Ever since I have covered the Miss Universe pageant live since 2014, one country has always been in the top 3: Colombia.
It started in 2014, when I first covered the Miss Universe pageant in Doral, Miami. In Doral I saw how Paulina Vega worked the press with her bubbly personality and charm. Then it was followed by Ariadna Gutierrez in las Vegas. She may have looked aloof by some Filipino fans but she was quite amiable when I was able to interact with her. Of course we also saw Andrea Tovar in Manila who was quite regal. Then came Laura González who, despite her overly animated facial antics, was quite a looker in person.
I have watched each of them compete live during their respective finals. Luck seems to be on their side nowadays compared to the 90’s when they sent gorgeous ladies that always ended up as bridesmaids: Paola Turbay, Paula Andrea Betancourt & Carolina Gomez (1992-1994). The 2000’s wasn’t short of lovely Colombianas as well with Valerie Tarud, Catalina Acosta and Taliana Vargas making a dent in the competition but not making enough damage to romp with the Miss Universe title.
If they manage to make it to top 3 once again this 2018 when I cover the pageant, I’m starting to think that I might be the lucky charm of Colombia in MU…lols…
As mentioned in previous post, there is a lot to cover this year despite to what feels like a rushed Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas.
Continental Selection of Semi-finalists – I have a feeling that this “gimmick” will only last a year or two. Specially with the backlash that the pageant has received. What I do not like about this is how heavily unbalanced the groupings were with several weak Europeans making it into the list over girls like Misses Panama, Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Peru, Korea, Cambodia, Tanzania, and Mauritius. The selection seemed uneven as it left other more worthy competitors in favor of a more “equally diverse selection of semi-finalists“. This novelty in MU is something that Miss Earth and Miss Intercontinental has done more successfully in their pageants. Pageant fans of ME deem it as a copycat move by MU. The idea is good, the execution though is sloppy.
Another thing, why can’t the MU award the ladies that won Miss Congeniality and Best in National costume onstage as it used to? It was a disservice to Panama that she didn’t have her time at the limelight onstage just like Japan’s win for Best National Costume.
The Top 10 & Top 5 Finalists – IMHO I felt like Miss Philippines Rachel Peters should have been in the top 5, I thought she delivered in the evening gown competition. I believe that three strong communicators (Philippines, USA and Canada) were purposely left behind because it would spell doom for a couple of favorites. They would have definitely made it harder for the top 5 to make top 3.
I was glad that Jamaica’s Davina Bennett made top 5 as she was the only black girl to be called. Davina was one of the strongest girls in the interviews and nailed it every time she spoke. The mulatta Keysi Sayago added variety in a decidedly Caucasian-looking top 5. She added lots of energy and fire and I personally prefer her to make top 3 than Colombia. Laura, however, delivered a stronger answer with conviction than Keysi that allowed her to take the lead. It was a disappointment to see Maria Poonlertlarp Ehren of Thailand to choke the Q&A. I thought that she had one of the easy questions that night which was quite similar to Maxine Medina’s question last MU in January. Demi-Leigh delivered a solid performance at the Q&A as expected.
Miss Universe Runners Up– what is it about Jamaica that the MU doesn’t seem to give high placements to their girls despite performing well in the final Q&A? This happened with Yendi, Kaci and now Davina. I have no issues with Laura placing higher than Davina, though I believe that Davina delivered a much more meaningful, compassionate and heartfelt response to the question. And yes, there were boos because people in the theatre felt that she deserved to be in the top 2.
Guess what? The candidates split themselves in congratulating Demi versus Davina. Davine seemed to get the larger chunk of well-wishers. This is exactly the scenario in 2014 with Kasi Fennell. Davina was also given by the crowd a huge wave of cheers when she stood onstage for a moment. Now that is a queenly treatment! Seems like had the candidates been allowed to cast their votes for a winner, they would have hands down chosen Jamaica. That would have changed the game entirely and perhaps to Davina’s favor. IMHO, I believed that Jamaica should have ended with a top 2 finish.
I believe that the only reason perhaps that she ended up on 3rd place was because Laura and Demi were more “commercial and marketable” in terms of their beauty. Demi owned the night, and the multiple videos showcasing her was evidence of that. She delivered consistently throughout the evening but Davina and Laura gave her a run for her money.
If there is one country that is currently on the top of the Miss Universe list, that would be Colombia. In the past three years, they have won Miss Universe, 1st runner up and 2nd runner up. Will Laura González Ospina continue that winning streak?
The multilingual brunette is just a bit shy of 5’10”. She is currently one of the top favorites for the title of Miss Universe among pageant fans and observers. This 22 year old actress-model was born in Cali, Colombia but grew up in Cartagena. She comes after the footsteps of Miss Universe 2014 Paulina Vega, 2015 MU 1st runner up Ariadna Gutierrez and 2016 MU 2nd runner up Andrea Tovar. The pressure is on her to keep Colombia to be in the top 3 of the pageant.
DO you think she can keep Colombia’s top three streak in Miss Universe this year?
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.
While the international pageant season is yet to arrive (starts during the ‘Ber months), we list down the ladies who are currently the most visible frontrunners and/or darkhorses in the competition. We have included in this list national winners from countries that have yet to name if their main girl is competing for Miss Universe or Miss World.
Australia, Olivia Molly Rogers – 25 years old, 5’8″ tall, a speech pathologist by profession. She is one of the girls with a beefy resume.
Colombia, Laura González Ospina – 22 years old, 5’9 3/4″ tall, one of the most facially arresting girls this year. She speak English, French and Spanish.
France, Alicia Aylies – 19 years old, 5’11” tall, a woman of color to win her country’s nationals. This curly haired beauty from French Guiana is confirmed to represent her count at MU this year.
Mexico, Denisse Franco – 19 years old, 5’10” tall, she is perhaps one of the top contenders this year.
Philippines, Rachel Louise Peters – 25 years old, 5’10” tall, one of the more well-rounded girls sent by the Philippines in recent years. This events organizer and self confessed beach bum surely is a darkhorse.
Puerto Rico, Danyeshka Hernández – 19 years old, 5’9″ tall, she is a student currently pursuing Public Relations and Marketing studies. Interesting to note that she is also a pageant veteran.
Russia, Polina Popova – 22 years old, 5’11” tall, the first blonde Miss Russia winner in years. She can surely make the cut if the basis is pure beauty alone.
South Africa, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters – 22 years old, 5’7″ tall, she is supposed to represent her country on both MU and MW pageants. Despite being the shortest in this list, she has one of the facially gorgeous girls in this list.
USA, Kara McCullough – 25 years old, 5’11” tall, the girl with the heaviest of resumes. Kara could potentially be the benchmark that all other girls would have to measure up to in MU this year.
Venezuela, Keysi Sayago – 23 years old, 5’11” tall, the one of the MV mold breakers and could be rewarded in MU for that. Her being the 3rd woman of color to win MV could help to her advantage.
We are yet to find out the reps for other heavy hitters like Brazil, Great Britain, Jamaica and Thailand, among others. We are still awaiting for the transformation to be seen on other countries’ reps that were already crowned like those from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Sweden.