Early Frontrunners and Underdogs of the 69th Miss Universe Pageant

The season to be excited about the Miss Universe pageant has begun! Based on what we have been seeing online there are at least 15 ladies to be on the look out in the coming  69th edition of the Miss Universe pageant.

Despite the lack of reliable information on the dates of the MU pageant, we cannot help but sense the feeling that an official announcement may be made by the end of December. But that shouldn’t be of our concern for the moment because the Miss Universe fever seems to have started. And we have listed the ladies that every pageant fan should watch out for!

Blogger’s note: the names are listed in random order and shouldn’t be mistaken for a ranked list.  

Continue reading “Early Frontrunners and Underdogs of the 69th Miss Universe Pageant”

Is 2020 the Rise of the WOC/ Bi-Racial Queens?

Women of color and bi-racial women are on the rise in pageantry. At least 5 recently crowned Miss Universe representatives are women with mixed ancestry and heritages. Featuring several high profile national titleholders, we are delving into this emerging trend among national pageants.

Women of mixed ancestry aren’t hardly new in the Miss Universe pageant. One of the high profile winners of the pageant, Brooke Mahaelani Lee, is Hawaiian-Korean-Chinese and is also perhaps one of the most outspoken Miss Universe winners. However, in most cases winners of the pageant in the last 10-20 years have seen mostly Latinas or those with half Caucasian ancestry with the MU title. It is rare seeing women of color or bi-racial women of color winning the title.

The following women are some of the recently crowned winners who are more than their skin color and pageant fans may have to be on the lookout for… Continue reading “Is 2020 the Rise of the WOC/ Bi-Racial Queens?”

Amanda, Punika and Veena: The Debate

The Miss Universe Thailand 2020 pageant has come and gone, yet still there is still some debate among fans on who truly deserved the title.

Some fans are still not convinced with Amanda Obdam’s victory as the new Miss Universe Thailand. Let’s try to put it into rest this debate with this discussion on the top three winners of the pageant.

When we released our top favorites for the 2020 Miss Universe Thailand pageant, we only mentioned 4 favorites to win instead of our usual ranked prediction list. That was because we felt that there was no way to truly narrow them to just one or two, between Amanda Obdam, Praveenar Singh, Punika Kulsoontornrut and Emmy Kim Sawyer (whose journey shockingly ended in the top 10) we’re spoilt for choice. These ladies were strong and never really let up in the competition. Everyone was in agreement that these were the main frontrunners for the title.

So let’s review their finals night performances and break them down into these categories:
1. Performance
2. Beauty of Face
3. Figure & Body Proportions
4. Intelligence & Communication Skills
5. Commercial and International Appeal

PERFORMANCE (Pasarela & Presentation)

Based on performance alone nobody had a cleaner presentation than that of Punika’s during finals night. From the red carpet to the swimsuit to the evening gown, Punika served it with all the finesse and drama we wanted in a pageant competition. Hands down Punika owned this category. She had control, refined movements and stage presence. Punika was perfection onstage.
Hot on her heel though is Amanda whose presence on-stage is undeniable. During her time on the stage you can see feel her having fun while serving great face all the time. Veena on the other hand has too much energy that it is spilling through which showed lack of control. There are still areas there that can be improved.

BEAUTY OF FACE

Amanda by far has the face that would make anybody gasp and sigh. Her beauty isn’t overpowering but one that welcomes and draws you to come closer. That seems to be the sort that is being preferred in the Miss Universe pageant these days. A beauty that is very relatable.
Coming in second would be Veena although she hasn’t mastered yet how to make use of different facial expressions like squints, smirks, full smile, etc… to convey a wider range of expression. Then we have Punika whose sharp facial structures is akin to a model. High cheekbones and chiseled jawlines galore.

FIGURE AND BODY PROPORTIONS

This area is a close call between Amanda and Punika. Both ladies have great bodies: long slender necks, sloping shoulders, graceful torsos and lithe limbs. However with Punika’s 5’9″ height, we might give her the slighter advantage in this category over Amanda’s 5’7″. That extra inch or two on the legs really makes a difference. Veena’s body proportions is closer to that of Amanda’s with a slightly heavier bottom.
With figures as close to perfection as theirs, presentation is key…that is why it seems that Punika would have the better proportions, simply because she knew how to present her best angles to truly showcase her body at its best.

INTELLIGENCE AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS

Here in this area we cannot seem to have a consesus, so we give them a triple tie in this category, and we’ll explain why. Looking over at the translation of the top 3 answers by the Crown Times Instagram page, you can make better sense of what was said in the final rounds of the competition. It was clear that it was Punika who clearly answered the question clearly. The two others have skirted the question and worked around it. Punika clearly stated an actual physical object to her answer. The sequence of her thoughts were cohesively presented. Veena’s answer was a little all over the place. She talked about smiles, about humility, being a Thai, religion and monarchy but didn’t seem to present it cohesively and narrow it down to a focused answer.

Mastery of language doesn’t always equate to substance in answers and that has been the critique that fans place on Amanda. However the one thing she did right that made her answer work was she personalized it and talked about the critique of her being a ‘halfie’. This allowed the judges, and in extension the audience, to contextualize her answer. This was what made her answer work. That is why her ‘all of me’/ ‘my Thai-ness’ response to the question made better sense. She answered the question indirectly through her experience.

COMMERCIAL AND INTERNATIONAL APPEAL

Hands down Amanda is leagues away from the competition in this aspect. Being a Thai-Canadian person didn’t take away from her chances of winning. In fact it made her be more cosmopolitan and modern. Which makes her appeal to a wider international audience. Amanda’s beauty is very commercial, which is an advantage to the organization itself as it will rake in revenue of sorts. Let’s be honest, pageants are a business industry nowadays so it’s time to start thinking of it in that terms. A winner’s ability to bring in revenue is as important as her ability to perform onstage.
Not saying that Punika or Veena don’t have international appeal. They do but perhaps not in the same scale as that of Amanda’s. We would say though that next to Amanda, we feel that Veena comes in at a distant second.

CONCLUSION

Over-all it seems that Amanda takes the lead in all categories combined. So it thus makes sense that she was the one to actually win the title this year. The heartbreaking aspect of this write-up is that Punika would also have been a great rep considering the finesse and refinement in her over-all presentation. We may have to be content to see that her final pageant forray is one for the pageant books. At least Veena has a chance to return and should take some time recover and re-assess her gameplan for the next time. The areas we mentioned should be the areas that she should be planning and training harder for.

Amanda’s win didn’t come as a surprise to yours truly. We knew the areas that each of them had an Achilles’ heel on. So we already had a sense that these three ladies would eventually be fighting tooth and nail for the title. What we couldn’t account for was the judges tastes and what the organization was looking for. Clearly, we were right all along to put our bets on these girls.

As for Amanda, there is a need to train hard to speak concisely and avoid being too wordy. There is no need for her to over explain her answer, because brevity is the soul of wit. She needs to be trained how to edit her thoughts so that what comes out as a response are ones that makes impact. If she masters this, she could be on her way to the third Miss Universe crown from Thailand.

Miss Universe Thailand 2020 Winners!

A new Miss Universe Thailand winner has been crowned and it’s none other than Amanda Chalisa Obdam from Phuket!

It was a glitzy event that gave pageant fans a break from the current realities of the pandemic, a taste of what used to be our normal. The Miss Universe Thailand pageant was everything pageant fans love about pageantry. It was a night of surprises and expected outcomes.

The Top 20
Bangkok – Arisara Purechatang
Bangkok – Nuttha Thongkaew
Bangkok – Pornpreeya Jumnongbut
Bangkok – Radamanee Kanjanarat
Chiang Mai – Wanvisa Maya Goldman
Chumphon – Jareerat Petchsom
Khon Kaen – Wichuda Kamyos
Nakhon Pathom – Natthapat Pongpraphan
Saraburi – Sirilux Songsri
Sukhothai – Thidapon Ketthong
The 12 ladies I’ve mentioned in my MUT favorites all made top 20. We honestly thought that it will be a top 15 this year but nevertheless we are quite ecstatic about that. We think that the opening statement/ speech was a great way to start the competition as it harks back to the Miss Universe opening statements that started in 2018.

Top 10
Bangkok – Chanakarn Suksatit
Bangkok – Patitta Suntivijj
Chiang Mai – Emmy Kym Sawyer
Phetchaburi – Thaweeporn Phinchamrat
Phuket – Benjarat Akkarawanichsil Aebi
It was clear that the top 10 would be a fight among the best overall performers. This is quite evident with the strong and polished performances of the top 10 girls. That was no surprise. Strong performances on the swimsuits came from Punika, Alexandra, Emmy, Praewwanich, Thidaporn and Amanda. The evening gown segment was owned by Punika alone, IMHO, and deserved to make top 5 after those two superb performance on SS and EG.
The shock came was when we saw Emmy Kim Sawyer failing to make top 5, despite a clean performance on the swimsuit and evening gown segments. Our thought about this was that she was perhaps outperformed by the five pageant veterans who made it into the winning circle. We undoubtedly believe that had she made top 5, she would have easily killed it on the two q&a segments.

The Winners
4th Runner up – Alexandra Haenggi
3rd Runner up – Praewwanich Ruangthong
2nd Runner up – Punika Kulsoontornrut
1st Runner up – Praveenar Singh
Miss Universe Thailand – Amanda Obdam

Three of our four bets made top 3 this year. In an earlier IG Story in the day, we mentioned that we wanted Emmy or Amanda to win while we thought Punika and Veena could win it all. Eventually, the heart won as it was Amanda who came in with the surprise win. During the last two question and answer segments, we thought that it was Punika and Veena who showed command of the language and confidence. For a moment there we thought that it will be between them for the title. But in the final q&a, Amanda sort of rallied a repetitive but strong response.

As to why Punika and Veena only ended up as runners up? We can only speculate. We believe that it was the ‘commercial factor’ that placed Amanda above the rest. All three ladies performed well in the evening gown and swimsuit segments, but we think that Amanda’s more international appeal and commercial beauty is what truly puts her above the two. It also helps that Amanda speaks perfect English, never mind the fact that she still needs more training on how to drive her point better, but that she can use that to draw a more international audience could have been a factor. If the MU parent company, Endeavor (formerly IMG|WME), is in deed financial trouble, then it makes sense to select a girl who has the commercial appeal and thus bring in the revenue.

In conclusion, we think Amanda’s win is a strategic play on the part of the Miss Universe Thailand organization. Amanda, in my opinion, is the better over-all choice in terms of strength in all areas: communication skills, facial beauty, body, charming personality, presentation/ pasarela and stage presence.
In the end of the day, we are quite happy with the results. The ones we had our eyes on to win eventually romped off with the title and the top runner up positions.

Sashes&Scripts Favorites for Miss Universe Thailand 2020

The Miss Universe Thailand 2020 finals will take place on October 10 at True Icon Hall, Icon Siam with the crowning of reigning queen Paweensuda Drouin’s successor. The winner of the competition will receive one million baht in cash prize, plus a car and a condominium.

With a highly competitive batch, we honestly feel that it will be anybody’s ballgame. The past few days we have seen the sudden rise of (but well deservingly so) of the following ladies: Benjarat, Thidaporn, Sirilux and Thaweeporn. To see them make past the first cut would not be a surprise.

In this list, we named 12 ladies who we believe would be in the running for the title. The next set of four candidates are those we believe to be among those to watch out for as they are among the frontrunners and darkhorses in the competition. Note, that these ladies are listed in random order. Among the ladies in the competition this year, the following are the ones that we believe to have a good shot at the title:
* Alexandra Haenggi (Age: 21 Years, Height: 172 cm) – she is undoubtedly one of our ladies in the underdog list but make no mistake, she’s a contender. The former Miss Chiang Mai actually reminds us of former Binibining Pilipinas winner Eva Patalinjug in terms of facial beauty.

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ALEXANDRA HAENGGI AS MISS UNIVERSE THAILAND 2020? This Swiss-Thai beauty is one of the fresh faces in the competition this year. She is 21-years-old and has stands 172 cm tall and is a student of Electrical Engineering from Chiang Mai University. One of the reasons why she is pursuing Electrical Engineering is because she wants to develop equipment for renewable energy that could help future generations to live in better environmental conditions. Alexandra spends her free time from studying and part-time modelling to help fight forest fires and volunteered along with the Chiang Mai Breath Council to visit affected forests to help restore damaged areas. She also volunteers with the Baan Te Amfan Chiang Mai homeless group to bring cheer to displaced people. She is also an avid traveler and keeps followers updated with her travels on her social media. She likes to stay connected with her roots and is excited to showcase her love for her country on an international stage. More pageant trivia, news, rumors and updates on the "Latest Post" button in the link in bio! Don’t forget to follow us @sashesandscriptsofficial and be a part of our community! . . . . . . . . . . #SashesandScripts #PageantBlogger #UltimatePageantBlog #PageantBlog #PageantBlogger #MUT #MUT2020 #missuniverse #missuniversethailand #missuniversethailand2020 #confidentlybeautiful #alexandrahaenggi #misschiangmai

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* Praewwanit/ Praewwanich Ruangthong (Age: 27 Years, Height: 172 cm) – personally, we feel that she is the true face of the competition. Her dusky skin and her very racially-ambiguous face is one that should grace an international competition.

* Bewnuttha Thongkaew (Age: 27 Years, Height: 168 cm) – another dusky skinned beauty that I feel the Thai fans often overlook. In a competition that seems to prefer fair skinned girls, Nuttha offers a fresh and different take on beauty.

* Wanvisa Maya Goldman (Age: 26 Years, Height: 170 cm) –  this lady is one of those that we feel is severely underrated. IMHO, she is a far superior speaker than most of the front-runners in the competition. What she brings in the competition is a maturity not commonly found among pageant girls nowadays. That is her strength that she brings into the title.

TOP PICKS FOR MUT2020
If we are to narrow our selection to just five ladies for the title, then we would absolutely want these ladies in the top.
* Amanda Obdam (Age: 27 Years, Height: 170 cm) – if one is to look for the perfect balance of communication skills, stage presence, facial beauty and physical assets, Amanda would be it. No doubt she will be a great Thai rep to MU if she wins.

* Praveenar Singh (Age: 24 Years, Height: 178 cm)– she’s the fan-favorite and everybody seems to love her. And there is no reason not to. She is absolutely beautiful and possesses a very universal face. She speaks with confidence and commands a huge following. Put them together and you have a candidate whose MU campaign will be quite strong. She would be unstoppable in Miss Universe if she channels the same level of energy in the nationals to the global stage.

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WHY NOT AN INDIAN-DESCENT MISS UNIVERSE THAILAND FOR 2020? Praveenar Singh is graduate of Liberal Arts from Thammasat University. From Chiang Mai, Veena is a Thai citizen of Indian descent and is fluent in speaking three languages: English, Russian, and Thai. She believes that beauty pageants aren’t just about beauty anymore as they provide a platform to women to showcase their talent, talk about their advocacies and become confident. She keeps herself fit by practicing Muay Thai and weight lifting. She has been an advocate for girls who struggle with self-doubt. With a platform that Miss Universe Thailand provides, she is willing to reach out to millions of girls who are struggling with bullying. She wants to change the mindset of the people by advocating people about the affects of bullying. We believe that her being of Indian descent would add a specal layer in her participation in Miss Universe if she wins. She would be a great spokesperson regarding diversity and inclusion. Current social issues that might be relevant to speak of during MU… More pageant trivia, news, rumors and updates on the "Latest Post" button in the link in bio! Don’t forget to follow us @sashesandscriptsofficial and be a part of our community! . . . . . . . . . . #SashesandScripts #PageantBlogger #UltimatePageantBlog #PageantBlog #PageantBlogger #MUT #MUT2020 #missuniverse #missuniversethailand #missuniversethailand2020 #missthailand #confidentlybeautiful #veena #praveenarsingh

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* Punika Kulsoontornrut (Age: 27 Years, Height: 175 cm) – aging like fine wine, Polly is definitely a crown contender, no doubt about it. There is a certain finesse in her presentation that could be appreciated in Miss Universe. We are yet to see if luck be on her side this time like in her past stint at Miss Earth and Miss International where she made 2nd runner up in both international Alpha pageants. If it happens that age is a huge factor in selecting the winner, she would be the biggest threat to claim the crown.

* Emmy Kim Sawyer (Age: 19 Years, Height: 173 cm) – being young doesn’t seem to be a roadblock to this young lady. She is arguably one of the two top speakers in her batch. When asked if she was sent to MU, would she bring home the title and her unequivocal response was “Definitely. Full stop“. That kind of confidence is quite rare among her age. It will be a great story if she should win as she would represent a younger voice into the MU conversation.

Personally, I am placing my confidence on Veena, Amanda, Punika and Emmy as they would be great for the Miss Universe pageant. I have always been a sucker for good communicators and unconventional beauties, so these two being personal faves are no surprise. Punika is a seasoned pro and that is undeniable in her performance specially in the last stages of the competition. So to see her win wouldn’t be a long shot too. Veena being a fan favorite is hard to ignore as well. Your blogger truly believes that the battle will be fought hard between these four ladies.

I do not discount the possibility, however, that anyone in our list could be the next Thai rep to Miss Universe… Indeed, the Miss Universe Thailand Org is spoilt for choice.