In an unprecedented turn of events, the 70th edition of the Miss World pageant, originally slated to take place at the Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico on December 16, was postponed indefinitely after 17 delegates and staff were infected by COVID-19 two days before the finale. Given this development, the delegates will now be sent home with the competition now expected resume within 90 days.
Here’s their Instagram post, complete with full text of their official press release:
Here’s where the competition stands now. Half of the Top 30 slots are now occupied as of this writing. Eight (8) of which were claimed by the winners of the Head to Head Challenge Finals, held last December 9 at the Capitol of Puerto Rico. They are Nepal’s Namrata Shrestha, Paraguay’s Bethania Borba, Venezuela’s Alejandra Conde, Botswana’s Palesa Mofele, Cameroon’s Audrey Monkam, Philippines’ Tracy Maureen Perez, Cote d’Ivoire’s Olivia Yace’, and Nicaragua’s Sheynnis Palacios.
Following suit were two Fast Track winners: Mexico’s Karoilna Vidales, who secured Gold in Sports, and Mongolia’s Burte-Ujin Anu, who ruled Talent with her spellbinding contortion act.
Just like in recent years, the MWO didn’t settle with proclaiming just one Beauty with a Purpose winner. They even went to the extreme of granting placements to the entire Top Ten in the last edition. Fast-tracked via BWAP this year are the five highest scorers, including England’s Rehema Muthamia, Kenya’s Sharon Obara, South Africa’s Shudufhadzo Musida, and the United States’ Shree Saini. Presumably, since Philippines already earned her placement via Head to Head, it freed a slot for early heavy favorite, India’s Manasa Varanasi.
If we follow that logic, since Cote d’Ivoire earned her pass through both Head to Head and Top Model, wouldn’t it be nice they also opened a slot for either Colombia, whom she beat in Head to Head, or Puerto Rico, who was 3rd in Top Model?
Based on their Fast Track showings and overall impression, here are the 15 ladies, who, in my reckoning, should complete the Top 30:
Argentina – Amira Hidalgo. The Land of Tango may have won this pageant twice, but they had to wait 30 years before placing again in 2017. This TV producer has both the looks and the gift of gab to charm the judges, even if her only citation was in Sports.
Bahamas – Sienna Evans. Never before has the archipelago had this much traction in a single pageant year. Earlier this week, they earned their first ever Miss Universe placement, courtesy of Chanel O’Brian, herself a Miss World alumna. Perhaps it would be fitting to complement that feat with a Miss World placement as well.
Colombia – Andrea Aguilera. With a look that more or less belongs to the Manushi Chillar–Vanessa Ponce archetype, it’s easy to visualize her with a that crown on her head. Unfortunately, she didn’t figure in the Fast Track events and fell short in the Head to Head Finals. It’s still hard to deny her beauty, but perhaps, making the cut will suffice for now.
Czech Republic – Karolina Kopíncova. It’s evident that they’re into her overall look, as she was in the Top 13 of the Top Model Fast Track. Her Beauty with a Purpose Top 10 placement probably also further bolsters her cause.
Dominican Republic – Emmy Peña. Just like Czech Republic, she only made a mark in Top Model, but it’s hard not to listen to this fiery Latina island girl speak. She’s bound to endear the judges.
France – April Benouyam. She’s another Top Model placer. Plus, this country made the cut six (6) times over the last seven (7) editions. Even the lone non-placer in that era topped the tally at some point. They’re on a roll.
Indonesia – Carla Yules. It’s strange to see this ASEAN powerhouse not figure prominently in the Fast Tracks, especially Beauty with a Purpose. No doubt she has the looks. And even though she was the first candidate to test positive with COVID-19 mere days before the supposed finals, she still has a fighting chance to secure her country’s 10th consecutive placement. Again, it’s unlikely that they’ll relegate this country anytime soon.
Ireland – Pamela Uba. The Emerald Isle already made history by selecting this South African-Kenyan immigrant. With her inspiring back story and compelling communication skills, it would be impossible to deny her more stage time.
Madagascar – Nellie Anjaratiana. It was easy to dismiss her as an also-ran at first. But given her Beauty with a Purpose Top 10 placement, her island country may be due a breakthrough placement.
Malaysia – Lavanya Sivaji. This doctor was the second in the lot to publicly confirm her positive result. She may not have secured any Fast Track placement, but her communication skills could may be enough to keep her in the running once the competition resumes.
Poland – Karolina Bielawska. Just like Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, and France before her, Top Model was her lone extra highlight. But she’s the best blonde in the bunch, with charming communication skills to boot.
Puerto Rico – Aryam Diaz. Top Model may have been her only highlight, but how can anyone possibly deny the first Latina host delegate – from a pageant-crazy territory at that? It would be crazy to think there’s no room for her, even if there are rumors of Julia having a falling out with Stephanie del Valle. Plus, Wilnelia Forsythe will also likely be there to pull extra strings.
Somalia – Khadjia Omar. She didn’t figure in any Fast Track, but she’s undoubtedly a spell-binding representative. Plus, having a hijab-wearing contestant onstage is bound to be a groundbreaking moment.
Sri Lanka – Sadé Greenwood. Just like Madagascar, she’s by no means a standout, but her prospects may have been increased by her Beauty with a Purpose citation. Should a placement materialize, it would be her island’s first since 1978.
Vietnam – Do Thi Hà. Even without her country’s zealous voting populace, her vivaciousness instantly made her a Head to Head standout. Aside from that she also earned nods in both Top Model and Talent. Don’t underestimate the ASEAN clout just yet.
And, finally, here are 20 more strong possibilities: Belgium, BrazIl, Cayman Islands, Chile, Costa Rica, Gibraltar, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iraq, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Northern Ireland, Slovakia, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda
We start with the first of two debuting countries this year: Iraq. Apart from having the most Instagram followers, she has a harrowing story to tell. She also placed 3rd in the Designer Dress Award at the Miss World Fashion Show. Placing first in that award is Korea, who’s a strong communicator. Also bear in mind that this country has pulled upsets before. It’s also hard to discount perennial Caribbean favorite Jamaica, who’s also from the incumbent queen’s country. The two African Guineas (Guinea and Guinea Bissau) were both revelations, especially the Portuguese speaker, who placed 3rd in Sports. Same with Chile, Slovakia, and Gibraltar, her territory’s prettiest since its two Top Five placers. Then we also have the American-raised Japan, an endearing conversationalist who finished 3rd in Talent, and Belgium, with her bright, sunny temperament.
We also have a handful of stunners who received no Fast Track love, like Italy and Hungary from Europe, Uganda from Africa, and from Central America, we have Costa Rica and Honduras. Early favorites Northern Ireland and Brazil are also outshone so far. But should their beauty prevail, they should be given a pass. Let’s not also discount Head to Head Round 2 placers Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Cayman Islands – who might just be her territory’s second ever placer. They may have been edged in the Head to Head finale, but they likely gained the extra mileage.