MANILA, Philippines – The year 2013 gave us 89 lovely delegates, battling it out for the honor of being the most beautiful Earth Warrior. There have been clear front-runners since the girls’ arrival in Manila, with some of them fortifying their spots through solid pre-pageant performances. But with Miss Earth being a little unpredictable, be prepared for pleasant surprises.
Who are leading the race to the Miss Earth crown? Who will emerge victorious come coronation night on Saturday? Here’s the fearless forecast:
16th: Northern Ireland, Amira Graham
Amira Graham wasn’t on anybody’s list before the ladies’ arrivals, but she surprised everyone by doing well in the preliminary activities. She won a gold medal during the I Love My Planet School Tour Challenge and a silver for being among the Most Child Friendly candidates. She may not be the best, but she has a bubbly personality.
15th: Indonesia, Nita Sofiani
Nita Sofiani exudes positive energy. She won a gold medal for her National Costume and a bronze for the I Love My Planet School Tour Challenge. She was also among the top 15 finalists in the Talent competition. Nita is ready to keep the streak going following Indonesia’s success in this year’s Miss Universe and Miss World.
14th: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Vera Krneta
Vera Krneta is among the early favorites. Her doll-like features and that red hair make her stand out among the rest. While she failed to get a medal in the pre-pageant activities, don’t count her out just yet. Bosnia & Herzegovina is a traditionally strong country in Miss Earth due to their rigorous training (the local pageant was held for 6 months) that focuses on environmental advocacies.
13th: Nepal, Rojisha Shahi Thakuri
Rojisha Shahi Thakuri wasn’t even on pageant sites’ pre-arrival lists, but throughout the course of the competition she has proven her worth. She won a silver medal in the Evening Gown final competition and was chosen as one of the Most Child Friendly candidates. More than that, she has a good grasp of environmental issues, as indicated in her profile in the ME website. She may not be heavily favored, but she could also pull off an upset.
12th: Mexico, Kristal Silva
Kristal Silva made it as semifinalist in both Swimsuit and Resorts Wear competitions. She could be likened to the elegant Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler. This could bring her to the finals. Beware of this underdog. After all, Mexico is a traditionally strong country in Miss Earth.
11th: Austria, Katia Wagner
One of the most underrated beauties in the competition is Katia Wagner. When the activities started to unfold, the 25-year-old beauty started to make her presence felt. With her good performance in the activities (Top 15 in Swimsuit, Top 15 in Talent, Most Child Friendly candidate for Group 1) she shouldn’t be ignored. She could also pull a big surprise come finals night.
10th: Costa Rica, Mariela Aparicio
A semifinalist in Miss International 20110, Mariela Aparicio didn’t live up to pre-arrival expectations. But as the pageant progressed, she managed to seal her spot by topping the Swimsuit competition. Don’t count her out just yet because she will deliver her best on stage, where she does the magic.
9th: Serbia, Andjelka Tomasevic
Andjelka Tomasevic could be considered the face of the competition. She was among the winners in the Swimsuit and Resorts wear competitions. She looks sophisticated, making her stand out from the rest of the girls.
8th: Martinique, Rani Charles
Rani Charles has become the most talked about black delegate this year. Her edgy look and dusky features make her standout. In addition, she has a stunning face and endearing personality. She may have not won a single medal so far, but this doesn’t mean Rani’s chances of placing are slim.
7th: India, Sobhita Dhulipala
Sobhita Dhulipala is on the right track to bringing India back in the Miss Earth semifinals. She made it in the Top 15 of both the Talent and Resorts Wear competitions. She also won Miss Photogenic, after receiving the most number of likes on Facebook. Her Eco-Beauty video, which featured her environmental advocacy of providing water purifiers in Indian communities with no access to safe drinking water, just won a gold medal for her. It was reported that she wasn’t feeling well during the Talent Finals, but she still performed. Given India’s unsatisfactory showing in previous years, Sobhita is so far their best hope of clinching their second crown.
6th: Brazil, Priscilla Martins
It seems Brazil has mastered the art of placing in Miss Earth. This year, the winningest country in Miss Earth is not leaving any stone unturned by sending another prototype beauty. Pricilla Martins was judged second-best in National Costume among delegates from the Americas. She also won a silver medal in the Swimsuit competition.
5th: South Africa, Ashanti Mbanga
She was taken lightly at the start of the competition, but Ashanti Mbanga won two gold medals for the I Love My Planet School Tour Challenge and National Costume competition are enough to prove her worth. She is very articulate, one thing Miss Earth needs for an effective ambassador. She won the Best Teacher award early on in the competition.
Miss Fire: Ukraine, Anastasia Sukh
Anastasia Sukh, the most pleasant surprise in the competition, cemented a spot in the semis after winning the gold medal during the Swimsuit competition. She also placed second in Resorts Wear competition and was third Most Child Friendly candidate in her group. She is one of the prettiest among the European delegates – and the best styled, too.
Miss Water: Philippines, Angelee delos Reyes
Many thought Angelee delos Reyes will make the cut only because she is the host delegate. But she did not take matters sitting down. She underwent intensive training and look how she has transformed. With her string of achievements in the pre-pageant activities (Third, Evening Gown; Top 15, Swimsuit; Top 15, Resorts Wear; Second, I Love My Planet Challenge; Third, Most Child Friendly candidates; Second, National Costume; and Third, Miss Photogenic), it can be said that Angelee is the most hardworking Philippine delegate in Miss Earth to date.
Miss Air: Thailand, Punika Kunsuntornrat
After missing the cut last year, Thailand seems ready to fight it out for the top award. Punika Kunsuntornrat is a bombshell. She was even among the talk of the town upon arrival when she collected donations for victims of Typhoon Haiyan at the airport before departing Thailand. She was awarded Most Child Friendly candidate and was third in National Costume among Asian candidates. She also made it in the Top 15 of the Talent competition, but her biggest moment was when she was named Best in Resorts Wear.
MISS EARTH 2013: Venezuela, Alyz Henrich
All eyes are on Alyz Henrich, who has been a clear standout since day one. The 22-year-old Alyz has nailed every pageant activity with her charm and class. No wonder she also took home a bronze medal for being among the Most Child Friendly candidates in her group during the I Love My Planet School Tour. Her rigid preparations also paid off when she bagged gold and silver medals in the Evening Gown and Swimsuit competitions. She was literally shining on stage as she walked in that heavily pailletted silver strapless gown. She can easily breeze through the first cut. Alyz appears to be the best bet for the crown. Venezuela first won the crown in 2005 with Alexandra Braun. It never missed the cut since then but has never won the crown again. Will the unstoppable Alyz make it happen this time?
Watch Rappler’s Livestream of the Miss Earth Coronation Night on December 7, 8 pm. – Rappler.com