My 2017 Miss Universe picks is gonna be a real nail-biter. And since I have been covering here in Las Vegas, seeing the girls up-close adds a different dimension to their personality which just reinforced by belief that it will boil down to just three girls…
Here are my thoughts on these girls:
3. Philippines, Rachel Peters – definitely the Miss Universe prototype. She is perhaps the most well-rounded girl that the Philippines have sent to the pageant. How she performs on the finals will rely on how she will handle the pressure onstage. Rachel has to gather all her strength and focus on the task at hand and deliver an explosive performance as she did during the Binibining Pilipinas finals.
2. Thailand, Maria Poonlertlarp Ehren – an academic achiever whose advocacy is about education. The Thai rep this year is one of the rumored favorites of the MUOrg just like how Pia was in 2015. Nevertheless it will be a tough competition as it will be the panel of judges who will pick the eventual winner. Maria just needs to stick to her gameplan and execute it flawlessly.
1. South Africa, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters – the girl who kills it in the interviews. She is most likely the real threat to the crown with her sweet and bubbly disposition. She seems to be someone that you would like to befriend because of genuine smile and lovely personality. Demi needs to make sure that she minimizes her weak areas by maximizing her strong assets. If genuineness is the main criteria of being a MU winner, then she would runaway with it without much effort.
Back when I covered the Binibini send-off of Miss Universe Philippines Rachel Peters in Novotel, I asked her this question: who do you think is your biggest competitor aside from yourself? She mentioned Thailand and South Africa. I observed here in Las Vegas that she is right. Maria is very on point in everyday styling and has always been very accommodating to fans. Demi-Leigh is showing her genuine personality day in and day out. Rachel on the other hand is the quiet darkhorse that will slay come finals. I believe that the title is going to be a triple-battle between the Rachel Peters, Maria Poonlertlarp Ehren and Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters. It will all boil down to the judges’ picks now…
All I can say now is good luck to these three girls. May the best lady win!
If there are three things in common Miss Universe Philippines Rachel Peters and Miss Universe Thailand Maria Poonlertlarp Ehren together, they are: 1) Thailand, 2) halfies 3) international studies.
Rachel was born in Bahrain to a British father and a Filipina mother. Her unique upbringing has enabled her to live in different parts of the world as she lived in Australia, Thailand, UK and the Philippines. She graduated from the British International School, Phuket in Thailand with an International Baccalaureate degree, and earned her bachelor’s degree in business, tourism, and events from La Trobe University in Australia.
Maria was born in Bangkok to a Swedish father and a Thai mother. But has lived in Vietnam and Europe. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands and later attended Stockholm Business School for her master’s degree taking up international business commerce.
Both ladies are also representing the country from which their mothers hail, both girls are in their mid-20’s, and both girls are considered Asian frontrunners. These similarities would hopefully be a good start off point for both Thai and Philippine pageant fans to support both girls in Miss Universe.
With the Philippines nearing the peaking point of its popularity among pageant organizations, Sashes&Scripts is now under the assumption that Thailand would be the next “It” country from Asia.
The Miss Universe Thailand pageant, through its parent org Bangkok Broadcasting & T.V. Co., Ltd. (Channel 7), acquired the rights in 2000 to send a Thai representative to compete at Miss Universe. Despite moving channels from 20112-14, it has still maintained its prestige at the premier national pageant in Thailand. Thailand has just recently started to have its Miss Universe renaissance and it bodes well for this ASEAN country. It started with Aniporn Chalermburanawong who made it in the top 10 last 2015 in Las Vegas. She was then followed by the top 6 placement of Chalita Suansane during the 2016 edition in Manila. Chalita, who made it into the semis via the online votes, was the highest placement of Thailand in Miss Universe since Porntip Nakhirankanok won the title back in 1988. This year there are high expectations for the Thai rep Maria Lynn Ehren to crack the top 3 in MU.
As evidenced by the high votes of the Thai reps in MU in the past two editions, we are quite sure that the MUOrg have noticed this trend. And they should capitalize on that. We are under the assumption that Thailand would be in the list of countries that the MU could convince to hold the pageant once more. Surely a lot of pageant fans would be happy to see the MU back in Thailand after its magnificent hosting of the pageant in 2005. That year was perhaps one of the best set design and stages of the MU pageant in the past two decades. Sashes&Scripts is predicting that the pageant might revisit the Land of Smiles in the next 5 years.
Just like how the Philippines had to wait several years for a MU winner while having a string of runner up placements, Thailand for sure will be enjoying placement after placement in MU before securing its 3rd MU crown. I see that with the fan support, every Thai rep will be having traction on the online voting and social media presence. Surely that would help boost their campaign for another Miss Universe title. This is not a question of if, but rather a matter of when.