productive reign and here are the highlights…

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PIA WURTZBACH, MISS UNIVERSE 2015 – winning in a very controversial announcement gaffe marked the start of her reign to be one that is to be remembered for years to come. But that hasn’t stopped her from making a mark for her reign… 1. Approachability and Charm – whenever you think of Pia, you cannot deny how charming she is and how you are draw to her in person. That is one of the reasons why wherever she traveled as MU, she manages to charm her way into the hearts of the locals. Doesn’t matter if it was in Latin America or Middle East, Pia has a way of winning people… This trait seems to have been a trait that is common with her and her successors like Iris Mittenaere, Demi Leigh Nel-Peters and even Catriona. All of these IMG queens appear to be down-to-earth and very approachable. One that you would love not just to admire but to follow and engage with. Pia brought the Miss Universe closer to people being “real” and within grasp. She made it okay for regular people to see themselves in a queen that is both approachable and warm. Read the rest on the link in bio! . . . . . #SashesandScripts #PageantBlogger #UltimatePageantBlog #PageantBlog #PageantBlogger #pageant #pageantry #beautypageant #BbPilipinas #BinibiningPilipinas #BPCI #BBP #BbPilipinas2015 #MissUniverse #ConfidentlyBeautiful #MissUniverso #MissUniverse2015 #PiaWurtzbach #Pianatics

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Countries Visited: 11 countries – Canada, Cayman Islands, Ecuador, Indonesia, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, United Arab Emirates (Dubai), United States
Magazine Covers: 14 covers – Mega, Metro, Esquire, Preview, Rogue, Cosmopolitan Ph, Cosmopolitan Malaysia, Pageantry Magazine, People Asia, Philippine Tattler, Inside Showbiz, Yes! Mag, Filipino-Japanese Journal, Friday Mag
Product and Brand Endorsements: 9 endorsements – Yamamay swimwear, You.C1000, Philippine Airlines, PLDT Home, CreamSilk, Jealous21, Image Skincare, Olay Total Effects, BDO Unibank
Image Skincare endorsement video

Notable Charity Work & Appearances: CordAid, In God’s Love We Deliver, Caritas Manila, Smile Train, UNICEF (during her BBP2016 visit), Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center, and various HIV/AIDS groups

Snippets of her MU Bio
Becoming Miss Universe has been a lifelong dream of Pia’s that took several attempts to make a reality – and her road to the crown was not always easy. Pia was born in Stuttgart, Germany where she spent the early years of her life with both her father, who is German, and mother, who is Filipina. When she was just 4 years old, Pia’s mother moved her and her younger sister to Manila. Life in the Philippines for an unemployed single mother of two young children was simply not easy. As luck would have it, Pia was quickly scouted by a modeling agency and her career in front of the camera took off. At 11 years old, Pia established herself as the breadwinner of her family – a big responsibility for a child to have while attending school on the weekdays and castings on the weekends. Major television credits in the Philippines of Pia’s include “K2BU,” “It Might Be You,” and “Bora,” among others. Pia is proud to say that her career as a child star paid the rent, provided groceries for the household, and supported her and her sister’s educations.
Pia became determined to win the title of Miss Universe Philippines and trained for three years before she finally won, which allowed her to travel to Las Vegas this past December. “There are the three B’s in the Philippines; basketball, boxing, and beauty pageants,” explains Pia after she won Miss Universe. Upon arrival to the Miss Universe show, event organizers placed the competition sash on Pia which simply said “Philippines.” She remembers it as being the most proud moment in her entire life. Pia has previously worked with organizations that are champions in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the Philippines, an issue that is a growing problem in the country and one that is just now beginning to receive national recognition for the severity of the disease. As Miss Universe, Pia would like to work with the LGBT community specifically to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS education and prevention and will work with groups such as Gay Men’s Health Crisis and Apicha.


My Miss Universe Predictions: A List based on Hunch

Unfortunately, my list is not gonna be a popular one. In fact, after the rehearsals yesterday, my gut feel became stronger that the Miss Universe winner might not be coming from the perceived front-runners in the competition. I also believe that it will be a strong showing from the Southeast Asian girls in the competition. So it is needless to say that this list are purely based on hunch, no science or controlled methodology is involved.

Wildcards: Mexico, Malaysia and Jamaica
Most possible Spoilers: Kenya, Curacao and Australia
Top 13: Germany, USA, South Africa and Nicaragua
Top 9: Singapore, France and Sierra Leone
All of these six girls listed below are going to be worthy of the Miss Universe title and it was such a difficult task to really narrow them to my final 6 names. In fact I can still feel that any of the girls in my list can spoil the chances of everyone…it’s still fair game for everyone! 
6 Most Likely to be Miss Universe
Thailand, Chalita Suansane
–  Chalita is very relate-able which makes her formidable. She came from an impoverished background that can help her to win the crown. I am putting her as my second best choice for the title.
US Virgin Islands, Carolyn Carter – Carolyn has a very classy, high-society beauty that is approachable. This Madeline Stowe doppelganger has class written all over her face. Her string of charity work with Smile Train Philippines cannot be ignored.
–  this girl is a performer and she will not disappoint. I am hoping that Maxine would make it among the final three. As a matter of fact, I will not be surprised if the top three will eventually be all Asian girls.

Indonesia, Kezia Warouw; one of the possible winners of the online voting alongside Philippines and Thailand. Kezia did it right when she had her tan and came in curls just as I previously suggested, it worked on her. There is a sincerity in her that I find appealing.
Venezuela, Mariam Habach; most possible crown contender for MU but my fear is that she might have looked too ‘trained’ at this point… and I find that she might likely be the girl in the top 2. I still believe that she can be the eventual winner.
Aruba, Charlene Leslie; the biggest underdog who may spoil it all for all the front-runners. In fact, I am getting it out on a limb to say that she is my  choice to be the next Miss Universe. Should Charlene win the Miss Universe title, the Philippines would be one of the few host countries who will go down in MU history to crown first-time winners (Spain and 1974 and India in 1994).
I am more and more inclined to think that a possible underdog might win it all come finals. I hope that whoever wins, she could be embraced by a lot of the pageant fans.

Germany, Ukraine & Netherlands: My European Queens

Despite having a weaker fan following, European ladies have sent several strong ladies that we should all watch out for. And it is these three girls I see that are most likely to penetrate the finals of the Miss Universe pageant.

Germany’s Johanna Acs is a pageant veteran and I would love to see her bring it during the finals night. I am positively sure that she is going to bring her best come competition time. Netherlands’ Zoey Ivory is another lady to watch out for. Despite a quiet following and fan support (comparative to those from Asia & Latin-America), her unique blend of beauty is going to be appreciated by the judges in MU. Then of course we have Alena Spodynyuk whose facial beauty is something that would not be lost the Victoria’s Secret Angels line-up(rivaled only by another VS-model-looking Caris Tiivel). With how Ukraine has been performing in the pageant these past few years, it is almost a guarantee that Alena will most likely to make semis.
I am throwing in the list as well France’s Iris Mittenaere and Turkey’s Tansu Sila Cakir (did you know that Turkey is the only country that us straddling two continents?) among the strongest in Europe. These two can easily replace any of the ladies in my top three list from Europe.

USA, Australia & Puerto Rico: My Queens from English Speaking Countries

I am sure you are wondering why had I separated these countries from my continental list, well that is simply because they couldn’t totally fit in anywhere in the previous groupings.

Brenda Azaria Jimenez of Puerto Rico was a surprise addition to my list. I only started noticing her much recently. Australia’s Caris Tiivel personally is a shoo-in for the semis and in fact I would not be surprised to see her make top 6 or top 3. She has an undeniable face, a great body and a commanding pasarela (as evidenced in her practice videos). To not see Deshauna Barber make top 12 is a huge injustice as she probably will make it as far as top 3.
And that completes my list of 20 favorites for the 65th Miss Universe title.

65th Miss Universe Spoilers

By now everyone has probably known that the semifinalist will be 12 + 1… (with the top 12 being named first and the 13th semifinalist coming from the online votes) but here are several more 65th Miss Universe spoilers…

* The opening number will be a medley of FloRida’s songs with back up dancers at the centerstage with the singer/ rapper. Each of the girls will be called out to the center of the stage in groups of 4.
* The Swimsuit song will be Mike Posner’s song, “I took a Pill in Ibiza”…the girls will be coming out in pairs of 3 and will do their pasarela.

* The Evening Gown song will be Kiiara’s song, “Gold”… the top 9 semifinalist will be parading in their gown choice. But prior to that, they will be announced  with the first 8  then cutting into commercial, then the last one is announced after the commercial.

* The top 6 will each be asked individual questions, much like to the top 5 of last year’s pageant.
* There will be no Filipina co-host in the event and it will only be Steve Harvey and Ashley Graham who will do the hosting duties. The only Filipina to do hosting duties will be at the Red Carpet event which will happen earlier than the final telecast.
* Steve Harvey will do several jokes on the announcement gaffe last year to lighten up the mood early on the telecast.
* The National Costume video will be a short snippet of the actual event wherein the national costume winner will be awarded in the finals.

Venezuela, Mexico & Brazil: My Latina Queens

These three countries are among the toughest rivals in their part of the world. In fact they are the considered superpowers in the world of pageantry from Latin America.

Kristal Silva has been a personal bias of mine since her participation in Miss Earth in Manila last 2013…amd didn’t I mentioned that she was a top8 finalist that year? The girl has hypnotic eyes and luscious lips. Raissa Santana came to Manila with a bang… from the time she stepped into the country, she has already cemented her place as a favorite for the title. And she hasn’t let that go ever since. Then we have the Hurricane Habach who seems to kill every even she is in. Mariam Habach is a (and I don’t get tired saying this) force to be reckoned with.
Possible spoilers from this group are Nicaragua, Argentina and Colombia. Estefania Bernal of Argentina started to get heads nodding during the swimsuit event in Cebu. Then we have the milk-chocolate perfection of Colombia’s Andrea Tovar, who despite not being on her best physical shape is still a major frontrunner for the title. Marina Jacoby of Nicaragua is also on my list, I still feel that at least a semifinal placement for her is quite possible.
Never underestimate the Latinas as they are guaranteed to always deliver at the crucial moments. I would not have a problem seeing at least 3 of the ladies on my list in the finals.

65th Miss Universe Spotlight and Assessment: Nicaragua

Name: Marina Jacoby
Age: 21 years old
Height: 5’8”
Rating: Wildcard
The face alone is perfection, and if you add up her body then you have a winning combo. Even if Nicaragua have a weak sash in Miss Universe, Marina is starting to get attention from pageant fans. She has a lovely face that sometimes resembles that of Edymar Martinez and a well-proportioned body that reminds me of Paulina Vega’s. Have I forgotten to mention that she also speaks fluent English? That could surely add up to her points…

Miss Universe profile bio:
Marina Jacoby is no stranger to being on stage and in the spotlight. This model and commercial actress has appeared in two international Mercedes Benz Fashion Week’s and television commercials. Currently, Marina is leading a campaign against bullying in her country. Winning Miss Universe is important to her because she wants the competition to shine a light on Nicaragua so the world can see the extraordinary features Nicaragua has to offer.
* Profile from

The Journey to the Crown: 10 Sunrises in the Philippines

The much-awaited Miss Universe® competition is less than ten days away and we are excited!

ETC, the home of Miss Universe® 2016, airs The Journey to the Crown: 10 Sunrises in the Philippines today, Saturday, January 28 at 7 PM. This two-part special will showcase the wonders and beauty of the Philippines, giving our fellow Filipinos the ultimate Miss Universe experience as the candidates tour around the country.
Watch the Miss Universe® 2016 Competition LIVE on January 30, Monday at 8 AM with primetime replay at 8 PM on etc. Don’t miss out and join the conversation at #MsUonETC and #MissUniverse.

For more updates, log on and check out etc on, on Twitter and Instagram via @etc_channel. ETC is the only home-grown female channel both in free TV and cable, embracing what every feisty and fab Filipina values. Catch us on UHF channel 21, Sky Cable channel 16, Destiny Digital channel 16, Global Destiny channel 28, Cignal channel 9, or Cablelink channel 34.

Best Pageant Gowns in Miss Universe Preliminaries

Among the 80-plus gowns that were paraded in the preliminaries of the pageant, these 6 gowns were the ones that stood out the most for me. 

6. Jamaica – red seems to be this country’s fave and it works well. Kaci Fennell in Doral rocked the stage with a red number and same goes to Isabel Dalley.
5. Ukraine – the only long-sleeved gown that made my list. This Ellie Saab looking gown is red carpet ready.
4. France – the yellow intricately beaded gown is something on stage. It was quite a surprise that I loved this gown.

3. Venezuela – high drama! And I wasn’t surprised with the outer skirt being detachable. 
2. Sierra Leone – the Jian Lasala gown was exquisite and it looked so good onstage.
1. Aruba – a surprise addition who zoomed in my list. The simple white gown actually reminded me of the white gown worn by Gabriela Isler during her final walk.

Indonesia, Philippines & Thailand: My Asian Queens

No surprise here, these three countries are definitely the strongest in Asia this year. Add to the fact that they are perhaps one of the most vocal countries in terms of fan support and online media following.

Before I get accused of being biased since I am living in Indonesia, I just want people to know that Kezia Warouw is one of the least supported winners from her country. But despite that I saw in her a potential even before a lot of people saw it. This girl is a top 12 material. Thailand’s Chalita Suansane (aside from Kusuma) was my pick for the MUT title several months ago and people now are seeing what I saw in her back then. She has now bloomed into a fierce competitor for the title. And of course Maxine Medina of the Philippines was also one of the ladies I listed as possible crown contenders for the MUP title back in April. And I have no doubt that the hometown girl will deliver. You see, these I have followed these three ladies since they were competing nationally and I was witness to how they have blossomed. If it were up to me, I’d put them all through the semis.
In addition to these ladies, I would also like to mention Singapore’s Cheryl Chou and Malaysia’s Kiran Jassal as most likely spoilers from Asia. Cheryl Chou has a very quiet confident that Sash factor correspondents agreed that she could possibly be the biggest spoiler in the semis. Her smile is effortless and speaks well. Kiran Jassal is also a killer and I have no doubts that she is gonna bring the heat if she is selected in the top 12. Asia is sending tough competition this year and I believe that collectively, Asia is the strongest continent this year.

65th Miss Universe Spotlight and Assessment: Turkey

Name: Tansu Cakir
Age: 21 years old
Height: 5’8”
Rating: Wild Card
She has an undeniable Middle Eastern appeal that is both modern and classic. She has the face and the body for the competition, and hopefully strong communication skills too. Tansu reminds me of a younger and more modelesque Salma Hayek at times and I just hope that she has the same drive to win like her Latina doppelganger. If I have a tip for her, trim the long hair a bit perhaps 2-3 inches so that she would look a little taller than her frame. It would be a shame if that frame of hers will be overwhelmed by all that hair.

Miss Universe profile bio:
Tansu Sila Cakir surely knows how to kick you into shape for the Miss Universe Competition. While studying Nutrition, Dietetics and Psychology, Cakir also likes to keep herself moving in sports such as pilates, yoga and kickboxing. Healthy living plays a big role in Cakir’s life, she enjoys cooking organic meals and hopes to write a recipe book in the future. She would love to use her knowledge and education to help build and create more hospitals for people who have eating disorders. If crowned Miss Universe, Cakir would like to work with an organization that raises awareness to end world hunger.
* Profile from

Thank You Isabella Manjon

Whenever Sash Factor and Sashes&Scripts receives help from people around us, we strive to make sure we show appreciation and our gratitude. Today is a post of just that: gratitude.

When we were struck by the untimely passing away of a beloved friend, it would have been difficult to claim the tickets he bought for the final had it not for the help of people close to us. The tickets through our Sash Factor Head, Larry Elima were given as a continuance of the yearly tradition to watch the pageant live. Those tickets were given to us for the Miss Universe pageant in Manila. 
But this would not have been possible had it not been for the extremely gracious help extended to us of former Binibining Pilipinas Isabella Manjon, who thru her work connections was able to work around the SOPs on the ticket claiming. Our ticket was purchased for us by our dearly departed friend and his credit cards could not be brought to MOA for verification. The lovely beauty queen waited with our head Sir Brix Vera until the tickets were actually printed out and handed over to him. Now that is truly touching.

We will never forget this touching gesture by Isabella, especially in this time when we are mourning. You truly a one of a kind Binibini… 

A Filipino GlamSquad for Hawa Kamara, Miss Universe Sierra Leone

The Filipino people is a country that is usually at the receiving end of charity so when others need help in return it is no surprise for Filipinos to help in the capacity we can. I am witness to that as several of my friends rallied to help out Miss Universe first timer Sierra Leone in this year’s edition in Manila.

First in line to contribute was designer-friend Jian Lasala. When this Cebuano-designer told me that he is interested to dress up Miss Universe Sierra Leone, Hawa Kamara, I immediately gave him my support in any capacity he needed. Hawa was quite lucky to have Jian supporting her. If you look at her daily wardrobe in Miss Universe, it is mainly from Filipino designers. Jian, through his connections in the fashion industry, has gathered outfits from designers Rau Uson-Ablaza, Yves Camingue, Arnold Galang, Devonette Tanada, Jeff Silvestre, Celine Borromeo, Mikee Andrei, Jaggy Glarino, Manny Halasan, et al… not to mention jewelry from Christopher Munar and shoes from Shandar. While he might not have been able to contribute to Hawa financially, he nevertheless helped in building a wardrobe that would have saved Hawa and the Miss Universe Sierra Leone thousands of dollars in wardrobe.

I hope nothing but the best for this lady as her life story wasn’t a walk in the park. Sierra Leone despite its rich diamond mines has 70% of its population under the poverty line. The country was devastated by civil war in the turn of the century and an Ebola outbreak that rocked its population. Despite that Hawa still has emerged positive in her outlook in life. This is what endeared her to her makeup trainor Archibald Tolentino and runway coach Rau Uson-Ablaza. There is an positive energy surrounding her that I myself had witnessed.

The best I could contribute to this lovely lass was giving her several earrings that she could use for the competition (adding to those that Christopher Munar have provided). Looking at the ones she brought in for the competition, they were mostly very colorful ones, and she lacked those bling earrings that will really put more focus on her beautiful face. Not to mention a short conversation on my experience covering Miss Universe in the past couple editions (most of which I have already relayed to Jian). Let me tell you, Hawa has the personality and that could propel her to the semis of this year’s competition. She knows how to fill a room and that is a trait I also found in Gabriela Isler, Paulina Vega and Pia Wurtzbach.

Hawa has expressed tremendous gratitude for the warmth and help that the Filipinos gave to her. It is no wonder that she is a crowd favorite wherever she goes, notable appearances are her participation in the Philippine Terno event in Vigan and the Mindanao Tapestry fashion show in Davao. You know that she is a crowd drawer and that would definitely work to her advantage.
The Miss Universe pageant is fast approaching and everyone surrounding Hawa is excited to see her in the semis. Whatever may happen on January 30th (7am, Manila time), Hawa surely has captured the fancy of Filipino pageant fans.

Aruba, Barbados, US Virgin Islands, Jamaica & Curacao: My Caribbean Queens

Continuing my final countdown to the Miss Universe pageant are the top three ladies from the Carribean. US Virgin Islands, Jamaica and Curacao has definitely stepped up their game this year and I am amazed at the quality of the girls in the competition.

The Caribbean never runs out of beauties and this is evident specially this year. The moment I saw Carolyn Carter of US Virgin Islands in her Ellie Saab couture dress, I was already convinced that this girl is a MUST in the semis. And Jamaica’s Isabel Dalley is such an elegant girl that it would almost be blasphemous not to include her in the top 12. Curacao’s Chanelle de Lau who has a commanding pasarela that everyone has to be on the lookout for. Finally on the list is Miss Universe Barbados Shannon Harris who has all the qualities that could spoil the outcome of the competition. Completing the quintet is Aruba’s Charlene Leslie who has a face to die for with its perfect symmetry.

The Caribbean send strong girls in Miss Universe this year and I have high hopes that at least 3 of them could make it to semis this year.