Unless you are a late millennial baby, chances are that the name Christelle Roelandts will definitely ring a bell. Who would forget Miss Belgium from Miss Universe 1994 who charmed all Filipinos with a beauty more endearing than Phoebe Cates? She became an instant favorite right from the get-go. And she was picked by most everyone as a contender for the title. But somehow, her star started to wane when it mattered most. If only the entire Filipino nation had a weighty vote to throw in, then Christelle would have been a shoo-in to the Top 10 and eclipsed the like of surprise qualifier Sweden. It’s as if her physical beauty was easily outpowered by the competitiveness of the Latinas and Sushmita Sen combined when the going got tough. It doesn’t help any that she had a relatively shy demeanor that effectively prevented her from hugging the spotlight everytime she had the chance to do so.
Fast forward to 2017 for the country’s 3rd hosting of Miss Universe. And we have another Miss Belgium who is starting to get noticed by most everyone I know in the media coverage group. Here is Stephanie Geldhof who – with or without makeup – looks so seriously beautiful. Her features are well-defined, but soft enough to project a quality of captivating appeal. She may not be as loud as the more aggressive contestants, but she is definitely not the type who cower under intimidation once the chance to shine comes. And I am starting to really like her.
That is where the main difference lies actually. Whereas Christelle Roelandts was like a flash-in-the-pan who effortlessly invited crowds everywhere during the pre-pageant activities, Stephanie is like a silent killer who is skillfully sizing up her opponents first before going for the jugular. If she keeps up the game plan, then Miss Belgium 2017 will definitely outperform Miss Belgium 1994. Maybe not by a mile just yet for now, but hopefully going that stretch in the coming two weeks.