Tonight will be the Coronation Night of Miss Earth 2009 at the Boracay Ecovillage Resort & Convention Center in the island of Boracay. The 80 official candidates have spent close to a month of promoting environmental awareness around the country, attending various functions, lending their presence to sponsors’ events, participating in the annual caravan which brought them to different key cities in the Philippines and endless bonding with the locals.
Who will win the title of Miss Earth 2009? Who will be named Miss Air, Miss Water and Miss Fire?
Here are my picks. Consider them my fearless forecast.
My Elemental Top 4
ME Spain Alejandra Echevarria
Alejandra started upping her momentum in the pageant early on, stepped up to the plate as one of the hot favorites and continues to do so without fail after landing the Top 15 in both swimsuit and evening gown preliminaries. Her captivating face has made many local pageant followers sit up and take notice of this senorita
. If she plays her cards right, there’s a very excellent prospect that Spain will win its 1st Miss Earth crown.
ME Philippines Sandra Seifert
Will Sandra do a Stefania (Fernandez) and win the Miss Earth 2009 crown to score a back-to-back victory for the Philippines? It is a distinct possibility. She topped both swimsuit and evening gown preliminaries. Aside from that, she is articulate with a gift of gab so taking the responsibility of being an environmental spokesperson should come easy for our bet.
ME USA Amy Diaz
This Rhode Island native is the strongest American candidate the USA has sent for the past years that Miss Earth has been in existence. She has the elegant stride, friendly personality and sunny disposition that ooze with unbridled optimism. It also helps her cause that she is well-spoken and more than familiar with environmental issues around the world. Could this be the year for the USA to finally stamp its true class in the pageant?
ME Venezuela Jessica Barboza
The nice thing about Venezuela’s annual participation in Miss Earth is that they send candidates who are more relaxed and significantly less pageant-patty compared to the ones sent to Miss Universe or Miss World. This remains true with Jessica. She may not be as drop-dead gorgeous as, say, MU2008 Dayana Mendoza but this Law student definitely has the makings of a winner. If she makes it far in the finals, then it only means that she is not just beautiful but smart as well.
My Top 8
ME France Magalie Thierry
Magalie stands out effortlessly. Her doll-like features are more than enough to make heads turn. But it doesn’t stop there. Her whistle-bait figure adds more premium, on top of the more essential qualification she brings forth to the pageant – she is currently doing her Masteral studies in Biology-Ecology. Who could be a more commanding Miss Earth than a beautiful lady who has formal specialization in flora, fauna and other environmental concerns?
ME Cuba Jamillete Gaxiola
The other doll-like beauty in this year’s batch, Jamillete enthralls you with her striking facial features. She is the classic example of the fiery mestiza
but with the extra of having the heart for charitable causes and the like. The locals are literally warming up to her and it comes as no surprise. Hers is the type that lingers without giving you the feeling of fullness.
ME Paraguay, Gabriela Rejala
No longer a newbie in pageants, Gabriela has the previous experience of wearing the Miss Paraguay sash (or tag if you will) in last year’s Miss World. This certainly adds up to her bearing and confidence. I may not see her getting fitted with the new Miss Earth crown tonight, but she will be up there with the other stand-outs alright.
ME Brazil Larissa Ramos
Larissa is earthiness personified. This exotic Brazilian lives up to the reputation of the country she represents. She is sexy, sensual and totally alluring. There’s a good chance that she will duplicate her compatriot Priscilla Meirelles’ efforts way back in 2004. Otherwise, making it to the Top 8 proves the consistently excellent track record of Brazil in Miss Earth.
My Top 18
ME Thailand Rujinan Phanseethum
Rujinan has the sweetest face in the pageant. She is a local favorite and I hope she works this advantage with the judges when it matters most. Her inclusion in the Top 15 in evening gown preliminaries is a plus factor.
ME Switzerland Graziella Rogers
Voted as Miss Congeniality by the ladies themselves, Graziella is the true epitome of being equally beautiful and genuinely friendly. She also made it to the Top 15 in swimsuit preliminaries that jacks up her chances.
ME Poland Izabela Wilczek
Every year, Poland sends candidates who almost always look alike (read: Polish women are very attractive) and Izabela joins that sorority of adorably beautiful women.
ME Hungary Korinna Kocsis
Young and sexy, Korinna wowed everyone during the swimsuit preliminaries. Her innocent and unaffected looks could score high on the judges’ tally sheet.
ME Colombia Alejandra Castillo Munera
This Latina continues the strong tradition of Colombia in Miss Earth. Although nobody has yet won from her country, she could pull the rug from right under the leaders’ noses and zoom to the top if lady luck is on her side.
ME Kosovo Elza Marku
Elza fixes herself up like Miss Kosovo-Universe Gona Dragusha (complete with the hair bun on top of her head) and although they look different, she could be priming herself up for the big time if her lucky stars align tonight.
ME Italy Luna Isabella Voce
Her name reads like a character in an Italian fairy tale and her classic face reminds me of Roman Goddesses of yester-centuries. The evening gown she wore in the preliminaries is knockout elegant. She is, I believe, my dark horse to win this year. That’s going out on a limb for me.
ME Turks & Caicos Alison Capron
Alison poses an easy attraction to anyone who meets her face-to-face. Turks & Caicos should be proud of how she represented them in Miss Earth 2009. And they would be even heaps prouder if she places well in the finals.
ME Mexico Natalia Quinones Perez de Jalisco
I have to be honest. I included Natalia in my list because she made it to the Top 15 in both swimsuit and evening gown preliminaries. She must have a mystifying presence only a personal encounter can provide.
ME Ukraine Karina Golovata
Ukrainian beauty queens almost always raise the bar when it comes to beauty of face and figure. Karina is no exception. Her fresh pop-idol looks (a good cross between Britney Spears and Avril Lavigne) should make it a relatively easy route to the semifinals.
It’s no easy task trimming down the 80 ladies to just the Top 18. Truth be told, there are still around 3-4 names (like ME Latvia Diana Kubasova, ME Peru Leticia Rivera, ME Northern Ireland Kayleigh O’Reilly and ME Jamaica Jenaae Jackson) I would like to include but that would go against the fearless prediction I had intended for this particular blog entry. In a competition like Miss Earth where a candidate’s intelligence and environmental-savvy is given high marks in the semifinals en route to the elemental Top 4, there is no telling if a front-runner can hold up her stead as the actual contest progresses. So we will really see the prettiest and the smartest in one package as reigning Miss Earth Karla Paula Henry crowns her successor tonight!
May the best woman win!
Watch the live TV telecast of Miss Earth 2009 over ABS-CBN at 10pm.
Images above are courtesy of the Miss Earth website.