Miss International 2017 final night will be sandwiched between Miss Earth and Miss World, although not exactly at succeeding dates. Miss Earth finals will be on November 4th, while that of Miss World will be on November 18th. As of this writing, the date of the Miss International finals this year is set on November 14th, which falls on a Tuesday. The Tokyo Dome City Hall will once again be the venue of the finals, and we are not raising our hopes this year for fear of disappointment. Every year, we open our hot picks with much excitement about the coming Miss International edition, only to end up being shortchanged.
Since coming back to Japan, when was the last time that we remembered the overall production of Miss International? With too much emphasis on Japan and the use of Japanese as the lingua franca during the finals night, we tend to question whether or not the title “Miss International” is suitable for the pageant. It is more like a pageant of the Japanese, by the Japanese, for the Japanese.
However, this year, we hope to see history to be made. The fear of being talked about has to end. Miss International is already lagging behind in terms of popularity and followers. This year, though, some countries have stepped up their game, while there are those who have been preparing for more than a year already.
The questions that need to be answered now are:
Will there be a new country to be crowned? Are we going to witness the first back-to-back win? Will Japan win again on home soil? Or after nearly six decades, will Miss International crown its first African winner? Let’s get to know the hottest delegates this year…
Topping our first list for the year is Tayla Skye Robinson of South Africa. Finally, an African super beauty is being noticed this early! Tayla is not just your ordinary South African belle. She is smart, finishing with honors at the prestigious University of Pretoria, with a degree in Marketing. She is also a well sought model in Africa, and is very active in several charitable causes. Last year, Tayla joined the very competitive Miss South Africa 2016 competition where she ended up in 3rd place. A year later, she prepared for the Queen of South Africa 2017 contest, which is the official national pageant of South Africa to select the delegate for Miss International. Tayla won the pageant with ease, and she is now bound for Tokyo where she can also share her skills in classical ballet. If Tayla wins, it will be Africa’s first ever win.
In second spot is the home delegate, Natsuki Tsutsui of Japan. Natsuki was a former Miss Universe Saitama who ended up in the Top 15 at Miss Universe Japan 2013 at the young age of 20. That same year, we spotted Natsuki watching the Miss International pageant – won by Bea Rose Santiago of the Philippines – and it opened her eyes to the strength of the Philippines in the world of pageantry. Year after year, we had been seeing Natsuki watching the Miss International Japan finals in Tokyo. By 2015, she wasted no time to go to the Philippines to do volunteer works and train in pageantry. She came back to Japan on August 2016 to apply for Miss International Japan 2017. She won the pageant, which was judged by Edymar Martinez, Akemi Shimomura and some Japanese celebrities. Now, her aim is to win the crown for Japan, which will be their second. Ikumi Yoshimatsu won the contest in 2012, which was held in Okinawa.
In third place is Kevin Lilliana of Indonesia. Missosology was there once again in Puteri Indonesia to cover this year’s pageant in Jakarta. Our Japanese correspondent was able to see Kevin in person and he was pretty much impressed. Having a Japanese point of view, our correspondent said that Kevin suits perfectly to the Japanese taste because she is tall, classy and has beautiful white skin. On top of those qualities, Kevin has the aura of an intelligent young woman. There is a huge possibility that Kevin may grab the Miss International crown, and that will be historical. Indonesia has never won a major international crown, so Kevin may just be the first one to achieve it.
In fourth place is Linda Ljungberg of Sweden, who may just be best hope of Sweden at any of the Big 5 pageants this year. Linda is extremely photogenic. Her eyes are mesmerizingly beautiful. What we want to know is how she views pageantry in general, because quite frankly, northern European women are struggling to understand the Japanese way of organizing their pageant. Not too long ago, the Swedish delegate at Miss International made some false accusations against the organization after she left Japan midway through the pageant period. Linda, on the otherhand, must be ready to face the pageant battlefield because we see a lot of potentials in her.
Completing our Top 5 is Jocelyn Daniela Mieles Zambrano of Ecuador. Jocelyn, who was 1st Runner-up at Miss Ecuador 2017, is said to have a very bubbly personality. She was a favorite at the Miss Ecuador contest which was won by Daniela Cepeda. It may come as a blessing in disguise for this Ecuadorian beauty because she will go, instead, to Japan and experience the great Japanese hospitality. Beauty-wise, Jocelyn is an upgrade to last year’s queen, Ivana Abad, who won as Miss International America. Ecuador last won the Miss International crown in 2011 courtesy of Maria Fernanda Cornejo.
6th to 15th Place
A back-to-back feat has never happened at Miss International, so the odds are against the Philippine bet, Maria Angelica “Mariel” De Leon, who is the crown defender this year. However, anything is possible so this might be the year that the curse will end. While the Filipinos may just be the world’s best pageant fans, they can also be the worst bashers. Just a few weeks after Mariel won her crown, a politically polarizing personal tweet had put her on the spotlight, which led to the supporters of the current Philippine president, to pull out their support from Mariel. She later apologized for it, so the damage was controlled before it went out of hand. Meanwhile a popular model from Nepal, Niti Shah, will be representing the Himalayan nation, which has never placed in Miss International. Niti, who is in seventh place, has a huge social media followers. This will certainly work on her favor if she knows how to sway them to support her in the official Miss International Instagram account. At eighth place is the first ever African-American to represent the United States at Miss International. Shanel James made history last month when she won the Miss U.S. International title. This 25-year-old resident of Baltimore, Maryland is a total head turner. Poland‘s Paulina Maziarz, who is the reigning Miss Polski 2016, is in ninth place. Although we think that Paulina was a good winner in her national pageant, we just felt that if Magdalena Bienkowska failed to place in the Top 5 at last year’s Miss International, we don’t know if Paulina can. Completing the Top 10 is Paraguay‘s Fatima Rolin, who was suppposed to compete last year. When it was learned that it was too late to accept her participation, the organization decided to just send her for the 2017 edition. This former Face of Beauty Paraguay is 25 years of age.
Hungary‘s Rebeka Harto was the first delegate made known to compete at Miss International 2017, after she won her national title on July last year. With more than a year of preparation, will she be able to bring back Hungary into winners’ circle? She is currently in 11th place. Following her at 12th place is the youthful Spanish bela, Elizabeth Ledesma who is a native of Tenerife. Elizabeth won the contest that was judged by Spain‘s last Miss International winner, Alejandra Andreu, who just like Elizabeth, was only 18 when she won the international title. At 13th place is Fatima Mauricio, who was crowned Miss International El Salvador last year. She is another delegate who has been preparing this long for the competition. Will she sustain the momentum that was set by her predecessor, Elizabeth Cader, who was El Salvador’s first ever semifinalist at Miss International? Newly crowned Miss Internacional Bolivia 2017 Carla Patricia Maldonado is in 14th spot, while Miss International UK 2017, Ashley Powell completes our list at 15 place.
As of this writing, the delegates of powerhouse countries like Colombia and Venezuela are not yet confirmed, according to our sources from the International Cultural Association.
MISS INTERNATIONAL 2017
1st Official Hot Picks
1. SOUTH AFRICA (Tayla Skye Robinson)
2. JAPAN (Natsuki Tsutsui)
3. INDONESIA (Kevin Lilliana)
4. SWEDEN (Lina Ljungberg)
5. ECUADOR (Jocelyn Daniela Mieles Zambrano)
6. PHILIPPINES (Maria Angelica De Leon)
7. NEPAL (Niti Shah)
8. USA (Shanel James)
9. POLAND (Paulina Maziarz)
10. PARAGUAY (Fátima Tatiana Rolin Trombetta)
11. HUNGARY (Rebeka Hartó)
12. SPAIN (Elizabeth Victoria Ledesma Laker)
13. EL SALVADOR (Fátima Yolanda Mauricio Mangandi)
14. BOLIVIA (Carla Patricia Maldonado Simoni)
15. UNITED KINGDOM (Ashley Powell)