Miss Earth

Miss Earth, the pageant that has crowned queens from non-powerhouse countries

Jairo Bolledo

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Miss Earth, the pageant that has crowned queens from non-powerhouse countries

Miss Earth/ Raffy de Guzman/ Rappler

Among the 17 countries that got the Miss Earth crown, at least eight are from nations that had not won in any of the Big 4 pageants until then

MANILA, Philippines – During the finals night of the Miss Earth 2023 pageant in Vietnam on Friday, December 22, the judges picked a winner from a non-pageant powerhouse country.

A country can be considered a powerhouse if it won in all the major international pageants also known as the “Big 4” pageants – Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss International, and Miss Earth – or at least have a good number of crowns in some of these pageants. The powerhouse countries which have won in all the Big 4 pageants are Venezuela, Philippines, United States, Brazil, and Puerto Rico.

This year, Drita Ziri of Albania beat 84 other candidates, including the Philippines’ very own Yllana Marie Aduana, who was named Miss Earth Air (2nd placer). Ziri made history as the first Albanian to win the Miss Earth Crown. She also brought Albania its first Big 4 pageant victory.

Ziri is not the first Miss Earth queen to pull such a feat – there were other “queens of the Earth” who had gifted their respective countries with a win in a major international pageant.

The first Miss Earth winner, in fact, was from a non-powerhouse country. Catharina Svensson of Denmark was crowned in 2001. No other Danish contestant in any of the Big 4 pageants had won since then.

The two Miss Earth winners after Svensson also came from countries that are not considered as powerhouses in the pageant world: Džejla Glavović of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2002 (who was later replaced by Kenya’s Winfred Omwakwe) and Dania Prince of Honduras in 2003.

The Miss Earth pageant seemed to continue the trend up to the present through the crownings of Mina Sue Choi of South Korea, and then Ziri. Among the 17 countries that got the Miss Earth crown, at least eight are from nations that had not won in any of the Big 4 pageants until then.

The ‘sash factor’

In the pageant world, there is what is called “sash factor” – a country’s prominence and reputation in a certain pageant.

The heavier a country’s sash factor, the more it can help its candidates in terms of visibility. This means that when a country consistently places in a pageant, their contestants tend to have a boost in their popularity, which can help them stand out during the competition.

It also boosts the morale of the pageant contestants when they know that their country is well-respected in the pageant scene. Powerhouse countries tend to have a strong sash factor. In international pageants, the fans are always looking for candidates of countries with a strong reputation in the pageant world.

In the context of Miss Earth and the trend in its winners, the crowning of non-powerhouse countries indicates that even nations with less visibility in the pageant world have a chance to win the Miss Earth crown. – Rappler.com

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.