We wrap up our Miss International 2017 Candidate Review with the delegates from New Zealand to Vietnam:
New Zealand – Michelle Isemonger
Much as this country has this pageant to thank for its 2nd Runner-Up finish in 2013, despite its recent weak showings, it’s most likely back to the drawing board for now.
Nicaragua – Helen Martinez
She’s a decent contender but will not likely replicate, much less exceed, last year’s record placement.
Norway – Vilde Andresen Bø
It’s great to see the home of the 1988 and 1995 titleholders competing strongly again. This candidate may lack in height, but her classic Nordic beauty is undeniable.
Panama – Darelys Santos
This candidate has great presence and an impressive figure, but her beauty is not of the conventional pageant sort. Then again, Aileen Bernal got away with it in 2014.
Paraguay – Tatiana Rolin
Much as she probably won’t surpass her country’s strongest finish in 2012, she shouldn’t be counted out just yet.
Peru – Tiffany Lopez
She’s a decent contender who hasn’t been making much impact. Anyway, her country’s probably still hung over from its Miss Grand International victory.
Philippines – Maria Angelica de Leon
It goes without saying that a huge responsibility rests on her shoulders. And it’s not only because of the pink elephant in the room, which is, no country has ever won this pageant back-to-back. It’s also because compatriots of incumbent titleholders have been missing the cut since 2012 (Paging Bianca Guidotti). However, there are also several noteworthy indicators that she will beat those odds. Apart from having the most gorgeous face in the Asian contingent, next to Nepal, her impromptu opera number also was frantically applauded by the Japanese crowd at a function. These factors bode well for a consecutive placement, at the minimum. Anything beyond that would be icing on the cake.
Poland – Paulina Maziarz
Others consider her a contender, others don’t. Such is the ordeal of Poland in this pageant lately, but this girl’s a potential surprise.
Portugal – Ana Marques
This country’s first titleholder, Fernanda Alves, is also its last placement to date. It looks like she’ll hold on to that distinction for another year.
Russia – Elena Kviakevich
She’d be an instant frontrunner in a less competitive year, though remember that her country has surprised us before.
Sierra Leone – Abie Mansasray
She is a major improvement from last year’s debut candidate but probably won’t earn her country’s first placement here.
Singapore- Kylie Yeo
She appears to have a fun, engaging personality but it will be difficult to advance, lah.
Slovakia – Petra Varaliova
Her country has been competing diligently in this pageant every year since it became independent, but has only been rewarded with a placement once. It looks like they will have to wait for that follow-up.
South Africa – Tayla Skye Robinson
Miss International has rewarded women of color before (and boy was it a long walk in the woods getting there), but it has yet to crown an African since its inception. Enter this Olivia Jordan-esque blonde. Even before the pageant, she’s been touted as the Rainbow Nation’s best shot since its sole placement in 1965 and her continent’s best hope in finally scoring a victory in this pageant. Not an easy task as of the moment, but if she beats the odds, it would be a milestone in more ways than one.
Spain – Elizabeth Ledesma Laker
The pageant has ignored worthy Spanish delegates before, but they certainly shouldn’t ignore this energetic, talented, and fashionable stunner. She’s potentially the best señorita fielded here since their 2008 winner.
Sweden – Lina Ljungberg
Sweden has won thrice in both Miss Universe and Miss World, but hasn’t won the Miss International title. The status quo will probably remain, but this candidate is good-looking enough to merit a placement.
Taiwan – Xie Lingci
The mere fact she got to compete wearing the “Taiwan” sash and pose in friendly pictures beside Miss China is already a victory in itself.
Thailand – Ratiyaporn Chookaew
She reportedly contracted chicken pox days after her arrival and was almost forced to drop out altogether. Fortunately, she recovered just in time and received doctor’s clearance to participate in subsequent activities. Her chic, shoulder-length haircut makes her stand out, plus her country only missed the cut once in this decade. She’s most probably in contention.
Tunisia – Khaoula Gueye
This year’s candidate is both a departure from archetype and a return to form. She’s atypically duskier compared her more Middle Eastern-looking predecessors, but she’s stronger than most Tunisians sent to this pageant in recent years. She’s the best African in this batch, next to South Africa.
Ukraine – Kseniya Chifa
She’s gorgeous and reportedly a compelling speaker, but it’s still unclear if she can end her country’s 11-year drought. One thing’s for sure, she’s making an excellent impression.
United Kingdom – Ashley Powell
This urbane, classy blonde was one of the most frequently featured candidates even before the pageant began and she was reportedly one of the best speakers in one of the forums. Pencil her in as a possibility.
USA – Shanel James
She bears the distinction of being the first African-American to compete in this pageant. Considering that her country started enjoying a resurgence (it only placed once from 1991-2011) only recently and that this pageant still rarely opens its doors to women of color, this move might be too bold, too soon.
Venezuela – Diana Croce
According to rumors, her inexplicable non-placement in Miss World 2016 nearly prompted Osmel Sousa to boycott that pageant this year. Well, everything seems to be peachy keen over there for now, since he ended up fielding a candidate after all. Back to Diana: she appears to have softened her look for this go-round and now comes across as more friendly and less fierce. The strategy seems to be working for her and it looks like a reversal of fortune is in store. Only Colombia and Mexico are standing in the way of certain victory.
Vietnam – Huynh Thi Thuy Dung
She has softer facial features than her compatriot who obtained her country’s best finish in this pageant (3rd Runner-Up) in 2015, and that might put her in contention. Other Asians might be sacrificed if she places.
COMING NEXT: Pageant Geeks’ Official Picks for Miss International 2017!