Miss Universe 2017 Sashes&Scripts 1st Leaderboard

This list is gonna cause some uproar among pageant fans as it names several less popular girls. But hey, Sashes&Scripts has been into hot water before for previous lists so this won’t be something new. One thing I can guarantee is that this list is gonna be a diverse set of countries and names… after all, isn’t #diversity something that WME|IMG’s Miss Universe has been trying so hard to show up on our faces in the past couple of years…

Now on to the list…
1. Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, South Africa
2. Laura Gonzalez, Colombia
3. Rachel Louise Peters, Philippines
4. Kara McCullough, USA
5. Alicia Aylies, France
6. Maria Poonlertlarp Ehren, Thailand
7. Ruth Quashie, Ghana
8. Olivia Molly Rogers, Australia
9. Monalysa Alcantara, Brazil
10. Denisse Franco, Mexico
11. Davina Bennett, Jamaica
12. Kseniya Alexandrova, Russia
13. Frida Maria Fornander, Sweden
14. Keysi Sayago, Venezuela
15. Samantha Katie James,  Malaysia

This list features a diverse set of women of color (blondes, brunettes, ebony-skinned beauties, mixed race Asians,  latinas), from different parts of the world (3 Europeans, 3 Asians, 2 Africans, 3 from North America & the Caribbean, 3 from South America and one from the Land Down Under),  of different backgrounds and occupations. And the surprising part of it is that I didn’t set out to create such a diverse list, it just came out organically that way. This must be the work of the mind conditioning that the MU has been showcasing for years now.

Miss Universe 2017 will be in Las Vegas! Plus More MU2017 Tidbits!

Guess whose pageant moles are right? I hate to say this but #IToldYouSo! Last September 24th, I posted on my Facebook account that the Miss Universe 2017 pageant would be held in splendid Las Vegas.

Finally after weeks of speculating, and back and forth of venues, we can finally rest easy as the MU pageant will be pushing through this year. From Manila to Hawaii to Phoenix, Arizona, pageant fans held their breath for what seemed to be an eternity of waiting for the MUOrg to annouce its venue for this year’s pageant.
While there are no confirmed schedules yet, the pageant is rumored to run for more or less 16 days. Candidates are expected to arrive between the 5-8th of November. Preliminaries and the National Costume Show may fall between the 21st or 22nd of November.

Wait for further announcement on the official activities and schedules as Sash Factor will be covering the pageant once more in Las Vegas!

Are we Ready for A Transgender Miss Universe Winner?

Anita Green grabbed headlines earlier when she was named the first open transgender woman to compete in Miss Montana USA. The 26 year old beauty queen aspirant would only be the second transgender woman to vie for a state title in Miss USA after Arianna Wenzel in Miss California USA 2013. Back in 2012, then owner Donald Trump has openly allowed transgender contestants to compete in Miss Universe (and consequently in Miss USA & Miss Teen USA). This was after Jenna Talackova was initially barred from joining Miss Universe Canada that caused major uproar. While people may see this as a move towards the right direction, I thought that Trump did that just to gain publicity for the pageant not out of altruistic reasons.

Gabriela Isler, former Miss Universe 2013 from Venezuela (in a statement attributed to her) said that, “there is more to being a woman. We were born female, we experience menstruation cycle for decades, we struggle to be recognized in a mad men era too, we nurture life. That is what Miss Universe is about. You don’t buy womanhood.” The Venezuela beauty told Hufftington Post that transgenders “should have their own pageant, I think, and maybe they can realize [that] in this pageant, Miss Universe, or the other pageants [were] made for women.” Owing perhaps to the narrowing area of opportunities for women to excel, her statement can be deemed in support for naturally-borne females. On the other side of the debate was Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo who had no issues against transgender women competing in Miss USA or Miss Universe.

I am on the fence regarding this issue. It is a bit difficult to allow transgender women into the pageant as it may alienate traditional pageant followers who still believe that natural-born females should compete. Yet with the “diversity” that the MUOrg seems to be shoving out on our throats lately, we have to be inclusive of all women of shapes and sizes, and yes of different forms. On a personal note, I think that transgender women should compete in pageants that are specifically designed for them and elevate it into a world-class competition to the level of the Miss Universe pageant, although I do not have any problems seeing a transgender female in MU competing for the title.

EDIT, April 26, 10:45pm – Talleen Abu Hanna is the recent transgender female to compete at the nationals of Miss Israel. Should she win, she will have the opportunity to compete in Miss World and/or Miss Universe. Back in 2015, Angela Ponce competed in the nationals of Miss World Spain (which was won by Mireia Lalaguna).
EDIT, May 14, 11:45am – Angela Ponce has been confirmed to be running for the Miss Universe Spain title this year. This will be her second time competing for a national title.
EDIT, June 30, 11:28am – Angela Ponce won the Miss Universe Spain title and is going to represent Spain in Miss Universe this year!

* http://www.elleuk.com/life-and-culture/culture/news/a38422/miss-montana-usa-first-openly-transgender-contestant/
* http://people.com/bodies/first-openly-transgender-miss-montana/
* http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/14/miss-universe-transgender_n_4276209.html?1384462830

Mister Universal Ambassador 2017 First Sashes&Scripts Leaderboard

Despite a lower turnout of candidates this year, the Mister Universal Ambassador still manages to attract a whole lotta bunch of hunks in the competition. 

Meet the 10 guys who made it into the first Sashes&Scripts Leaderboard
1. Luong Gia Huy, Vietnam
2. Erick Bolivar, Mexico 

3. Shakhboz Makhmudov, Uzbekistan
4. Andris Varga, Hungary
5. Carlos Marquez Saez, Spain
6. Nathan Howe, Australia
7. Elvis Murillo, Nicaragua 
8. Anas Dzulkefflee, Malaysia
9. Paul Guarnes, Philippines
10. Johannes Leonidas, Sweden

The finals will be on October 6th. Watch out for more of Sash Factor’s coverage…

Ruth Quashie is Miss Universe Ghana 2017

Meet the 23 year-old Business Administration graduate who was crowned Miss Universe Ghana 2017: Ruth Quashie… She bested 120 hopefuls in her country for the chance to represent Ghana in Miss Universe. The 5’10” ebony goddess was the runaway winner during the finals that saw 10 national finalists competing for the crown. She brings home with her  a brand new Hyundai saloon car plus a one year contract with Italian modeling agency, The Lab Models. 

It’s long been a childhood dream of mine to become Miss Universe, but I never had the courage to dare enter the competition. This year, I thankfully found the courage to step forward; not only to prove to everyone else that I am a winner, but most of all to prove to myself that I can achieve whatever I put my mind to. So far, this experience has convinced me that my journey and courage will serve as an inspiration to hundreds of young girls who want to chase their dreams too.
— Ruth Quashie, Miss Universe Ghana 2017

This year, the Miss Universe Ghana 2017 contest is proud to support two charities – Smile Train and My Sister’s Keepers Foundation. Smile Train is an international charity that creates awareness and provides training, funding and resources to help empower local doctors to offer free cleft repair surgery and comprehensive cleft care in their own communities.
My Sister’s Keepers Foundation was founded by sisters and co-directors Gyankroma Akufo-Addo, Valerie Obaze and Edwina Akufo-Addo to be an innovative charity that seeks to support initiatives that educate and empower local women so that they can directly and indirectly deliver social impact in their communities. Every year, each co-founder chooses a new project they are passionate about and over a duration of twelve months, they offer a range of events and programs that are designed to inspire and make a difference.


Miss Universe Iceland 2017 is Arna Yr!

Being bullied in a pageant sometimes becomes a good thing, because it brings a fire in you to do better and be better for the next one. That is what recently crowned Miss Universe Iceland Arna Yr just did…

Last year, the blonde beauty grabbed the headlines when it was reported that the Director of an international pageant she was competing in told her that she needs to diet as she was “fat”. The news report was posted on an Icelandic website accounting the turn of events. Then She was later asked to say in a video posted on her social media account that it was only a misunderstanding and apologized for it. Later on, she withdrew from the said pageant and recanted her apology saying that she was coerced to do so by pageant officials. The 22 year old blue-eyed beauty, who is also an athlete, is a Nike representative in her country. Standing at 5’9″ the blonde stunner is surely gonna be a head turner in the MU competition later.

Armed with such controversy, Arna would surely have something to talk about in Miss Universe. She actually has two: 1) bullying in pageants and 2) body shaming. And we know how MU loves to bring on the drama!

A Controversial Girl is Named Miss Venezuela World 2017!

A Miss Venezuela Mundo 2017 has been appointed and she is Ana Carolina Ugarte!

The 5’10” 25 year old Ana Carolina was named as the Venezuelan rep to Miss World to be held in China this year. It is said that she is already preparing both in catwalk classes and gym training, to secure the crown that has not been won since 2011 when Ivian Sarcos won Miss World. But the shocking part is that it is rumored that she is paying for the Miss World franchise fee instead of the Miss Venezuela Organization. The Miss World franchise fee in Venezuela is estimated to be valued at USD$20,000.
This issue has been a ghost that has haunted her as it was also rumored that the lady also “paid” her way into the Miss Venezuela 2013 pageant. There were heavy speculations that a hefty amount was given to the organization for her to win the pageant, which she went later on unplaced.


The 2017 International Pageant Schedule

Mark your calendars pageant fans as we list down several international pageant dates in this Sashes&Scripts’ Pageant Calendar…

Miss Grand International- October 26, 2017 (Vietnam)
Miss Globe- November 3, 2017 (Albania)
Miss Earth- November  4, 2017 (PHILIPPINES)
Reina Hispanoamericana- November  4, 2017 (Bolivia)
Miss International- November   14, 2017 (JAPAN)
Miss World- November   18, 2017 (CHINA)

Miss Universe- November   26, 2017 (USA)
Miss Tourism International- December 6, 2017 (Malaysia)
Miss Supranational- December 2, 2017 (Poland)
Miss Intercontinental- December 21, 2017 (Sri-Lanka)
Miss MultiNational-December 20, 2017 (India)
Miss Eco International- April 2018 (Egypt)

Sashes&Scripts’ Early Faves for Miss Earth 2017!

It may be too early to talk about my favorites for the Miss Earth crown but here I am talking exactly about that. This year, I find myself rooting for these girls: Lessie Giler of Ecuador, Andreia Gibau of the USA, Paweensuda ‘Fahsai’ Drouin of Thailand and Karen Ibasco of the Philippines.

Andreia was crowned Miss Earth United States and she has already captured my attention. This lady is a diva onstage and I find myself thinking that she could easily be the first black-skinned Miss Earth winner (in exception to Kenya’s Winfred Omwakwe who ascended to the throne in 2002). Is it too soon to have another Miss Earth back-to-back win? Perhaps not with the addition of Lessie Giler. This Ivian Sarcos doppelganger might be one of the girls to look out for in the competition. Despite her age (she’s only 18 years old), she is no stranger to pageants having been crowned Miss Teen Ecuador when she was only 16 years old. So expect that she may bring a finesse of a polished competitor in the pageant.

Fahsai was named 2nd runner-up in the Miss Universe Thailand pageant and is appointed as Miss Thailand Earth. This is to the delight of her Filipino fans and she is almost guaranteed a huge support by the Pinoy ME fans. Fahsai is going to be a force to be reckoned with come ME as she is very loved by fans and at the same time possesses a charming and endearing quality to her that the MEOrg could love. While Karen may find winning the ME title an uphill climb, I have no doubt that will at least score an elemental title. Bright, smart, articulate, pretty and packed with a meaty resume, this girl out-achieves other girls in contention. Beauty with substance no doubt. She adds a scientific validity to the cause she supports: sustainable energy.

But this doesn’t mean that I am not open to other girls in contention. I am also keeping an eye specially on the girls from Vietnam, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. Le Thi Ha Thu of Vietnam should be watched out for among the Asian girls this year. Puerto Rico’s Karla Victoria Aponte is also a gorgeous blonde stunner that is bringing the magic of the Enchanted Island back to ME.   The 5’7 1/4″ Ninoska Vasquez of Venezuela has one of the prettiest faces this year and is expected to continue the Venezuelan supremacy in ME.
I can almost guarantee that this will be a very exciting Miss Earth edition. Perhaps one of these ladies will be the next Miss Earth. So watch out for the Sash Factor ME coverage this year as it will be spectacular!

Nelda Ibe: All Set for the Miss Globe Takeoff!

Binibining Pilipinas Globe Nelda Ibe is all set for Miss Globe 2017!

Looking at her Instagram feed and newly released photos, you can see how she has visibly slimmed down. Add to it is how she looks glowing and a lot more refined (for a lack of a better word). Nelda is considered by a number of pageant observers to be one of the more facially gorgeous ladies in her batch, albeit not as photogenic as the other queens are. The 5’9″ stunner is definitely going to be a head turner in the Miss Globe competition whose finals night is on the 3rd of November. It is also interesting to note that she was among the first in her batch to finish the Dale Carnegie training. 

The pilot-beauty queen will be among the first in her Bb. Pilipinas batch to compete abroad. Since her competition date is close with that of the Miss Grand International’s (which is October 26th), it would be safe to assume that she will be sharing a send off with Binibining Pilipinas Grand International, Elizabeth Clenci. The Miss Globe will be hosted once again in Albania this year from October 22nd to the 5th of November (the last two days would include the victory party and departure of the candidates). 

While it may be too soon for a Filipina to be crowned again in the 14 year old pageant, I have high hopes that Nelda could beat the odds for the win. Wishing her all the best in the competition!

Miss World 2017 Sashes&Scripts 1st Leaderboard

The international pageant season is almost upon us. So before it begins, we list down the first Miss World Leaderboard for Sashes&Scripts…

  1. Polina Popova, Russia
  2. Clarissa Bowers, USA
  3. Magdalena Bieńkowska, Poland
  4. Manushi Chhillar, India
  5. Gabrielle Vilela, Brazil
  6. Cynthia Menard,  Canada
  7. Aurore Kichenin, France
  8. Laura Lehmann, Philippines
  9. Achintya Nielsen, Indonesia
  10. Andrea Meza,  Mexico
  11. Polina Tkach, Ukraine
  12. Esma Voloder, Australia
  13. Magline Jeruto,  Kenya
  14. Christine Arual Longar,  South Sudan
  15. Anouk Eman,  Aruba

    With a Russian super-beauty who can speak Mandarin, who is also a Chinese literature degree holder, it is almost a guarantee that Polina Popova is the runaway winner. It also helps that Russia and China are political allies. All of these factors would help Polina in her bid for the crown. Coming up second is another blond beauty Clarissa Bowers from the USA. Aside from her good looks and brains, she is also helped by the “New Franchise-Holder Syndrome“, a fan theory that new NDs of the MW franchise would place quite high in the pageant. Completing the “Battle of the Blondes” trio is the ash-blonde looker from Poland, Magdalena Bieńkowska. No stranger to pageants this beauty represented her country previously in Miss International 2016. Completing the 5 circle of finalists are two countries who have consistently done well in MW: India and Brazil. Manushi Chhillar’s beauty is a mix of Amal Clooney and Leighton Meester. Brazil’s Gabrielle Vilela on the other hand has a Madeleine Stowe vibe on her, very classic face…

A Sandwich Victory for Rachel “Killer Bod” Peters?

1954 & 1956 – USA
1979 & 1981 – Venezuela
1995 & 1997 – USA
2015 & 2017 – Philippines?
If you have guessed by now what these years mean then you are a die-hard Miss Universe fan. The first three are the years when the Miss Universe sandwich victories are made. Will 2017 bid positively for the Philippines as it vies for another sandwich victory in MU?

With Rachel Peters as our bet, this scenario can happen or rather is likely to happen. The Philippines this year is sending a strong girl in the competition and it has been years since we sent a girl that is strong overall. Lovely face, killer bod with legs that goes for miles, strong speaking skills and an interesting background (she grew up in several countries you know…), all perfect ingredients for a winning recipe.
Do you feel that this could be another year of a Miss Universe sandwich victory?

Miss Grand International: A Timely Peace Advocacy?

Today’s post is an opinion piece that can polarize majority of Filipino pageant fans, but before they go on the offensive I hope that they would read thru first before passing judgement. With peace and security becoming a world-wide issue nowadays, is the Miss Grand International peace advocacy one of the most timely nowadays?

Everyday in the news for the past year or so we hear violence in different parts of the world: there was the nuclear threat of North Korea to Guam, the Marawi Incident and the Martial Law in Mindanao, the continuing terrorist attacks in France and Spain, the horrors of war in Syria, and countless battles that we may not even have heard of. Not to mention the wars among pageant fans from different countries, from different pageant following, etc… Perhaps it is time to re-evaluate the Miss Grand International’s peace advocacy to be one that is as timely as the HIV/AIDS epidemic or the global warming threat. Perhaps it is time to re-think peace and being peace-oriented be a necessary step to address the divisiveness and conflict that has been pervasive in modern culture.
With that in mind, talking and promoting peace maybe a more daunting task for the MGI pageant to accomplish. But MGI needs to create more visible and lasting actions to promote its peace advocacy. Being invited to crown national winners is not the activity that would propagate this advocacy. Each year the pageant could target one specific area of promoting peace whether it is on a small scale of speaking about conflict resolution or to a bigger scale of discussing to government leaders about a peace symposium. There is much more wanting to Miss Grand International’s advocacy but if it realizes how to work hard for its advocacy, then the pageant’s relevance factor would perhaps shoot through the roof.

For now, the pageant is slowly building up its reputation among pageant fans in different parts of the world. Hopefully it would be able to solidify its peace advocacy into true palpable action plans. If it manages to do just that within a decade, then it can align itself among the most relevant pageants to follow.

The Strongest Gents of Misters of Filipinas 2017

Recently a number of pageant fans asked me to do a feature on the guys of Misters of Filipinas 2017. Some of which asked me who are on my list this year. After perusing on the list of candidates and their photos, I have narrowed them down to four gentlemen who are strongest and are at least international competition-caliber. I am also posting some tips that I hope they could heed to improve their overall style and packaging…

Clint Karkliñs26 year old, 6’01”, Camarines Sur
Clint is one of the best in the batch and it is almost guaranteed that he will be taking home a title this year: perhaps the Mister Supranational Philippines. The only thing he needs to do is to style him a bit more to make him look more Pinoy. I also suggest that he hyphen his last name to Clint Karklins-Peralta to have a more Filipino sounding name. He has a bit of a nonchalant look, his eyes look dead in most of his photographs… make his eyes alive, his look less flat. This is why he doesn’t look approachable in most of his pics and almost looks aloof. This should be addressed by his coaches…

Lyre Yves Campos24 years old, 5’10”, FilComm of Hawaii
Despite the controversy that one of his page admins did, it does not take away the fact that Yves is one of the most winnable guys. The fact that he has the most commercial face among the batch should almost guarantee him a win. He has a very amiable face and looks great in photos (both professionally made pics and candids). I think he should run away with the photogenic award and should be awarded with best smile. He needs to select swimming trunks that are shorter in leg length to make his legs look longer, if he couldn’t he can just fold it up by an inch to show more leg and hence appear taller. Winning the sports challenge is a sign that this hunk is a serious competitor.

Carlo Pasion21 years old, 5’11”, Laoag City
He was voted Darling of the Press and I see why. He has charm by the tons adding to his boyish good-looks. He is over all one of the strongest guys in the batch and I believe he does know it. So, he needs to milk that out to be able to go head to head with the taller gents in his batch. I think he needs to crop his hair shorter as his head size is a little dis-proportioned to his shoulder. Having close cropped hair will balance it out by making his head look smaller. Nevertheless he is a strong contender for the top title: Mister International Philippines.

Joe-mhar Padilla Mangi23 years old, 5’10”, Oriental Mindoro
This guy is the underdog in the batch, perhaps one of the darkhorses in the competition. I am seeing a frontrunner in this guy despite being relatively unknown to most pageant fans. Despite being only 5’10” you can immediately see in photos that he has one of the more proportional bodies. It doesn’t hurt that he is very photogenic as well as he registers really good even in candids (to which some favorites don’t look half as good as he is in candids). I only suggest a couple of things for him 1) crop the sides of his hair a little closer and 2) he uses his smile more often as he has one of the better smiles (bleach the teeth if needed).

So far I only see these four as potential international reps for the Philippines. Though we should also keep eye on the couple of gents below, they could be spoilers…
Rubi Küst – 21 years old, 6’1″, FilComm of Germany
Ion Perez – 26 year old, 5’10”, Capas -Tarlac

Will There be a Back-to-Back for Ecuador’s Lessie Giler

Katherine Espin has been succeeded by an equally gorgeous Miss Tierra Ecuador by the name Lessie Giler. Question is are we ready to see another back to back win in Miss Earth?

Lessie Giller bested 10 other national finalists for the Miss Earth Ecuador title. The 18 year old, who has been likened to Miss World Ivian Sarcos, was also Miss Teen Ecuador 2015. An interesting fact about her is that she is a survivor of the earthquake of April 16, 2016 in her hometown of Portoviejo (Manabí). Her  house broke due to the earthquake and the accompanying landslide caused by deforestation. In an interview with local media she says, “I want to encourage environmental education in coastal families, tree planting which creates a mesh that protects the river banks of natural disasters. The earthquake and the heavy winters affected the coastal families in my hometown because the ground was unprotected, the earth slipped away taking houses with them. I was one of those affected, in my family we only lost material goods, but we cannot say the same for other families [who lost loved ones].

She plans to work during her reign in a prevention project focused on the protection of the banks of the Rivers through reforestation, with the help of local municipalities in her region. Giller will represent Ecuador in Miss Earth, considered as the third major international pageant, whose finals will be held on November 4 in Manila. She will be traveling on the first week of October to participate in a month-long competition that integrates beauty, attitude and promotes environmental causes. Lessie brings with her not only beauty and smarts but a real/tangible story of a natural disaster survivor… which makes her advocacy more poignant. It would not be surprising to see her make it past the first cut and even score a back to back win in Miss Earth for Ecuador.