Miss Universe Thailand 2012 Farida Waller (L) and Miss Universe Malaysia 2012 Kimberly Leggett – both lovely but looking too foreign relative to the authentic Thai and Malaysian faces we are all used to seeing in past Miss Universe competitions.
Online forums – particularly the ones where Thai and Malaysian pageant enthusiasts heavily converge – keep on comparing their respective beauty queens to no end. Short of saying that the two could be sisters, there’s always this debate on who is the better-looking titleholder: Farida Waller or Kimberly Leggett. Both mixed-race beauties are seen to lead the surge of Asian beauties in Miss Universe 2012. Of course, I am 100% behind our very own Janine Tugonon all the way. But if it is just about selecting who looks better, I would easily pick Farida over Kimberly. The latter has the height (5’10”) advantage, but the former has more appealing facial features. Not that we’d stop at skin-deep comparisons, but both will not lag behind in English fluency as well. If at any, Farida can additionally speak Thai and German.
Personality-wise, Kimberly slightly edges out Farida in terms of bubbliness and candor. Her biggest advantage, though, is the fact that her training for Miss Universe has been running for almost a year now. And it will clearly show once she presents herself wherever this year’s edition will be held. After the 2011 disappointment of Deborah Priya Henry in Sao Paulo, the organizers are working hard to insure that their bet this year will achieve at least a semifinal slot.
How about you, dear readers? Team Farida or Team Kimberly? 😀
Renae Ayris is Miss Universe Australia 2012
Just as I predicted, my top seed to win Miss Universe Australia 2012 was crowned the fairest in the land down under. 21 year-old Renae Ayris – representing Perth – narrowly defeated 1st Runner-Up Mary Vitinaros of Melbourne (also in my Top 5) to become her country’s representative to Miss Universe this coming December. The 5’9″ dancer and photography enthusiast will now have her hands full preparing for the big one after succeeding last year’s winner Scherri-Lee Biggs (also from WA) who finished among the Top 10 in Sao Paulo. Other girls in the Top 5 are 2nd Runner-Up Amy Fromm, 3rd Runner-Up Lucy Tottiett and 4th Runner-Up Julia Perrott Clarke. Below is a video of the finals courtesy of Peter Sereno / Dear Pageant Girl.
All I can say for now is “Congratulations, Renae!” 😀
While the rest of the world is obsessed with sending a Miss Universe delegate who stands a minimum of 5’8″ in height, here comes big ‘ole USA with a titleholder who measures a little more than a shade above 5’5″ (or roughly 1.66m if you will). This is really nothing new or unusual with the country that started the pageant. In the last two decades alone, there are at least three previous Miss USA winners who have almost the same vertical stats (read: 5’6″-below), namely 2006’s Tara Conner (5’5″), 1999’s Kimberly Pressler (5’6″) and 1991’s Kelli McCarty (5’6″).
You can look at it in a few different ways. One, Miss USA is not bothered at all with a shorter winner because she will inevitably be given special attention in Miss Universe – sash factor in the works. Two, Miss USA is more concerned with the X-factor of a state rep more than anything else. Going into the Top 5 and while everyone else is looking at the much taller ladies from Nevada, Ohio and Maryland, Olivia is charming all the judges with her iridescent glow and politically correct way of thinking. Three, Miss USA is Donald Trump’s Miss USA. Regardless of who wins Miss Universe, she will have a wonderful year ahead – living the good life in a posh Trump-owned condominium in Manhattan and sharing some of the bounty in the process. This means that there is no need to panic with a near-petite bet. The more important thing is to choose someone who can best represent all 50 states (plus D.C.) in a color-blind, ethnicity-blind…and height-blind manner.
So there – the sash factor, the X-factor and the Trump factor. Side with what runs closest to what you think or share other theories you may have. 🙂
Miss USA 2012 is Olivia Culpo of Rhode Island
Olivia Culpo, 20, 5’5.5″
A 20 year-old near-petite beauty from Cranston, Rhode Island is the new Miss USA, the very first from her home state. The 5’5.5″ Olivia Culpo outclassed 50 other candidates to win the right to represent the country in Miss Universe 2012 this coming December. Comprising her runners-up are Maryland’s Nana Meriwether (1st), Ohio’s Audrey Bolte (2nd), Nevada’s Jade Keisall (3rd) and Georgia’s Jasmyn Wilkins (4th).
Olivia Culpo in pictures
Congratulations, Olivia! 😀
Farida Waller is Miss Universe Thailand 2012
Farida Waller, a 22 year-old Thai-Austrian beauty, was crowned Miss Universe Thailand 2012, and will now represent the Land of Smiles in Miss Universe 2012. The Liberal Arts-English major, whose dream is to become a Foreign Diplomat someday, stands 5’8″ and measures 32-23-36. She made waves during the finals when she nailed the Q&A ahead of the other ladies in the Top 15. Placing 1st Runner-Up (and also named Miss Earth Thailand 2012) is Warrataya Wongchayaporn.
Warrataya Wongchayaporn, Miss Earth Thailand 2012
Congratulations, Farida and Warrataya! 🙂
Newly-crowned Miss Universe Canada 2012 Sahar Biniaz
Sahar Biniaz after being crowned Miss Universe Canada 2012
Just when everyone in the pageant world (even outside) thought that Canada would produce the first-ever transgender Miss Universe candidate, here comes a real woman stealing the spotlight away from controversial Jenna Talackova. Sahar Biniaz, 26, was crowned Miss Universe Canada 2012 and will now represent the North American country in Miss Universe 2012 come December. She was followed by 1st Runner-Up Admoa Yamoah and 2nd Runner-Up Madj Soudi. Katie Starke and Kesiah Papasin rounded up the Top 5.
Now that Jenna did not even figure in the Top 3 (let alone the Top 5) of the national competition, where will the loss leave her biting the dust so to speak? I would have wanted her getting a decent placement (better than Top 12 and a Best in Swimsuit award) as consolation at the very least. But it seems that the Canadians are not yet ready to set a trend like this. Will Thailand be the one to finally lay claim to the record next year? Let’s wait and see. 😉
Miss Venezuela Irene Esser has been waiting in the wings for more than a half a year now, and is about to have her patience tested even more since Miss Universe 2012 is coming in late with a December date pegged for the finals. Regardless, do you think she is a definite bet to become Venezuela’s 7th MU titleholder? Will she equal her namesake’s achievement (Irene Saez)? Will she make up for the failure of her predecessor – Vanessa Goncalves – to advance beyond the Top 16? Is it fair to say that she is setting an ultra-high benchmark for this year’s edition? Or are we hyping yet another candidate who will not shine well in Donald Trump’s eyes?