GROUP 9 – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Moldova, Vietnam, Wales
WALES – Olivia Harris. This 19-year-old hotel spa worker may be the least buzzed UK entry so far, but she does register as a teen Jennifer Hawkins*. She also has a poignant back story of having a sister with special needs. *- Miss Universe 2004 from Australia
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA – Adna Biber. While she’s by no means the most animated in her group, this 19-year-old student speaks from the heart – especially when it comes to her family background.
VIETNAM – Do Thi Hà. She already has the voting machinery, that’s for sure. It’s why she won in this group. Though she was ultimately edged by Cameroon in the Head to Head finals, her chances of making the Top 30 are still strong. She was shortlisted in both Talent and Top Model.
BRAZIL – Caroline Teixeira. It’s no surprise that this early favorite was short-listed in the Sports Fast Track as she’s into both basketball and horseback riding. She may be overtaken by other emerging contenders at this point, but she still has a shot at scoring a placement – albeit, not as lofty.
MOLDOVA – Tatiana Ovcinocova. This 23-year-old won Best Eco Video in Miss Earth 2016 – back when the award still didn’t guarantee an instant placement. Much as there are no guarantees of better fortunes here yet, she does give profound responses – especially in the bit where she acknowledged the weak and powerful sides of the modern woman.
BULGARIA – Eva Dobreva. Her being a multi-hyphenate means she has lots of energy to spare, though that energy was on minimal display in her Head-to-Head round. And some may have found her We Are the World reference borderline cheesy. Still, it’s nice to see her versatility rewarded to some degree as she was shortlisted in the Talent Fast Track.
GROUP 10 – Cameroon, Chile, Ecuador, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Northern Ireland
ECUADOR – Ámar Pacheco. Her musical prowess earned her a spot in the Talent Fast Track, but other than that, overcoming the formidable Latina contingent will be a challenge.
MADAGASCAR – Nellie Anjaratiana. She’s clearly more polished than her last two predecessors who were deemed among the weakest links in their respective years (2017 and 2018). Now, thanks to her Beauty with a Purpose placement, her prospects have dramatically skyrocketed.
CHILE – Carol Drpic. Both her surname and her striking features suggest Eastern European lineage. She has a fair shot at placing. Plus, her background in classical ballet earned her the 3rd Runner-Up placement in the Talent Fast Track.
NORTHERN IRELAND – Anna Leitch. England may have the more intriguing back story and better prospects, but this primary school teacher arguably should be next in line. Apart from being considered the prettiest UK entrant, she was shortlisted in Sports and placed 4th Runner-Up in Talent.
LUXEMBOURG – Emilie Bolland. Pageant participation for the Grand Duchy has been spotty as of late, but here’s a sophisticated contender who qualified for the Sports Fast Track. She could also pass as a relative to 2011’s French-Pinay 1st Runner-Up, Gwendoline Ruais.
CAMEROON – Audrey Monkam. No doubt, she’s projecting more impressively than she did in Miss Earth three years ago, as she placed 1st Runner-Up in Top Model. And after edging Vietnam in the Head to Head Challenge finals, she has now secured her country’s first placement in this pageant. Ideally, that shouldn’t stop there.
GROUP 11 – France, Gibraltar, Macau, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Slovenia
PUERTO RICO – Aryam Diaz. The hometown girl’s by no means this year’s most heavily favored Latina, nor was she the runaway standout in her Head-to-Head group. Nonetheless, she still has the support and competitive edge to go far in this race and she also placed 2nd Runner-Up in Top Model. It’s more than likely she’s already guaranteed a ticket to the Top 30 (or beyond).
SLOVENIA – Maja Colic. It’s ironic how this country has already recorded placements in both Miss Universe and Miss Earth, even if it started competing here first – 1990, to be exact. The status quo isn’t expected to change just yet, but she was at least short-listed in both Talent and Sports.
PHILIPPINES – Tracy Maureen Perez. At 28, this Cebuana is now the oldest contestant sent to represent the archipelago in this pageant. At first, it was unclear if she can stand out the same way most of her illustrious MWP predecessors did. Those doubts were immediately assuaged when she secured her Top 30 placement through the Head-to-Head Challenge finals. And now with her Beauty with a Purpose placement, it seems a Top 12 placement is now within reach as well.
MACAU CHINA – Jia Ni Yuan. This aspiring philanthropist actually originated from the Mainland but has adopted the former Portuguese colony as her second home. She’s a poised and polished candidate, but perhaps too subdued to replicate the SAR’s breakthrough placement four years ago.
FRANCE – April Benayoum. This 22-year-old model from Provence was 1st Runner-Up to Amandine Petit in their national pageant. Her gorgeous features reflect both her Israeli and Serbo-Croatian lineage and earned her a spot in the Top Model finals. She appears to have a fair shot at equaling (or even surpassing) her Miss Universe counterpart’s finish.
GIBRALTAR – Janice Sampere. The casual observer might find her prettier than the two Gibraltarians who previously made waves in this pageant: 2009 winner Kaiane Aldorino and 2013 Top Six placer Maroua Kharbouch. Factor in her placements in both the Talent and Sports Fast Tracks, and she might be in contention.
GROUP 12 – Korea, Malta, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Spain
NIGERIA – Oluchi Madubuike. Of course, this registered nurse didn’t pass the chance to mention that this year is, in fact, the 20th anniversary of Agbani Darego’s crowning. She’s still poised to keep up with the best of region, even if she only made a splash in the Sports Fast Track.
PANAMA – Krysthelle Barretto. Her Top 10 placement in Miss Supranational 2019 may have been considered a surprise, but it’s a different game now. She was quite the engaging speaker in the Head to Head round, where she articulated her advocacies and exuded a lot of vibrance. No guarantees yet here in this vaster playing field, but if she does overcome the odds, it won’t be as unforeseen.
MEXICO – Karolina Vidales. Her Head-to-Head performance may strike observers as low-key, but she effectively maintains the placement streak started by 2017 1st Runner-Up (and now-reigning Miss Universe) Andrea Meza. Despite being edged out by Philippines in the Head to Head final, she managed to secure a spot in the Top 30 through her Sports Fast Track win.
KOREA – Tara Hong. This Talent and Sports short-lister has a noticeably American twang since she studied in Berkley. While not necessarily at par with some of her high-placing predecessors, her eloquence may earn her points in the closed-door judging rounds. She also won the Designer Dress Award during the Miss World Fashion Show.
SPAIN – Ana Garcia. Meet Iberia’s answer to Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo. This model and student definitely has the gorgeousness to earn notice in this arena, but she was far from being the standout speaker in her Head-to-Head group. It’s also hard to discount that placements for her country have been sporadic since its 2015 win.
MALTA – Naomi Dingli. She may not be considered a standout, but she might benefit from her confidence and communication skills. Her highlight, thus far, is qualifying for the Sports Fast Track.