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

Countries Visited: 11 countries (so far) – 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.