THOUGHTS OF MISS UNIVERSE

2022/23



THE PRETHOUGHTS




THE RESULTS (January 15, 2023)



The powers that be made their powers known! USA's R'Bonney Gabriel is Miss Universe 2022. This is the 9th Miss Universe crown for the land of the free and the home of the brave which has dominated the list of Who Has the Most Miss Universes since the beginning of the American-owned Miss Universe which just changed ownership hands from American company IMG to Thai company JKN owned by Thai trans-woman, Jakkaphong (Anne) Jakrajutatip. R'Bonney is also the second Texan to capture the Miss Universe crown succeeding the late, great Chelsi Smith-Miss Universe 1995. Did you notice that both Chelsi and R'Bonney were crowned by an Indian Miss Universe?? Chelsi Smith was crowned Miss Universe by Sushmita Sen who was present also at her wins of Miss Texas USA and Miss USA and R'Bonney Gabriel was crowned by Harnaaz Sandhu. Interestingly enough, Texas' Kandace Krueger also won Miss USA 2001 the year after India's Lara Dutta won Miss Universe 2000! We can easily conclude that India winning Miss Universe is good luck for Texans winning Miss USA the following year! R'Bonney now passes her Miss USA crown to her runner-up, North Carolina's Morgan Romano. 2022 is also the fourth time in history that the most successful countries at Miss Universe: USA and Venezuela were the final two. The other years were: 1967, 1986 and 1997. It isn't often that the host delegate wins but this is the 7th of the 9 Miss Universe winners representing the USA that won in their own country. The other two were Shawn Weatherly who won her crown in 1980 in Korea and Chelsi Smith who won her crown in 1995 in Namibia. Puerto Rico's Denise Quinones also won as the host delegate in her own country in 2001. It was destiny as R'Bonney's middle name is Nola and this year's host city of New Orleans, Louisiana is also nicknamed Nola. R'Bonney now defeats Andrea Meza's record as the oldest woman to win Miss Universe as her birthday is March 20, 1994 so she won the title at the age of 28 years and almost 10 months.

R'Bonney's win of Miss USA 2022 was fraught with controversy though as many of the other contestants and even some other people working behind-the-scenes felt like the cards were stacked in R'Bonney's favor due to the new Miss USA director also being another Texan, Miss USA 2008-Crystle Stewart. Miss USA and Miss Teen USA 2020 were under the Miss Universe Organization's umbrella until Crystle started directing Miss USA and Teen USA 2021 and 2022 was her second year but there were also issues with Crystle's husband Max acting inappropriately with some contestants leading to a separation and his name not included in the credits for Miss USA 2022. But oh yes, we experienced something very similar after Miss USA 2012 when the delegate from Pennsylvania said she heard Florida had seen a list of the exact top 5 prior to the list officially being announced which led to trouble and the winner of that pageant, Rhode Island's Olivia Culpo would go on to win Miss Universe 2012 which seemed like a similar scenario to this year with R'Bonney Gabriel winning Miss Universe 2022 as if to show that she definitely deserved to win Miss USA since she went on to win Miss Universe. With Khun Anne being the new owner, some felt that this would skew things in Thailand's favor but surprisingly Thailand didn't place this year and it was back to USA being favored at Miss Universe and after Crystle's directorship was taken back by the Miss Universe Organization and all 3 pageants including Miss Teen USA are under Khun Anne's JKN ownership so USA being favored at Miss Universe could continue into Khun Anne's ownership. There are clauses in contracts the contestants sign that usually point to behind-the-scenes judging leading to choices being made for the one they want to employ and even the recent Miss Venezuela pageant was a recent example of this when Diana Silva won Miss Venezuela to compete at Miss Universe 2023 but judges claim they chose La Guaira's Andrea Romero but were told about a separate panel of judges from the Miss Venezuela Organization also judging behind-the-scenes so are we about to see Diana Silva crowned Miss Universe 2023?? We'll just have to wait and see!
It was not announced during the telecast who won the online vote. Some special awards were also handed out which included Miss Congeniality resulting in a tie with co-winners being Chile's Sofia Depassier and Malta's Maxine Formosa. The Social Impact Award announced by Khun Anne herself went to her compatriot Thailand's Anna Sueangam-iam and the Spirit of Carnival Award went to Ukraine's Viktoria Apanasenko who I suspected would not place to avoid politics. They appear to have permanently done away with the regional divisions this year and interestingly enough, Europe only had two delegates place (Portugal and Spain). How did I do with my predictions? Well, I picked 9 of the top 16 plus 2 alternates (Trinidad & Tobago and Australia) and 1 honorable mention (Portugal). 4 of the semifinalists missed my list entirely and they were: Spain (who was an early favorite but fizzled as the competition progressed) as well as Canada (my own country...), Haiti and Laos(first time placement for this country) who were all complete shocks. Interviews were held before the preliminary swimsuit and gown competitions so usually this leads to more surprises than expected and interview was rumored to count for 50% of the preliminary interview score whereas swimsuit and gown each counted for 25% of the preliminary score. The 7 ladies in my list that didn't place were: Thailand, Mauritius, Brazil, Philippines (which broke the longest running streak in the semifinals as they had placed every year since 2010 but the new Miss Universe R'Bonney Gabriel is half-Filipina on her father's side so this should serve as some consolation to them), Angola, Germany and Vietnam.
For the first time in a long time, we already know the host country of the next Miss Universe pageant likely to be held in December 2023 and it's the gentleman of the Americas, El Salvador for the second time as they also hosted in 1975 and their president, Nayib Bukele made an appearance during the Miss Universe pageant to announce El Salvador as the host country for Miss Universe 2023.


ACTUAL TOP 16:

MY PREDICTIONS:

Winner=USA-R'Bonney Gabriel

Winner=Colombia-Maria Fernanda Aristizabal*

1st Runner Up=Venezuela-Amanda Dudamel

1st Runner Up=Venezuela-Amanda Dudamel*

2nd Runner Up=Dominican Republic-Andreína Martínez

2nd Runner Up=Puerto Rico-Ashley Carino*

FINALISTS (alpha'l):

FINALISTS:

Curaçao-Gabriëla Dos Santos

Thailand-Anna Sueangam-iam

Puerto Rico-Ashley Cariño

Mauritius-Alexandrine Belle-Etoile

SEMIFINALISTS (alpha'l):

SEMIFINALISTS:

Australia-Monique Riley

Brazil-Mia Mamede

Canada-Amelia Tu

Dominican Republic-Andreina Martinez*

Colombia-María Fernanda Aristizábal

Peru-Alessia Rovegno*

Haiti-Mideline Phelizor

Philippines-Celeste Cortesi

India-Divita Rai

USA-R'Bonney Gabriel*

Laos-Payengxa Lor

South Africa-Ndavi Nokeri*

Peru-Alessia Rovegno

India-Divita Rai*

Portugal-Telma Madeira

Angola-Swelia Da Silva Antonio

South Africa-Ndavi Nokeri

Germany-Soraya Kohlmann

Spain-Alicia Faubel

Curacao-Gabriela Dos Santos*

Trinidad & Tobago-Tya Jané Ramey

Vietnam-Ngoc Chau Thi Nguyen

 

ALTERNATES: Trinidad & Tobago*, Australia*, Great Britain, Jamaica, Panama

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Aruba, Portugal*, Ukraine, Bahrain, Italy

* = made actual top 16











My full commentary on Miss Universe 2022/23 will be posted on January 23.






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THE PREDICTIONS (January 13, 2023)




Who will win the new Mouawad Force for Good Miss Universe crown in New Orleans?? The big night is January 14 on Roku and Telemundo and the Miss Universe Youtube channel.

Hosting this year are: Miss Universe 2012-USA's Olivia Culpo and Jeannie Mai-Jenkins and serving as color commentators are: Miss Universe 2018-Philippines' Catriona Gray and Zuri Hall. This year's judges are as follows. For both preliminaries and finals, four ladies serve as judges: Wendy Fitzwilliam-Miss Universe 1998, Mara Martin, Emily Austin, Myrka Dellanos. For just finals are: Ximena Navarrete-Miss Universe 2010, Olivia Quido, Sweta Patel and Big Freedia who is the only non-binary member of the judging panel. Olivia Jordan-Miss USA 2015 and Kathleen Ventrella served as preliminary judges. Apparently, the preliminary interviews were recorded and it’s possible that they will be shown to some of the other members of the committee to score as well. Big Freedia will also be performing in addition to Amanda Shaw, Yolanda Adams, Big Sam's Funky Nation and Tank and the Bangas.

84 delegates are expected to compete for the 71st Miss Universe crown. China made it in time but Kazakhstan's delegate could not secure sponsorship and Latvia's delegate tested positive for Covid. The national costume competition and the preliminaries were held on January 11. With the exception of Bahrain's delegate who wore a pant-suit (not even a burkini??), there were a variety of swimsuits and a lot more one-pieces and some had some bunching up which caused some unflattering looks.

It is again a top 16 this year with the 16th delegate being the winner of the online vote and the top 16 will compete in swimsuits and evening gowns before being cut to a top 5 for an interview round and then the top 3 for the final word. Even with the new ownership of Khun Anne, I still expect to see an emphasis on interview/stories/accomplishments this year so we shall see how this affects this year's placements and as always, surprises are to be expected so I have studied each delegate and the preliminary swimsuit and evening gown competitions as well as picture and various videos and posts on social media so I tried to take all of this into account along with some of my background knowledge when making my list and took a few risks knowing there are normally surprises and my list is never right anyway and I know for sure that this one isn't but I try! Without further ado, here are my predictions for Miss Universe 2022/23.


TOM'S FINAL PREDICTIONS FOR MISS UNIVERSE 2022/23


Winner=Colombia-Maria Fernanda Aristizabal

She's Simply Aristizabal! Ain't no tellin' where the money went! (Thanks, Michael for that line!) Fernanda has been my winner since she was crowned... back in 2019!! Yes, you see. As Karma Colombian would have it, she had to come and go when she won the original Miss Colombia crown when the franchise holder changed hands to Natalie Ackermann-Miss Germany Universe 2006 who started the Miss Universe Colombia pageant which is why we saw Laura Olascuaga compete for Miss Universe 2020 instead of Fernanda. My friends Hernan and Wassim point out an interesting pattern to support a Colombian win - In 2018, South Africa was 1st runner but won in 2019, then Mexico was 2nd runner up in 2019 but won 2020, then India was 3rd runner up in 2020 but won 2021 and so the 4th runner up for 2021 (either Colombia or Philippines who both placed top 5) would win for 2022 so this pattern might support Philippines too if she was 4th runner up so I'll take this as a good sign for Colombia. Fernanda would not be denied her chance to compete for Miss Universe and was appointed for the 2022/23 crown and she just has the perfect Miss Universe look for me combined with great speaking skills as she studies journalism and I feel like she's in a league of her own and I liken her beauty to other outstanding titleholders like Aishwarya Rai-Miss World 1994 and Oxana Fedorova-the original Miss Universe 2002 so will Fernanda triumph and claim a third Miss Universe crown for the world's finest coffee land?? I certainly hope so!

1st Runner Up=Venezuela-Amanda Dudamel

Amanda has shown herself to be job-ready as she has conducted interviews with various titleholders and fellow contestants on social media and Amanda has a great body and overall look. I don't consider her as facially strong as my winner, Colombia but Amanda has a vibrant personality and that could win over the judges. Venezuela has long been a powerhouse in pageantry but recent years haven't kind to Venezuela so we shall see if Amanda brings the gateway of South America back in a big way and could capture an eighth Miss Universe crown for her nation.

2nd Runner Up=Puerto Rico-Ashley Carino

Of course, Ashley was Miss Florida USA 2021 and 2nd runner up at Miss USA 2021 but would not be denied her chance to compete on the Miss Universe stage so she country-hopped like fellow Puerto Rican compatriot, Madison Anderson who was 1st runner up at Miss Universe 2019 prior to placing as 1st runner up at Miss Florida USA 2019. Now Ashley used her Puerto Rican roots to capture that nation's title with a strong chance of capturing her country's 6th Miss Universe crown. It's fitting for Ashley to be competing for Miss Universe since she loves the TV show 'Star Trek' and she actually aspires to go into outer space. She is completing a degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Central Florida aiming to specialize in the field of rocket propulsion and has been hoping to work for NASA since childhood. My friend Hernan points out a few patterns that support a Puerto Rican win this year. There was an 8-year chain between the Puerto Rican wins of 1985, 1993 and 2001 but instead of 2009 being the next year for Puerto Rico, they turned the 9 upside down and gave them the win for 2006 so does the pattern shift to add 8+8 to 2006 so after adding 16 becomes 2022 so is the 2022 crown for Puerto Rico? Also, Indian Miss Universe wins have previously been surrounded by a Puerto Rican Miss Universe win, i.e. Puerto Rico won in 1993 and crowned India in 1994, then India won in 2000 and crowned Puerto Rico in 2001 so are we about to see repeat since India won in 2021 to crown Puerto Rico for 2022?? Hernan also mentioned that double-digit years tend to help dusky-skinned winners like the winners of 1999 from Botswana, 2011 from Angola and 1977 from Trinidad & Tobago so 2022 could be a year favoring a duskier-skinned candidate like Ashley but double-digit years also helped winners from Sweden since they won 1955 and 1966. My friend Wassim points out another correlation supporting a Puerto Rican win relating to the Philippines' placements 7 years prior. In 2011, Philippines placed top 5 and in 2018, Puerto Rico also placed top 5. In 2012, Philippines was 1st runner up then in 2019, Puerto Rico was also 1st runner up. In 2013, Philippines made top 5 but in 2020, Puerto Rico made top 10 (but both made top 10). In 2014, Philippines made top 10 then in 2021, Puerto Rico also made top 10. Finally, in 2015, Philippines won so does this mean that 7 years later in 2022 that Puerto Rico wins??

FINALISTS:

Thailand-Anna Sueangam-iam

Will Queen Anna please new owner Queen Khun Anne and capture a third Miss Universe crown for the golden kingdom of Thailand? She certainly has quite the story to carry her far in the competition. Anna's compelling story is that she was born and raised in a slum in Bangkok with her father. To try to protect her from this kind of undesirable environment, Anna's family sent her to a temple where she grew up among Buddhist nuns where her meals consisted of leftover food from the monks which most people would consider waste. This difficult upbringing made Anna into the overcomer she is today. Her preiiminary gown was made of pop can tabs keeping with the recycling theme that seems to be quite popular lately. A win for Thailand is probably coming in the near future with the new Thai ownership but could it be this year? I think Anna's English might not be strong enough but we shall see if she can overcome that hurdle too. Thailand has won Miss Universe two times (1965 and 1988) so is it time again?

Mauritius-Alexandrine Belle-Etoile

This beautiful star, Alexandrine Belle-Etoile is an outstanding delegate and a total find for her country that has never placed before at Miss Universe but Alexandrine with her amazing overall look, face and body and strong speaking skills make her a major contender and I really hope to see her get noticed in a big way and she would be such a refreshing choice. Alexandrine is one stunning young woman with an amazing body who holds a degree in Fine Arts and teaches the Arts and the French language to primary students in a private school in her country. Alexandrine has experience modelling for some of the biggest brands in Mauritius and she has even recently placed in the top 12 of Miss Supranational 2022 and earned the title of Miss Supranational Africa as Africa's highest ranking delegate there so will radiant Alexandrine paint up a win with her artistic skills and capture the Miss Universe crown for the peaceful island of paradise??

SEMIFINALISTS:

Brazil-Mia Mamede

Mamma Mia...here she goes again! After missing the semifinals last year breaking their long-running streak in the semifinals since hosting in 2011, Brazil sends us Mia who is among the more outstanding speakers this year and she does have a great body and carries herself professionally and I think this is the type of young woman that the Miss Universe Organization wants. She is fluent in English and speaks four other languages and works as a Brazilian TV host, film producer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.

Dominican Republic-Andreina Martinez

Andreina has a strong presence and she certainly demonstrated that in preliminaries. The land where your heart flames to the rhythms of merengue sends us Andreína Martínez who was originally supposed to compete last year but couldn't due to Covid which is why we saw Debbie Aflalo compete last year but Andreína has recovered and has really shown up looking impressive and she is an achiever. Andreína is the winner of Google’s Pay it Forward Award for her dedication to her community and earned a BA in Psychology from the City College of New York. Before graduating Magna Cum Laude, she earned a coveted spot as a Capitol Hill Intern in Washington D.C. working at Senator Kristen Gillibrand’s office. These achievements and her poise cause me to have Andreina in my top 10. Dominican Republic won the crown once back in 2003 thanks to Amelia Vega and they last placed in 2020 among the top 5.

Peru-Alessia Rovegno

Alessia is among the stronger speakers of the bunch and she has a great body and overall look. Some facial angles are off on occasion but this is a strong candidate. Peru last placed in 2020 and has had to wait the longest for a repeat win since 1957 was the one time that they claimed the crown thanks to Gladys Zender but leap years like this one (2022 being held in 2023) tend to favor countries that haven't won for a long time so is it time for the land of the Incas?

Philippines-Celeste Cortesi

Celeste is expected to keep the streak going for the pearl of the Orient seas. If last year's delegate can place with tattoos then surely Celeste can too. Venus Raj started the Philippines' streak in the semifinals in 2010 and they have placed ever since giving the Philippines the current longest streak in the semifinals just ahead of the USA who has placed every year since 2011. The tropical haven of Asia has 4 Miss Universe winners: Gloria Diaz in 1969, Margarita Moran in 1973, Pia Wurtzbach in 2015 and Catriona Gray in 2018.

USA-R'Bonney Nola Gabriel

The host delegate delivered in preliminaries and this gown is quite daring. I might have put her one spot below Philippines due to 2002 when Venezuela placed one spot ahead of Germany (of Venezuelan descent) and India placed one spot ahead of Canada (of Indian descent) that year so that's my logic here! R'Bonney is expected to place despite the controversy surrounding her win with some of the other contestants feeling like the cards were stacked in her favor but after an investigation, there was no wrongdoing found. R'Bonney is also the first woman of Filipina descent (on her father's side) to win Miss USA and she is showing up very ready for the competition. Will Nola win in Nola?? USA has only missed the semifinals 5 times (1957, 1976, 1999, 2002 and 2010) and they have won 8 Miss Universe crowns (1954, 1956, 1960, 1967, 1980, 1995, 1997 and 2012) which is more than any other country.

South Africa-Ndavi Nokeri

Ndavi's new hair reminds me a lot of the late Cheslie Kryst-Miss USA 2019 so perhaps this is a tribute to her? I think Ndavi brought a different and more African look in gown and her body is great. South Africans have done extremely well in recent years despite somehow missing the semifinals in 2020 with a runner-up being sent instead of the actual winner of their national crown but they have amazingly placed in the top 3 in 4 of the last 5 Miss Universe pageants which is a phenomenal feat and Ndavi is expected to continue this trend. She has a BCom Investment Management degree from the University of Pretoria and was working for an asset management firm at the time of her crowning. South African delegates are known for their strong interview skills and they have won three Miss Universe crowns thanks to Margaret Gardiner in 1978, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters in 2017 and Zozibini Tunzi in 2019.

India-Divita Rai

Divita is also a strong speaker who has proven herself to be beautifully confident and her social media updates seem to prove her to be with the times. In the past two times that India won Miss Universe, India made the top 5 the following year so this diva Divita obviously hopes to continue that trend. Only Venezuela has won back to back crowns in 2009 but India almost did it in 1995 when Manpreet Brar placed as 1st runner up the year after Sushmita Sen won in 1994. Can Divita do it?

Angola-Swelia Da Silva Antonio

Swelia is stunning with those lovely eyes and beaming smile and she carries herself remarkably well and I was impressed with her during preliminaries. Swelia also represented the Netherlands in Miss Supranational 2021 placing among the top 12 there. Her humanitarian efforts should also be rewarded and she does speak well. I think that with Angola's Leila Lopes-Miss Universe 2011 being her national director will help as Leila was invited to the special extravaganza gala in Thailand in November so these all point to signs that Swelia is one to watch so she is among my top 20. Angola won their only Miss Universe crown in 2011 which was also the last time they placed.

Germany-Soraya Kohlmann

Soraya is also quite outstanding and a natural beauty who performed very well in preliminaries. Germany being directed by Natalie Ackermann-Miss Germany Universe 2006 who also directs Colombia seems to have ensured that Soraya received excellent training. Soraya is actually a great candidate and has a strong chance of bringing Germany back in the game and she is currently among my top 20 picks and she is a vegan and a dancer and we know how dancers move gracefully on stage. Another thing is new owner, Anne Jakrajutatip's children were born from the donated eggs of a German woman so hmmm.... The land of Bach and Beethoven hasn't placed since 2002 and they won their only Miss Universe crown back in 1961.

Curaçao-Gabriëla Dos Santos

Gabriëla had a little scare when she tested positive for Covid but she overcame it and tested negative just in time for her to proceed in the competition. However, I recall some favorites from Miss Teen USA 2020 that also tested positive for Covid not placing but she was among the strongest competitors in preliminaries and is practically on every list so I ended up including her in mine also. Curaçao last made the top 21 for 2020 and they got a 1st runner up placement in 1968 and they also finished 4th in 1997 but they never won the crown so is it time?

Vietnam-Ngọc Châu Thị Nguyễn

And for the final spot for the online vote, I'm giving it to Vietnam. Vietnam has never won the crown but they do have a four year streak in the semifinals so could this one make it a 5th year in a row? Ngọc Châu was the winner of Vietnam's Next Top Model 2016. She represented Vietnam at the Miss Supranational 2019 pageant and finished as a Top 10 semifinalist.

ALTERNATES:

Trinidad & Tobago-Tya Jané Ramey

Tya Jané stood out in preliminaries and she speaks well so this is one to watch especially since Trinidad's own Wendy Fitzwilliam-Miss Universe 1998 was a preliminary judge. Tya Jané placed in the top 40 of Miss World 2019 and won the Continental Queen of the Caribbean award there. The oh-so-beautiful twin islands of Trinidad & Tobago are back this year after not competing since 2017. Trinidad & Tobago has won Miss Universe two times thanks to Janelle Commissiong in 1977 and Wendy Fitzwilliam in 1998 and they last placed in 2006.

Australia-Monique Riley

This is another one that could give a strong enough interview to place and she is certainly muscular and seems to carry herself well so the land down under could rise up over so I have my suspicions about her and she was in and out of my list several times so I ended up placing her here so let's see if she can pull off that placement.

Great Britain-Noky Simbani

Despite her petite frame, Noky is another strong speaker and she earned a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering and after having worked as an engineer, she is now a qualified chartered banker and currently works on marketing-leading projects to support business growth. The land of the Union Jack last placed in 2021 and they have never won the crown. I feel like she is going to place but I have no idea who to take out of my list to put her in but it will soon become clear...

Jamaica-Toshami Calvin

I can't resist the hype machine. I sort of see it because she does speak well and her poise was evident in preliminaries and I think people like that she is a cousin of Miss World 2019-Toni-Ann Singh so I'm putting her in my alternates list. I will say that I've noticed she has protruding thighs so that could work against her. Even though the island of reggae has won Miss World 4 times, they have never won the Miss Universe crown but their best placement was 1st runner up in 2010 and they also placed as 2nd runner up in 2017 with a top 10 placement in 2020. Toshami holds an undergraduate degree in Health Sciences at the University of Central Florida and is also a favorite.

Panama-Solaris De La Luna Barba Cañizales

Solaris did well and could easily place but I am not seeing enough of a consensus on her placing though so I ended up placing her as an alternate. This tropical isthmus last placed in 2021 and inherited their only Miss Universe crown in 2002 when Russia's Oxana Fedorova was dethroned and Justine Pasek who was originally the 1st runner up took over. Solaris placed among the top 12 at Miss World 2018 and Miss World Americas 2018. Solaris De La Luna does also sound like a very Miss Universe name, no?

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Aruba-Kiara Arends

The one happy island placed in the top 10 last year and although placements for Aruba are rare, Kiara has an excellent chance of giving them a second placement in a row. Kiara is gorgeous but somehow just didn't manage to climb my list. Perhaps the gown was a bit much but she does have great accomplishments like obtaining a Bachelor of Law degree and moving to Belgium to pursue her master's in law focusing on International Business Trade and Tax law so she could be up there. Aruba's best placement was in 1996 when Taryn Mansell was 1st runner up.

Portugal-Telma Madeira

The land of explorers got their first placement ever in 2011 finishing in the top 10 and they last placed among the top 20 in 2019. Telma is one of those famous Miss Universe contestants that previously competed and placed in the top 8 of Miss Earth 2018 so she is one to watch but after preliminaries, I just didn't feel strongly enough about her so I placed her here.

Ukraine-Viktoriia Apanasenko

Viktoriia certainly captured the hearts of the audience with her patriotic gown. I think a lot of people realize that her placing would probably not make it fair for the others so I placed her as an honorable mention and she certainly is honorable and speaks well. Even though Viktoriia was originally a runner-up, she was appointed to compete and she is accomplished holding a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and she has been researching the topic of domestic violence for six years. Ukraine has never won but they were 1st runner up in 2011 and 2nd runner up for 2014 but haven't placed since.

Bahrain-Evlin Khalifa

This hijab gown is fabulous and really showed off her figure. Evlin wore a pantsuit during the swimsuit competition and while she might not place, I think she deserves some recognition so I'm putting her here.

Italy-Virginia Stablum

The hype machine seemed to be behind this one too but a lot of people seem to feel like she fizzled after preliminaries and the gown while apparently designed by Roberto Cavalli just didn't have the impact most were expecting. The land of culture, pasta and fashion has never won the Miss Universe crown but they do have two 1st runner ups (1960 and 1987) and last placed in 2014.

NEXT TIER:

Others just missing my list falling in my next tier are the following delegates:

France - She was a runner-up in her national pageant and the last time a runner-up was sent, she didn't place. I'm getting the same impression this time around but her gown was certainly interesting.

Ecuador - I love this girl. If only she weren't so thin! She's fabulous though.

Mexico - Other people noticed her after preliminaries but I just don't get the right vibes from her so I'm putting her here.

Nigeria - This one could be up there but I think her teeth didn't look as aligned and I'm not seeing enough of a consensus on her placing so she ended up here on my list.

Bolivia - She was a replacement for Bullyvia's Fernanda Pavisic who was dethroned for making catty comments about fellow contestants and posting it to social media but her replacement is actually really amazing and her gown was divine but she is petite but I'd actually love to see her place!

Indonesia - This country has done well in recent years so this year's delegate could be a surprise but I'm not feeling strongly enough about her.

Honduras - She has a great look but the body might not quite be there so it just wasn't enough to end this country's long drought as they haven't placed since 1955.

Guatemala - Her national costume was outstanding and she could win that award but even though she was 2nd runner up at Miss Grand International 2019, I find her somewhat pasty looking and just don't see her making that kind of impact at Universe.

Iceland - This is a nice delegate but after preliminaries, I wasn't convinced that she would place.

Costa Rica - I'll admit I loved her sexily undoing her hair during the gown competition. It was cute but perhaps too gimmicky as a means to grab attention.





So there you have it! Another year with another list! How did I do? Who are the surprises? Well, we shall soon know the truth!

Of course, tell everyone to watch Miss Universe 2022 - January 14 on Roku/Telemundo/Miss Universe youtube channel!



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SECOND ROUND PRETHOUGHTS (January 8, 2023)




Bahrain, Spain, Thailand, South Africa, Philippines in photoshoot for MUBA cosmetics








Preliminaries are being held on January 11 so there should be a webcast available online on the Miss Universe youtube page or at missuniverse.com



I'm going to post my final predictions for Miss Universe 2022/23 on January 13 after analyzing the preliminaries but in the meantime, I will present a second round of prethoughts of what my present thoughts are on each delegate. The format seems to be a top 16 like last year per Miss Uruguay with 15 selected from the judges/selection committee and one selected from the online vote.
We will see if Covid affects any of the delegates. Rumor has it that Curaçao's delegate who tested positive for Covid after arrival in New Orleans might be allowed to compete if she recovers but Latvia's delegate, Kate Alexeeva appears to have tested Covid positive prior to arrival in New Orleans and cannot compete. China's delegate may have difficulty getting a visa to enter the USA due to the recent Covid outbreak in her country. Supposedly 84 delegates have been confirmed so far for this year (down from 86 after excluding Kazakhstan for lack of sponsorship and Latvia due to Covid) but there are some that don't look like they have arrived so that number is likely to drop. Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Kenya, Morocco, Romania, and Sweden all have not sent delegates this year after participating last year and among the most surprising of these is Israel since they hosted Miss Universe last year.

We will all witness the magic unfold on January 14 on Roku and Telemundo when the 71st Miss Universe pageant broadcasts live from the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. As previously mentioned, this year's hosts are all female and they are: Olivia Culpo-Miss Universe 2012 who also co-hosted the 2020 Miss Universe pageant and Jeannie Mai-Jenkins who has served as color commentator for past Miss Universe pageants. Color commentators this year will be Catriona Gray-Miss Universe 2018 and Zuri Hall who has hosted the past two Miss USA pageants. The last time that there were all female hosts but with a male color commentator was 2001 when Elle Macpherson and Naomi Campbell hosted.

Albania-Deta Kokomani

Deta looks quite good but I think she may be more on the petite side yet she is a pharmacy student so there's possibilities here but I don't feel strongly enough about her to have her among my picks. Albania has never won the crown and their last placement was in 2019 when they made the top 20.

Angola-Swelia Da Silva Antonio

I like Swelia with those lovely eyes and smile and her humanitarian efforts should also be rewarded. I think that with Angola's Leila Lopes-Miss Universe 2011 being her national director will help as Leila was invited to the special extravaganza gala in Thailand in November so these all point to signs that Swelia is one to watch so she is among my top 20. Angola won their only Miss Universe crown in 2011 which was also the last time they placed.

Argentina-Barbara Cabrera

The land of tango and Evita Peron last placed in 2020. Barbara seems strictly more like the model type and I get more of an artificial vibe from her and she likely lacks the substance that they want so this delegate is not among my picks. Argentina has one Miss Universe winner, Norma Nolan in 1962.

Armenia-Kristina Ayanian

Armenia made its debut at Miss Universe in 2018 but has never placed. I don't foresee a placement for this delegate from the land of the heritage of the Kardashians.

Aruba-Kiara Arends

The one happy island placed in the top 10 last year and although placements for Aruba are rare, Kiara has an excellent chance of giving them a second placement in a row. She is among my top 20 picks currently as I see great accomplishments like obtaining a Bachelor of Law degree and moving to Belgium to pursue her master's in law focusing on International Business Trade and Tax law. Aruba's best placement was in 1996 when Taryn Mansell was 1st runner up.

Australia-Monique Riley

The land down under sends us Monique who has a story of needing to use her self-defense training which reminds me of Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters-Miss Universe 2017's story and Monique also works as an actress and executive assistant. I'm just not feeling strongly enough about this delegate so she is currently not on my list. Australia has won the crown two times which were in 1972 (Kerry Anne Wells) and 2004 (Jennifer Hawkins) and they last placed in 2020.

Bahrain-Evlin Khalifa

Bahrain debuted last year but like last year, I don't see this delegate making as much of an impact as the more seasoned and experienced countries.

Belgium-Chayenne Van Aarle

Well, if they didn't place last year... I'm not foreseeing a placement for this delegate. Belgium did place in 2018 but the diamond capital of Europe has never won the Miss Universe crown but they have placed in the top 6 in 1981 and 1992.

Belize-Ashley Lightburn

Ashley is good at math as she lectures mathematics at the University of Belize and works full time at a bank. She could impress in interview but in terms of the overall, I'm not foreseeing a placement but she could be a surprise. Belize has only placed once which was back in 1979 when Sarita Diana Acosta made the top 12.

Bhutan-Tashi Choden

Bhutan is this year's only debuting country and they have sent us Tashi who is openly LGBTQ. I don't foresee a placement for this delegate.

Bolivia-Maria Camila Sanabria Pereyra

Camila was a last minute replacement as runner-up to original Bolivian winner, Fernanda Pavisic who was dethroned when she was representing Bullyvia rather than Bolivia by posting a video on social media making catty comments about some of her fellow delegate's headshots. Camila is actually quite lovely but this year's pageant isn't in Los Angeles so they won't place. Of course, I'm kidding as a venue normally doesn't affect a country's chances but it is true that Bolivia's last two placements were when the Miss Universe pageant was held in Los Angeles (in 2006 and 1990). I don't see the country where the Amazon and the Andes meet placing this year.

Brazil-Mia Mamede

The land of the Samba broke their long-running streak in the semifinals last year as they had placed every year since they hosted the pageant in 2011 except 2021 but I think Mia has the goods to bring Brazil back in the game. She is among the stronger speakers in the bunch and is fluent in multiple languages and she works in Brazilian media and graduated from New York University so Mia is among my top 10 at the moment. Brazil has won two Miss Universe crowns thanks to Ieda Maria Vargas in 1963 and Martha Vasconcellos in 1968.

British Virgin Islands-Lia Claxton

The delegate from the British Virgin Islands has never placed and it is expected that Nature's Little Secret will remain a secret this year.

Bulgaria-Kristina Plamenova

The land of roses has yet to place at Miss Universe. This delegate is currently not on my list.

Cambodia-Manita Hang

Would you hang with Manita Hang? I would as she seems cool. Manita has a nice overall look and she speaks English well and she is half-French. Cambodia made their debut at Miss Universe in 2017. I think I will end up having her in my next tier as I think she may not quite have the body for the competition but we'll see after prelims.

Cameroon-Monalisa Mouketey

Camerooooooon! The land of Bebe Zahara Benet made their debut in 2020. I don't foresee a placement this year.

Canada-Amelia Tu

The land of the maple leaf sends us Amelia who is pursuing a dual bachelor’s degree in Biology and Business at the University of California, Berkeley. This delegate is currently not among my picks. Canada's most recent placement was in 2018 and they have won two Miss Universe crowns thanks to Karen Baldwin in 1982 and Natalie Glebova in 2005.

Cayman Islands-Chloe Powery-Doxey

The land of crystal blue waters and white coral beaches has never placed and that is not expected to change this year.

Chile-Sofia Depassier

The land of the Andes sends us Sofia this year who is a strong contender but I feel like Chile tends to just fall short so I have her among my alternates currently. Chile's Cecilia Bolocco won their only Miss Universe crown in 1987 and their last placement was in 2004.

China-Sichen Jiang

The world's most populated country pulled off a surprise placement in 2017 but they have never won the crown. Their highest placement was as 2nd runner up in 2002. This delegate might not make it to the USA in time to compete but she is not among my picks at the moment.

Colombia-María Fernanda Aristizábal

Karma Colombian! She came and went but Fernanda is my winner and will likely stay that way! Mafe originally won the Miss Colombia title to compete for 2020 but the original Miss Colombia pageant lost the franchise to send their delegate to Miss Universe and a new Miss Universe Colombia pageant was held directed by Miss Germany Universe 2006-Natalie Ackermann which is why we saw Laura Olascuaga represent Colombia at the 2020 Miss Universe pageant but Fernanda would not be denied her rightful place in history and here she is now as a top contender for Miss Universe 2022. She is stunning and well-spoken holding a degree in media and journalism and Mafe just screams winner to me so she will likely stay on the top of my list with a strong chance of getting Colombia their third Miss Universe crown. The world's finest coffee land won the Miss Universe crown twice (1958 and 2014) and have placed as 1st runner up a whopping 6 times and finished in the top 5 last year.

Costa Rica-Maria Fernanda Rodríguez Ávila

The land of peace and brotherhood sends us another Maria Fernanda. This is the second year in a row that Colombia and Costa Rica's delegates have the same first names! Fernanda is a civil engineer and has potential to pull a surprise but I'm not really so sure as they have been teasing potentially being a host country but it doesn't look like it will happen. Costa Rica was among the top 10 for 2020 thanks to Ivonne Cerdas. After their first placement in 1954, Costa Rica incredibly had to wait 50 years for their next placement in 2004 and they also placed in 2011, 2013, 2018 and 2020.

Croatia-Arijana Podgajski

Arijana studies economics with ambitions to go into real estate. This delegate has a decent look but I feel like she may fall short or not make enough of an impact to place but I'll be keeping an eye on her during preliminaries. The greatest treasure of middle Europe, Croatia has placed four times as a semifinalist (2009, 2012, 2017 and 2019) but has never won the crown.

Curaçao-Gabriëla Dos Santos

Gabriëla is a favorite but her Covid test could take her out of the competition. I currently have her as an alternate though so we'll see how this goes. Curaçao last made the top 21 for 2020 and they got a 1st runner up placement in 1968 and they also finished 4th in 1997.

Czech Republic-Sára Mikulenková

This delegate looks decent but Czech delegates seem to lack in interview skills so she is not among my picks currently. Czech Republic has never won the crown but they did have a 4 year streak in the semifinals from 2007 to 2010 which was when they last placed.

Dominican Republic-Andreína Martínez

The land where your heart flames to the rhythms of merengue sends us Andreína Martínez who was originally supposed to compete last year but couldn't due to Covid which is why we saw Debbie Aflalo compete last year but Andreína has recovered and has really shown up looking impressive and she is an achiever. Andreína is the winner of Google’s Pay it Forward Award for her dedication to her community and earned a BA in Psychology from the City College of New York. Before graduating Magna Cum Laude, she earned a coveted spot as a Capitol Hill Intern in Washington D.C. working at Senator Kristen Gillibrand’s office. These achievements and her poise cause me to have Andreina in my top 10 currently. Dominican Republic won the crown once back in 2003 thanks to Amelia Vega and they last placed in 2020 among the top 5.

Ecuador-Nayelhi Gonzalez

The land where the hemispheres meet last placed in 2013 when they pulled off their highest placement ever when Constanza Baez placed as 2nd runner up. I like this delegate's look but I think she may be more on the petite side so I'll be watching her during preliminaries to be sure. She aims to be a nurse.

El Salvador-Alejandra Guajardo

The gentleman of the Americas is one of those countries that tends to get lost in the shuffle so I don't see this delegate placing. The host country of the 1975 Miss Universe pageant has never won the crown but they did place as 1st runner up back in 1955 and they haven't placed in the semifinals since 1996.

Equatorial Guinea-Alba Isabel Obama

Equatorial Guinea is somewhat new to the pageant scene. This delegate studies law and also competed at Miss Supranational 2019 going unplaced but winning a modeling award for Africa there. I will also be watching this delegate during preliminaries but as of right now, I don't foresee a placement.

Finland-Petra Hämäläinen

Even though the land where tolerance and northern lights shine bright hasn't placed since 1996, they have 2 Miss Universe winners including Anne Marie Pohtamo in 1975 and the very first Miss Universe, Armi Kuusela who won her crown in 1952. I don't expect a placement for Finland this year.

France-Floriane Bascou

Floriane from Martinique was actually the 1st runner up in Miss France 2022 but the winner, Diane Leyre had to fulfill her obligations as Miss France and therefore Floriane was sent to Miss Universe and this kind of flip-flopping has been happening a lot lately with the French delegates. Floriane's older brother Dimitri is an Olympic bronze medalist for Martinique. Floriane is a decent delegate. I don't feel as strongly about her for some reason even though France has done quite well in recent years so we'll see if she can convince me after preliminaries but I have her as an alternate currently. France won two Miss Universe crowns (1953 and 2016) and they placed last year and is one of only two countries that has competed at every Miss Universe pageant since its inception in 1952 (Canada is the other one and USA was disqualified in 1957).

Germany-Soraya Kohlmann

Germany is also being directed by Natalie Ackermann-Miss Germany Universe 2006 who also directs Colombia. Soraya is actually a great candidate and has a strong chance of bringing Germany back in the game and she is currently among my top 20 picks and she is a vegan and a dancer and we know how dancers move gracefully on stage. Another thing is new owner, Anne Jakrajutatip's children were born from the donated eggs of a German woman so hmmm.... The land of Bach and Beethoven hasn't placed since 2002 and they won their only Miss Universe crown back in 1961.

Ghana-Engracia Mofuman

The shining star of Africa's gold coast sends us Engracia. This delegate has potential but I just don't feel strongly enough about her so I will be watching her during preliminaries to determine if she makes my list. Ghana hasn't placed since 2017 and they have never won the Miss Universe crown.

Great Britain-Noky Simbani

The land where royalty reigns sends us Noky who is among my top 20 picks as I feel like this is one of the interview queens who can impress there. She earned a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering and after having worked as an engineer, she is now a qualified chartered banker and currently works on marketing-leading projects to support business growth. The land of the Union Jack last placed in 2021 and they have never won the crown.

Greece-Korina Emmanouilidou

Greece has hit some hard times but the birthplace of the Olympic spirit sends us Korina who seems like more of the model type that may not excel in interview. Greece won their only Miss Universe in 1964 and they last placed in 2005.

Guatemala-Ivana Batchelor

Guatemala hasn't placed since 2010 and they have never won the crown. Ivana is notable since she placed as 2nd runner up at Miss Grand International 2020 and she has some spectacular costumes so she is one to watch but somehow I'm not seeing her as one of the stronger contenders so I have her as an honorable mention currently but we'll see if she can change my mind after prelims.

Haiti-Mideline Phelizor

This delegate studies law so she could interview her way in but she is currently not among my picks. Haiti last placed in 2016 when they finished as 1st runner up as they did in 1975.

Honduras-Rebeca Rodríguez

Honduras hasn't placed since 1955 which makes them the country that has had to wait the longest for a repeat semifinalist. This year's delegate is promising. She is pursuing dual bachelor’s degrees in international business and digital marketing from Atlantis University in Miami and she does have a great overall look so she is one to watch. I have her as an honorable mention at the moment but we'll see if she can impress me enough in preliminaries to move up.

Iceland-Hrafnhildur Haraldsdóttir

The land of glaciers and lava and Björk placed in the top 10 in 2019 but this year's delegate will probably be in my next tier. She is currently a third year biology student at the Commercial College of Iceland. Iceland has never won the crown but their highest placement was as 1st runner up in 1962.

India-Divita Rai

The reigning Miss Universe is from India and Venezuela is the only country to win two years in a row which happened in 2009 but India was the first to almost achieve this when in 1995, Manpreet Brar was 1st runner up the year after Sushmita Sen won in 1994 and even Celina Jaitley made the top 5 the year after Lara Dutta won in 2000. Here we have Divita who hopes to continue the trend and make top 5 in a year after India won Miss Universe. Divita is a decent candidate but I feel like she might make top 20 but probably not top 5 this time but she is in my list. Indians are known for their strong speaking skills and Divita is no exception so we'll see if this diva Divita will do it again for the country which embodies unity through diversity.

Indonesia-Laksmi De Neefe Suardana

Indonesia returns after an absence last year but they have done quite well recently placing in 7 of the last 8 Miss Universe pageants from 2013 to 2020 excluding 2017 so Laksmi is one to watch. I have her as a next tier delegate at the moment but we shall see if the Indonesia fandom can propel her into the semifinals.

Italy-Virginia Stablum

The land of culture, pasta and fashion has never won the Miss Universe crown but they do have two 1st runner ups (1960 and 1987) and last placed in 2014. Virginia is a favorite but I'm still not sure as she seems like more of a model-type but she does study digital marketing and communication so I have her as an alternate presently but she has a strong chance of moving into my list after prelims.

Jamaica-Toshami Calvin

Even though the island of reggae has won Miss World 4 times, they have never won the Miss Universe crown but their best placement was 1st runner up in 2010 and they also placed as 2nd runner up in 2017 with a top 10 placement in 2020. Toshami holds an undergraduate degree in Health Sciences at the University of Central Florida and is also a favorite but for some reason, I don't feel as strongly about her so I have her as an alternate so we'll see if prelims can change my mind.

Japan-Marybelen Sakamoto

The land of the rising sun pulled off a placement last year and they have won the Miss Universe crown twice (1959 and 2007). Like a lot of recent Japanese titleholders, Marybelen is also biracial with a Peruvian father and Japanese mother. She is working as a teacher in a major nationwide cooking studio in Japan. However, this delegate is currently not my picks.

Korea-Hanna Kim

Korea last placed in 2007 and the closest they came to the crown was a 1st runner up placement in 1988. This delegate works in the field of clinical research as a linguist but I don't foresee a placement for this delegate.

Kosovo-Roksana Ibrahimi

Kosovo last placed in 2012 and has never won the crown. Roksana studies dental hygiene but I don't see this delegate making enough of an impact to place.

Kyrgyzstan-Altynai Botoyarova

I see this one as more of a model who probably won't do as well in interview so this delegate is not among my picks. Krygyzstan has never placed.

Laos-Payengxa Lor

Laos debuted in 2017 and has yet to place. I'm not expecting this year's delegate to change that.

Lebanon-Yasmina Zaytoun

Lebanon won the crown once in 1971 thanks to Georgina Rizk but they haven't placed since 1973. Bodywise, I don't foresee a placement for this delegate.

Malaysia-Lesley (Cheam Wei) Yeng

Malaysia surprisingly has only placed once which was back in 1970 thanks to Josephine Wong. This delegate is more of a next tier delegate for me so we shall see how she does.

Malta-Maxine Formosa Gruppetta

The heart of the Mediterranean has never placed and I don't see that changing this year.

Mauritius-Alexandrine Belle-Étoile

Mauritius has never placed but coming off a top 12 finish at Miss Supranational 2022, the 'beautiful star' Alexandrine Belle-Étoile is such a find with her stunning looks and great body. She is passionate about teaching art and I really think she can paint up a win for her island and I really hope she gets recognized in a big way at Miss Universe. She is among my top 5 currently so we shall see how Alexandrine does for the peaceful island of paradise.

Mexico-Irma Miranda

I'm assuming Irma is more of an interview queen but we know Mexico can do better so this delegate is not among my picks. The land of the Mariachi has won the Miss Universe crown three times for the years of 1991, 2010 and 2020 which is when they last placed.

Myanmar-Zar Li Moe

Myanmar last placed in 2020 but this delegate is not expected to place.

Namibia-Cassia Sharpley

The smile of Africa, Namibia won the crown once back in 1992 thanks to Michelle McLean but they have not placed since 2003. Cassia seems like a decent delegate but I'm not sure she will make enough of an impact to place so I don't have her among my picks currently.

Nepal-Sophiya Bhujel

Nepal managed to place in the top 10 for the first time in 2018 and this year's delegate could impress in interviews so I have her as a next tier delegate currently.

Netherlands-Ona Moody

This delegate is somewhat intriguing but she's not on my list at the moment. The land of tulips and windmills made the top 5 for 2014 which was their last placement and Angela Visser won the crown for Holland in 1989.

Nicaragua-Norma Huembes[

The land of lakes and volcanoes last placed in 2020 but this delegate is not on my list.

Nigeria-Hannah Iribhogbe

Nigeria last placed in 2019. Hannah's nickname is Montana Felix and she founded the Montana initiative (get it, Hannah Montana??) and this is an organization to help feed African children. She is studying business management at North Lake college Dallas, Texas. I feel like there is potential here but I have her in my next tier currently.

Norway-Ida Hauan

The land of the fjords hasn't placed since 2005 and they won the crown once in 1990. This year's delegate is not expected to place.

Panama-Solaris De La Luna Barba Cañizales

This tropical isthmus last placed in 2021 and inherited their only Miss Universe crown in 2002 when Russia's Oxana Fedorova was dethroned and Justine Pasek who was originally the 1st runner up took over. Solaris is one to watch especially since she placed among the top 12 at Miss World 2018 and Miss World Americas 2018 so I'm sure she has strong interview skills and is among my top 20 currently. Solaris De La Luna does also sound like a very Miss Universe name, no?

Paraguay-Lia Aymara Duarte Ashmore

Paraguay has never won the Miss Universe crown but they last placed as 1st runner up in 2021 thanks to Nadia Ferreira who is currently dating Marc Anthony who fathered children for Miss Universe 1993-Dayanara Torres and Jennifer Lopez. However, this year's delegate is not expected to place.

Peru-Alessia Rovegno

There's something facially off about Alessia but she delivers strongly everywhere else so I have her in my top 20 currently. Peru last placed in 2020 and has had to wait the longest for a repeat win since 1957 was the one time that they claimed the crown thanks to Gladys Zender but leap years like this one (2022 being held in 2023) tend to favor countries that haven't won for a long time so is it time for the land of the Incas?

Philippines-Celeste Cortesi

I have Celeste in my top 10 currently and she is expected to keep the streak going for the pearl of the Orient seas. If last year's delegate can make the top 5 with tattoos then surely Celeste can too. Venus Raj started the Philippines' streak in the semifinals in 2010 and they have placed ever since giving the Philippines the current longest streak in the semifinals just ahead of the USA who has placed every year since 2011. The tropical haven of Asia has 4 Miss Universe winners: Gloria Diaz in 1969, Margarita Moran in 1973, Pia Wurtzbach in 2015 and Catriona Gray in 2018.

Poland-Aleksandra Klepaczka

Aleksandra plays violin and guitar and holds a degree in management engineering but I'm thinking this is more of a next tier delegate. Poland pulled off a surprise placement in 2018 and the land of Chopin has never won the crown but have placed as 3rd runner up twice (1986 and 1989).

Portugal-Telma Madeira

The land of explorers got their first placement ever in 2011 finishing in the top 10 and they last placed among the top 20 in 2019. Telma is one of those famous Miss Universe contestants that previously competed and placed in the top 8 of Miss Earth 2018 so she is one to watch and is currently among my top 20 picks at the moment.

Puerto Rico-Ashley Cariño

Ashley is a familiar face as Miss Florida USA 2021 and 2nd runner up to Miss USA 2021, Elle Smith but Ashley would not be denied her chance to compete on the Miss Universe stage and country-hopped to Puerto Rico and won that crown similarly to Madison Anderson in 2019. Ashley is in my top 5 as one of the top contenders this year with a fascination with the Universe and outer space, she is completing a degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Central Florida with hopes of specializing in the field of rocket propulsion and aims to work for NASA. As pointed out in my first round prethoughts, there are a lot of patterns supporting a win for Puerto Rico this year so will Ashley do it? The shining star of the Caribbean has placed every year since 2018 and they have won the Miss Universe crown 5 times (1970, 1985, 1993, 2001 and 2006).

Russia-Anna Linnikova

Russia hasn't placed since 2012 and their only winner in 2002, Oxana Fedorova was dethroned a few months after winning her title. This delegate is not among my picks.

St. Lucia-Sheris Paul

St. Lucia has never placed and I'm not expecting that to change this year. This delegate is not among my picks.

Seychelles-Gabriella Gonthier

Seychelles hosted the Miss World pageants for 1997 and 1998 and they have returned since their last time participating in 1995. This year's delegate is not expected to place.

Singapore-Carissa Yap

The land of racial harmony pulled off a surprise placement last year. However, this year's delegate is not expected to place.

Slovak Republic-Karolina Michálčiková

Slovak Republic placed only once which was in 1994 so this is another one of those countries that tends to get lost in the shuffle. In terms of accomplishments, Karolina is a university student currently studying human resources and management. She has already earned her bachelor’s degree and is finishing her final year of engineering. I need to see more of this delegate so I'll be watching for her in the preliminaries to determine where I place her in my list.

South Africa-Ndavi Nokeri

South Africans have done extremely well in recent years despite somehow missing the semifinals in 2020 with a runner-up being sent instead of the actual winner of their national crown but they have amazingly placed in the top 3 in 4 of the last 5 Miss Universe pageants which is a phenomenal feat and Ndavi is expected to continue this trend so she is among my top 10 currently. She has a BCom Investment Management degree from the University of Pretoria and was working for an asset management firm at the time of her crowning. South African delegates are known for their strong interview skills and they have won three Miss Universe crowns thanks to Margaret Gardiner in 1978, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters in 2017 and Zozibini Tunzi in 2019.

Spain-Alicia Faubel

This delegate has been getting noticed so she is one to watch. I have her as an honorable mention currently but she could move up after preliminaries. Spain won its only crown back in 1974 and last placed in the top 10 in 2017.

Switzerland-Alia Guindi

The land of time has never won the Miss Universe crown but their best placement was in 2006 as 2nd runner up and they last placed in 2013. This delegate is currently not among my picks.

Thailand-Anna Sueangam-iam

Will queen Anna satisfy new owner queen Khun Anne and capture a third Miss Universe crown for Thailand? Anna is in my top 5 at the moment and will likely stay there. While she does have a strong story about being raised in a slum, then amongst Buddhist nuns and overcoming that underprivileged upbringing, her English isn't as strong and this may keep her from the crown but with the new ownership, it might not matter so we'll see what happens. Thailand has won two Miss Universe crowns (1965 and 1988) and their streak in the semifinals was broken last year but will Anna bring them back in a big way?

The Bahamas-Angel Cartwright

We're still including the The? Really?? Okay, then... THE Bahamas placed for the first time in history last year finishing among the top 10 and they also hosted the 2009 Miss Universe pageant. Angel holds a Dual Master of Science in Finance and an International MBA at Florida International University so this one is accomplished so we'll see if she can impress enough in the preliminaries to move up my list as I currently am thinking she might be a next tier delegate for me.

Trinidad & Tobago-Tya Jané Ramey

The oh-so-beautiful twin islands of Trinidad & Tobago are back this year after not competing since 2017 but this delegate is not expected to place. Trinidad & Tobago has won Miss Universe two times thanks to Janelle Commissiong in 1977 and Wendy Fitzwilliam in 1998 and they last placed in 2006.

Turkey/Turkiye-Aleyna Şirin

I guess they want to disassociate from the bird and spell Turkey as Turkiye from now on. This country has never won and they last placed in 2012. This year's delegate is not expected to place.

Ukraine-Viktoriia Apanasenko

This delegate presents a conundrum in that she could place and go far in the competition or not place at all to avoid politics so I'm putting her in my top 20 for the time being. Even though Viktoriia was originally a runner-up, she was appointed to compete and she is accomplished holding a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and she has been researching the topic of domestic violence for six years. Ukraine has never won but they were 1st runner up in 2011 and 2nd runner up for 2014 but haven't placed since.

Uruguay-Carla Romero

Uruguay has never won the crown and last placed in 1985 when Andrea Beatríz López Silva placed as 4th runner up which is their best placement. This delegate is not expected to place.

USA-R'Bonney Gabriel

R'Bonney is expected to place despite the controversy surrounding her win with some of the other contestants feeling like the cards were stacked in her favor but after an investigation, there was no wrongdoing found. I have R'Bonney among my top 10 currently. As the host delegate, R'Bonney is also the first woman of Filipina descent (on her father's side) to win Miss USA and she is showing up very ready for the competition. USA has only missed the semifinals 5 times (1957, 1976, 1999, 2002 and 2010) and they have won 8 Miss Universe crowns (1954, 1956, 1960, 1967, 1980, 1995, 1997 and 2012) which is more than any other country.

Venezuela-Amanda Dudamel

Amanda is in my top 5 at the moment. Amanda has shown herself to be job-ready by conducting interviews online with her fellow contestants and other titleholders as well and she is an absolute contender as is typically expected of Venezuela even though recent years have been turbulent for the gateway of South America. Of course, Venezuela is the world's pageant powerhouse and even though Gabriela Isler-Miss Universe 2013 now directs the Venezuelan delegate instead of Osmel Sousa and there was some recent controversy surrounding the win of next year's Venezuelan delegate, Diana Silva, Amanda should do very well but will she get her nation's 8th Miss Universe crown? Venezuela has placed in 12 of the last 15 Miss Universe pageants missing the semifinals only in 2010, 2016 and 2020.

Vietnam-Ngọc Châu Thị Nguyễn

Vietnam has never won the crown but they do have a four year streak in the semifinals so could this one make it a 5th year in a row? Currently, I have her in my top 20 and she could win the online vote. Ngọc Châu was previously crowned as Miss Supranational Vietnam 2018 and was the winner of Vietnam's Next Top Model 2016. She represented Vietnam at the Miss Supranational 2019 pageant and finished as a Top 10 semifinalist.




So there you have it! Again, I will post my final predictions on January 13 and then the truth will be unveiled on January 14 at 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Roku and Telemundo.



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FIRST ROUND PRETHOUGHTS (December 31, 2022)



Who will succeed Miss Universe 2021, India's Harnaaz Sandhu and be crowned Miss Universe 2022/23?
Find out January 14 at 7 p.m. EST on the Roku Channel and Telemundo

It’s two weeks to pageant day and the delegates are arriving in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA so it’s time for my highly anticipated first round prethoughts!


The delegates from Ecuador and Guatemala show off their national costumes.


The delegates from Vietnam and India depart for New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.


The delegates from Indonesia and Curaçao depart for New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.





Just START Your Crying
It's A Sign of the Times


Harnaaz Sandhu cries as she is declared Miss Universe It's official. All pageants are off the air and are not being broadcast nationally on a major American television network. The four big American networks are ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX. The Miss Universe pageant has had its turn on three of these networks but not ABC. ABC did broadcast the Miss America pageant though for several years. The Miss Universe pageant was broadcast on CBS during the early years until 2002, then NBC broadcast the Miss Universe pageant from 2003-2014/15, then FOX broadcast our treasured pageant from 2015 to 2019 and 2021. A smaller network called fyi broadcast the 2020/21 Miss Universe pageant and now the 2022/23 Miss Universe pageant is not being broadcast on a major network but a streaming service called the Roku channel. Call it a sign of the times as pageantry has increasingly struggled to find its place and relevance among viewers particularly in first world countries combined with the changing landscape of media consumption as less viewers are watching traditional cable television and are streaming content from any number of streaming services requiring internet access and one of them is the Roku channel. The Miss Teen USA pageant was the first to go this route as the last to be broadcast on NBC was the 2007 Miss Teen USA pageant and has been relegated to a webcast ever since. Miss USA 2019 was broadcast on FOX but the 2020 to 2022 pageants were broadcast on the fyi channel which isn't available in all American states and was discontinued in Canada in 2019. Miss America has been shopped around from network to network over time with the 2019 Miss America pageant on ABC, the 2020 Miss America pageant on NBC and then Covid affected the world so there was no 2021 Miss America pageant but the 2022 pageant was relegated to NBC's streaming service called peacock and the 2023 Miss America pageant was only available on a paid pageant streaming website. Steve HarveyRatings for pageants have been dwindling over the years in the U.S. so this turn is not surprising. The 2021 Miss Universe pageant on FOX drew in 2.7 million viewers which was a 30 percent drop from the 2019 pageant on FOX which drew in 3.8 million viewers so the 2021 pageant had the lowest ratings on a major U.S. network and the 2020 pageant that aired on fyi drew in much less than this since it didn't air on a major network.
85 contestants are expected to vie for the 2022 Miss Universe crown with Kazakhstan being a last-minute drop out due to lack of sponsorship. Steve Harvey is also not returning to host this year's Miss Universe pageant which more than confirms that Miss Universe airing on FOX during his years of hosting had to do with a tie-in with him as part of the deal. He had a five-year deal to host Miss Universe which he did from 2015 to 2019 and then again in 2021 all of which pageants aired on FOX. The 2020 pageant (held in May 2021) on fyi was hosted by Mario Lopez and Olivia Culpo-Miss Universe 2012. Of course, the world remembers the newsworthy blunder of the first Miss Universe pageant Steve hosted in 2015 when he mistakenly named the 1st runner up Colombia's Ariadna Gutierrez as Miss Universe 2015 only to return to stage shortly after Ariadna was crowned to correct his mistake and read the name of the correct winner, Philippines' Pia Wurtzbach leading to a humiliating decrowning of Ariadna and this blunder would become a talking point for the following pageants that he hosted but Steve can retire now and this year's host is female of course moving with the direction of women's empowerment and female leadership. However, the 2001 Miss Universe pageant was the first to be solely female-hosted with these duties being performed by supermodels Elle MacPherson and Naomi Campbell with Todd Newton serving as background commentator and Todd would later return to host Miss USA 2015. Earlier this year, Amy Emmerich was brought in to serve as CEO of the Miss Universe Organization while Paula Shugart will still serve as the president of the Miss Universe Organization as she has after succeeding Maureen Reidy after she left in January 2001. Amy looks like she may be being trained to be Paula's successor as Paula may be retiring soon. Another change in 2022 was the slogan of Miss Universe to Beautifully Confident rather than Confidently Beautiful emphasizing confidence over beauty. We all know that the position of Miss Universe is a job and she does have to be able to speak well and handle various people and situations diplomatically while having the type of beauty that starts from within and emanates externally. This will also be the fourth leap year that the Miss Universe pageant has experienced with the 2022 Miss Universe pageant being held in January 2023. The other postdated pageants were 2014 (held in January 2015), 2016 (held in January 2017) and 2020 (held in May 2021). In the 1950s, the title was postdated so even though Finland's Armi Kuusela won her title in 1952, at the time she was named Miss Universe 1953 which was later changed for the 1960s titleholders. Some believe that since postponed/leap years have favored countries that hadn’t won for long time (i.e. Colombia won Miss Universe 2014 in 2015 after having not won the crown since 1958 and France won Miss Universe 2016 in 2017 after having not won the crown since 1953) so could Peru get the win in this postponed year due to them not winning the crown since 1957 or perhaps Argentina since they haven’t won since 1962? During my first round prethoughts for Miss USA 2022, I mentioned that the Miss Universe pageant was up for sale for $20 million U.S. from previous owners, IMG Endeavor headed by Ari Emanuel and IMG was under the WME umbrella who took ownership after a certain previous owner turned president gave it up in 2015 making certain comments which led to almost derailing the Miss USA 2015 pageant in the process. So who was it who bought the Miss Universe Organization from IMG? Well, meet Anne...



Just the Jakrajuta-tip

AnneAnneOoooooohhh... On the JKN Tip! Jakkaphong "Anne" Jakrajutatip is a wealthy Thai trans-woman who heads her own company called the JKN Global Media Group and is also a long-time Miss Universe fan who stepped up to purchase the Miss Universe Organization for $20 million U.S. from the previous owner, IMG. The directorship of Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants which were under the Miss Universe Organization were given to the Miss Group under the direction of Miss USA 2008-Texas' Crystle Stewart starting with the 2021 Miss USA and Teen USA pageants but after some accusations after the 2022 Miss USA of the cards being stacked in Texas' favor whose representative R'Bonney Gabriel would win the 2022 Miss USA pageant, it was announced that the Miss Universe Organization would be taking back ownership of Miss USA and Miss Teen USA while an investigation occurred, then the news of Anne taking ownership was revealed and during the presentation, it was shown that JKN would also be taking ownership of Miss USA and Miss Teen USA so it appears that Crystle Stewart will not be returning as director and as it is, her personal life was also affected when her husband Max was allegedly acting inappropriately with some of the contestants leading to a separation. It looks like for the first time in history that the Miss Universe pageant, the Miss USA pageant and the Miss Teen USA pageant are no longer American owned but there will still be an office in New York and another in Thailand. This also technically marks the first time that the Miss Universe pageant will be female-owned although Khun Anne was born male in 1979 and later transitioned to female after fathering a son and a daughter using donated eggs from a German woman. There was initially some confusion since Anne owns a Thai channel called JKN-CNBC leading some to believe that the Miss Universe pageant would be broadcast on NBC in the U.S. especially since the broadcaster of the Spanish version, Telemundo is also under the NBC umbrella but it was not to be and we had to settle for Roku but we will see if Anne can perhaps work some magic for possibly getting the 2023 pageants back on a major American television network but I feel like we have reached a point of no return when it comes to getting back on a major American network although it is possible that only the host city, New Orleans local affiliate of NBC called WDSU may air it. The announcement was made official on October 25 (a few weeks after Miss USA 2022 was held on October 3) and an Extravaganza reunion to celebrate the new ownership was held on November 7 featuring Khun Anne herself in addition to five Miss Universe titleholders: India's Harnaaz Sandhu (2021), Mexico's Andrea Meza (2020), Philippines' Catriona Gray (2018), Angola's Leila Lopes (2011) who is now Angola's national director and Canada's Natalie Glebova (2005). Also featured on stage was the first transgendered Miss Universe contestant, Angela Ponce who represented Spain at Miss Universe 2018 but went unplaced. With Khun Anne also being transgendered, will this encourage other transgendered participants to compete and could we see the first transgendered Miss Universe in the near future?? Transgendered delegates started being accepted in 2012 when Jenna Talackova was initially dismissed from competing to represent Canada at Miss Universe but then was later permitted to compete when the Miss Universe organization decided to accept transgendered delegates and Jenna would place among the top 12 at Miss Universe Canada 2012 pageant but did not advance to the top 5. Khun Anne does have quite the social media following too and there was talk of Anne potentially crowning the new Miss Universe but almost immediately, many people said that was the reigning Miss Universe, Harnaaz Sandhu's job only so Anne said she would sash the new winner instead which makes more sense. This is already causing some to speculate if Anne's presence might be deemed somewhat overbearing so we shall see how prominently she is featured during the show.

Effective as of the 72nd Miss Universe pageant for 2023 (probably being held in December 2023), a new rule was initiated that women who meet the age limit of 28 and who have had children or who have been married or may be divorced will be eligible to compete for their national titles and upon winning the national title then eventually, the Miss Universe title. This new rule will allow a whole new demographic of women to compete and pursue a dream that they once thought evaded them. While everyone has an opinion about this, it appears to be a sign of the times supposedly adapting to allow once excluded potential participants but some question if this is a method to get more entrants into state pageants as the numbers have been dwindling in recent years. For example, when Miss USA 2018-Sarah Rose Summers competed for her state title in Nebraska, there were only eight contestants and even for Miss District of Columbia Teen USA 2021, there were only two contestants but the winner, Hannah Gilliard, would go on to become 1st runner up at Miss Teen USA 2021. Of course, these new eligibility rules probably would have been a most welcome case for the only dethroned Miss USA, Maryland’s Leona Gage who would win the Miss USA 1957 title in the early years when times were very different and often contradictory. Leona Gage-Miss USA 1957 surrounded by Israel's Atara Barzely and Peru's Gladys Zender who would win Miss Universe 1957Leona Gage's autobiography Leona’s unique story was that she became pregnant at age 13 by a 24-year-old Gene Ennis who was a member of the U.S. Air Force who didn’t respond to her letters and so she married another man, Edward Thacker but that marriage was annulled soon after and Ennis returned to her and he became Leona’s second husband when she was 14 and she had another son with him at age 16. After that marriage deteriorated, Leona sought to pursue her ambitions to be a model and she met another model who introduced her to a modeling agency and supported her entry to the 1957 Miss Maryland-Universe competition to represent Maryland at Miss USA. Leona kept her past hidden and wound up winning Miss USA 1957. Since Miss USA was held only a few days before Miss Universe back then, Leona had already competed in the Miss Universe preliminaries and placed among the top 15 but then Leona was questioned about the rumors after an investigation was launched and she confessed that she had lied about her age and that she was actually 18 and not 21 and she had been married twice and also had two young sons. Leona had to sashay away as the decision was made to exclude Leona from the Miss Universe finals marking the only year that the USA did not participate in the finals of Miss Universe. (Canada and France are the only two countries to have competed through to the finals of every Miss Universe pageant since its inception in 1952). Argentina’s 1957 delegate, Monica Lamas who had placed 16th was given Leona’s semifinalist spot at Miss Universe 1957 and it was too late for Leona’s runner up, Utah’s Charlotte Sheffield to compete at Miss Universe even though Charlotte inherited the 1957 Miss USA title when Leona was dethroned and she would be sent to compete later for the 1957 Miss World title instead where Charlotte went unplaced. Leona would parlay this scandal and all her media appearances into an moderate acting career and she worked as a burlesque showgirl. Leona married six times in her life and had four sons and one daughter and sadly, two of Leona's children passed away before she did. Leona passed away in 2010 at age 71 and she has an autobiography released in 1965 entitled, ‘My Name Is Leona Gage, Will Somebody Please Help Me?’ Had the new rules for 2023 been in place back then in 1957, Leona would not have had to sashay away and she would have been able to keep her crown and I wonder if the new rules were implemented because of Leona’s story and to avoid the shame that Leona experienced in her life to happen to other participants. They might get the news for publicity but if they are going unplaced, this leads to the perception that these delegates get used and may be given the special-segment treatment or not and there is the whole job readiness aspect of this as a woman with children may be able to find caretakers but her ability to do the job as a titleholder may come into question and these may be grounds for elimination so I wonder if these types of contestants should even bother unless they really just want the experience of competing in a major pageant.

Helen Morgan-Miss World 1974 surrounded by runners-up South Africa's Anneline Kriel and Israel's Lea KlainIndrani Rahman-Miss India 1952 was married when she competed for Miss UniverseA similar scandal happened to Helen Morgan who represented Wales at the 1974 Miss Universe pageant placing 1st runner up to Spain’s Amparo Munoz who was quietly dethroned after being a difficult titleholder allegedly punching her chaperone but Helen Morgan would go on to win the 1974 Miss World title representing the United Kingdom and it was soon discovered that she was an unwed mother to a young son and although there was no clause stating that she couldn’t be a mother, the pressures of the press and the scandal that ensued led her to resign and South Africa’s Anneline Kriel would inherit the 1974 Miss World title but since the top 2 of Miss Universe 1974 were both dethroned, there was no final appearance of the reigning Miss Universe at the 1975 Miss Universe pageant and that pageant’s winner, Finland’s Anne Marie Pohtamo was crowned by Miss Universe 1972-Australia’s Kerry Wells.

Even the 1999 Miss Universe pageant final question addressed this issue when the final 3 were asked if Miss Universe were to become pregnant, should she be allowed to continue as Miss Universe and all three delegates said yes. This final question was likely inspired by the rumors surrounding the 1999 delegate from Guam who dropped out prior to the preliminaries of the 1999 Miss Universe pageant when it was discovered that she was pregnant. Interestingly enough, during the first official Miss Universe pageant in 1952, India’s representative, Indrani Rahman was openly married and no one batted an eyelash but Indrani would go unplaced at Miss Universe 1952 but the rules were likely more lenient in this first official year of Miss Universe. Will we see an influx of women with children or who have been married participating in state pageants next year or will we see little change there? It’s interesting to note that the Miss Universe winners of 1952, 1953 and 1957 were all actually 17 years old when they won their titles and 18 was supposed to be the legal age but in the case of Miss Universe 1957, Peru’s Gladys Zender’s father’s defense was that they culturally believe life begins at conception usually 9 months before birth so 1957 evaded yet another potential scandal. Other delegates have lost national titles also for being underaged though such as Curacao’s Jozaine Wall in 2000 and a more famous case of India’s Urvashi Rautela who had to give up her national title in 2012 only to win it again in 2015 but she would go unplaced at Miss Universe 2015 but would be a judge for Miss Universe 2021 which was won by India! There were other cases when the reverse happened and a delegate had aged out and had to give up their titles too and even though the maximum age limit for contestants currently seems to still be 28 since about 2018 (previously it was 26), will that change too since women who have been married and with children are able to compete, they could even raise the age limit to 40 or even higher! Will it happen??
New Miss Universe sashNew crown for 2022With all these changes also come a new sash sponsored by the Sash Company (who also makes sashes for the Miss America system and Miss Earth also). It is said to be the first-ever sustainable sash made from 100 percent recycled fabric and thread with ethically produced rhinestones. They hope to inspire people to reduce plastic waste but I'm pretty sure no one would throw away their sash! And there is yet another new Miss Universe crown but still sponsored and designed by Mouawad who started sponsorship with their 2019 crown first worn by Miss Universe 2019-South Africa's Zozibini Tunzi. The 12th crown in Miss Universe history was unveiled in Bangkok on December 19. The event was chaired by Anne Jakrajutatip with the presence of crown designer Fred Mouawad and former Miss Universes Natalie Glebova and Apasra Hongsakula. The new crown is called 'Force for Good' with a value of around $6 million U.S. Instead of a yellow stone in the centre, the new crown carries a large blue stone on the front. Like many other crown changes, this one drew mixed reactions among fans. Some feel it bears a similarity to the CAO Fine Jewelry crown used only in 2008 to crown Venezuela's Dayana Mendoza when she won the Miss Universe title in Vietnam but Dayana wore the Mikimoto crown in 2009 when she crowned her successor. I personally think they should never have changed from the Chandelier crown that had a rough Sarah Coventry version used from 1963 to 1972 with the more refined version used from 1973 to 2001. Rumor has it that Anne wants this new crown to be used through to the 100th anniversary in 2051 but I highly doubt that will happen. Another interesting change is that Jacqueline Aguilera-Miss World 1995 is a sponsor for swimsuits with her line called J by Jacqueline Aguilera. I find it rather curious that a former Miss World is a sponsor for Miss Universe but hey, business is business, right?? It is quite likely that the 2023 Miss Universe pageant will be held in Thailand probably in December 2023 so that 13-year chain of Thailand hosting probably will be no longer a thing as I expected them to next host the 2031 Miss Universe pageant since they hosted 1992, 2005 and 2018 (all 13 years apart) but they probably will still host 2031 and likely several years leading up to that so we'll see how this goes. Another international pageant called Miss Grand International is also Thai-owned so we shall see if the owner of that pageant, Nawat Itsaragrisil becomes rivals with Queen Anne but these two have been photographed together so it looks like they are friends and will stay that way. Other major international pageants like Miss World is British owned, Miss International is Japanese owned, Miss Earth is Filipino owned, Miss Supranational is Polish owned and Miss Intercontinental is German owned but started in Aruba which has crowned several Miss Universe contestants as winners including the most notable being India's Lara Dutta who won Miss Intercontinental 1997 prior to winning Miss Universe 2000. All these changes are just the tip of the iceberg so we shall see what other surprises Queen Khun Anne has for us.

The unveiling of the new Mouawad Miss Universe crown. Pictured left to right are: Canada's Natalie Glebova-Miss Universe 2005, Fred Mouawad, Anne Jakrajutatip, Thailand's Apasra Hongsakula-Miss Universe 1965



I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham
I Do Not Like Them, Anna Sueangam-iam



ThailandThailandI'd love to see Dr. Seuss' interpretation of Anna's story because what a story she has! Thailand is being represented by Anna Sueangam-iam which means Beautiful Tiger and of course, Thailand is also the land of the new owner, Anne Jakrajutatip, causing some to speculate that a win for Thailand may be in the cards for the near future. Could it be this year? Anna's compelling story is that she was born and raised in a slum in Bangkok with her father. To try to protect her from this kind of undesirable environment, Anna's family sent her to a temple where she grew up among Buddhist nuns where her meals consisted of leftover food from the monks which most people would consider waste. However, it helped her to grow up and survive childhood life. At an early age, poverty differentiated her life at school from other children, especially the cost of tuition. In order to cover her tuition fees, she had to collect merit points, donate blood every semester, collect plastic waste bottles, and clean public restrooms. This experience made her question the accessibility Thai children had to education. Through overcoming a difficult childhood, Anna felt empowered to represent all the children from underprivileged backgrounds and make their voices heard. Like Kenya Moore said at Miss USA 1993 prior to winning her title, 'A woman has a strong voice and it should be HEARD!' Anna uses her bigger voice to collaborate with many nonprofit organizations in order to provide children with access to educational systems. She has conducted the “Do it, Earn it” campaign, supports the project No Mixed Waste, participates in a Saturday school project, and works with Smile Train Thailand. All of this sounds very in-step with the IMG direction of Miss Universe so will this style carry over into Khun Anne's ownership? I think so. Unfortunately, Anna's story has prompted some online slurs being projected and some dare to even call her Miss Garbage due to her being raised in a slum so maybe she actually has tried green eggs and ham?? Nah... Anna is one of this year's top contenders but I know her fluency in English isn't the best but that may not matter this year with the new ownership but at the same time, already crowning Thailand as Miss Universe might not look good on the new owner but a top 5 placement is likely as has often been the case for Thailand in recent years but their next win may come soon. The golden kingdom has won the Miss Universe crown twice thanks to Apasra Hongsakula in 1965 and Porntip (Bui) Nakhirunkanok-Simon in 1988. Will Queen Khun Anne have her first Miss Universe with her country's own Queen Anna??




Karma Colombian


ColombiaNatalie Ackermann, Fernanda Aristizabal, Valeria AyosYou come and go. You come and go. And boy, did she come and go! Colombia's Maria Fernanda Aristizabal is a heavy favorite to win the Miss Universe crown but she originally would have competed for the 2020 Miss Universe crown when she won the original Miss Colombia crown that (back then) sent their titleholders to compete for Miss Universe but the franchise for 2020 was given to former Miss Germany Universe 2006, Natalie Ackermann Montealegre and she held a separate Miss Universe Colombia pageant for 2020 which is why we saw Laura Olascuaga compete for Miss Universe 2020 instead of Fernanda but even though Laura did place among the top 21 for 2020, much disappointment was expressed not only amongst Colombians but internationally that Fernanda was not given the chance to compete for Miss Universe which was likely why she competed for the original Miss Colombia title in the first place. Then another Colombian, Valeria Ayos competed for Miss Universe 2021 and placed in the top 5 replicating a similar placement since Valeria also placed third at the Miss Earth 2018 pageant. But for 2022, it was Fernanda's time so Natalie Ackermann held a press conference curiously inviting Valeria's runner-up, Risaralda's Maria Alejandra López as well causing some suspicion as to who would actually be representing Colombia for Miss Universe 2022 but as many suspected Fernanda was announced as the one appointed to represent Colombia for Miss Universe 2022 which may have been disheartening for Maria Alejandra López but Fernanda was given her rightful opportunity to compete for the Miss Universe title after all and karma worked out in Fernanda's favor and this chameleon went from non-participant to major Miss Universe crown contender and many people including myself believe Fernanda could take it all. My friend Hernan points out another pattern favoring Fernanda in that this is a leap year with the 2022 pageant being held in January 2023 similarly to the 2014 pageant being held in January 2015 where another Colombian, Paulina Vega won the Miss Universe crown and Paulina was also crowned with a new crown (the DIC crown used from 2014 to 2016) which also contained a blue stone in the center of the crown similarly to the new Mouawad Miss Universe crown. The pageant is also being held in the south of the USA like Paulina's year in Miami/Doral, Florida and this year is in New Orleans, Louisiana so do these patterns further indicate that Fernanda is the one?? Will Fernanda's good karma with all the cards aligning cause this Colombian to become like a chameleon that changed from out of contention to possibly become the new Miss Universe?? Recent years have favored countries capturing their third Miss Universe crowns which India did in 2021, Mexico in 2020 and South Africa in 2019 so is Colombia next?? The land of passions and emeralds and the world's finest coffee land has claimed the Miss Universe crown twice thanks to Luz Marina Zuluaga in 1958 and Paulina Vega for 2014 so is it Fernanda's time?



Don't Blame This Sleeping Satellite...For Country-Hopping

Puerto Rico's National CostumeI blame you for the moonlit sky... If Puerto Rico's Ashley Ann Cariño Barreto looks familiar, you're right! Ashley was Miss Florida USA 2021 and placed as 2nd runner up to Miss USA 2021, Elle Smith of Kentucky but she had a plan B and country-hopped to the territory of Puerto Rico and won that title and is taking that route to get to the Miss Universe stage. Of course, country-hopping is nothing new. Numerous Miss Universe delegates have done this and taken advantage of their dual citizenship or heritage to compete at Miss Universe representing another country. Ashley was likely inspired to do this by Madison Anderson who was originally first runner-up to Miss Florida USA 2019 and didn't make it to the Miss USA stage but Madison's mother is Puerto Rican so she hopped and competed for the 2019 Puerto Rican crown and won and ended up finishing up as 1st runner-up to Miss Universe 2019, Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa even defeating Miss USA who placed in the top 10. Some other famous country-hopping examples include Miss Universe 1988, Porntip Nakhirunkanok who won the Miss Thailand 1988 title to get to Miss Universe but wasn't able to win a title in California to get to the Miss USA stage and confessed during her interview with Alan Thicke during the 1988 Miss Universe pageant that she did grow up in Los Angeles when her family immigrated there after Porntip was born and Porntip was likely inspired by Savinee Prakaranang-Miss Thailand 1984 who made the top 10 for Miss Universe 1984 and later was 1st runner-up at Mrs. World 1989 and Savinee also mentioned living in Los Angeles during her interview with Bob Barker. Miss Yugoslavia 1991, Natasha Pavlovic also made the semifinals at Miss California USA 1990 representing Beverly Hills before showing up at Miss Universe 1991 representing Yugoslavia and making the top 10 at Miss Universe 1991 where Dick Clark outed her as a UCLA graduate during her interview with him. Just last year in 2021, Panama's Brenda Smith-Lezama placed among the semifinalists and she was also Miss Missouri Teen USA 2013 and won the online vote to place at Miss Teen USA 2013. Even Brittany Bell who was Miss Arizona USA 2010 but went unplaced at Miss USA 2010 (even though she was 4th place in my predictions list for Miss USA 2010) would go on to represent Guam at Miss Universe 2014 also going unplaced there but later would mother some of Nick Cannon's multiple children and Nick was even a judge at Miss Teen USA 2002. Okay, you get it. Country-hopping is a thing and a lot of women will go to great lengths to get on the Miss Universe stage and sometimes it pays off big and sometimes it doesn't but hey, go big or go home, right? Even if that isn't really your home... Some also are a bit uneasy about the whole country-hopping thing seeing it as taking opportunities away from contestants that may not be as privileged. Now, back to Ashley. Puerto RicoI based the headline for this article on Tasmin Archer's one-hit wonder 'Sleeping Satellite' because Ashley's national costume is a satellite dish that actually projects brief notable Puerto Rican video images including the reactions of the five Puerto Rican Miss Universe winners. This reminded me that many years ago, I once envisioned a Miss Universe contestant wearing a gown that projected Miss Universe winning moments and these would play on the gown itself as she walked down the runway but now I realize that a gown like that would be too distracting for competition since you would be looking at the gown and not the girl and as I remember Julie Moran and Ali Landry commentating during the evening gown competition of Miss Universe 1998, 'Don't distract.' 'Not at all.' Amazing how those 90s pageants just stick in your brain, no? This is a cool costume and we'll see if it gets Ashley the best national costume award as 2022 is actually the 50 year anniversary of the Miss Universe pageant being broadcast for countries off the mainland of the U.S. and Puerto Rico was the first to host both the 1972 Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants via satellite. Miss Universe 1952 to 1959 were held in Long Beach, California and Miss Universe 1960 to 1971 were held in Miami Beach, Florida. It was this advancement in television history that led to the Miss Universe pageant being held in different locations around the world so after Puerto Rico in 1972, then it was Greece in 1973, Philippines in 1974, El Salvador in 1975, Hong Kong in 1976, Dominican Republic in 1977, Mexico in 1978, Australia in 1979, Korea in 1980 before the return to mainland USA in New York for 1981. We have come a long way in terms of technological advances in media since those early days to the present where we have an excessive amount of content. I'd also like to point out a few coincidences of the Miss Universe pageants of the 70s. Did you notice that a caption saying 'Via Satellite' would appear when the future winners of those pageants appeared? i.e. when eventual winner Spain's Amparo Munoz did her introduction during Miss Universe 1974, the caption 'Via Satellite' showed on screen and this also happened when Finland's Anne Marie Pohtamo appeared in the special swimsuit segment during Miss Universe 1975. Hmmm...it's almost as if they knew or perhaps this was the captioner's way of foreshadowing? Anyway, as mentioned earlier, Puerto Rico has captured the Miss Universe crown five times thanks to Marisol Malaret in 1970, Deborah Carthy-Deu in 1985, Dayanara Torres in 1993, Denise Quinones in 2001 and Zuleyka Rivera in 2006. My friend Hernan points out a few patterns that support a Puerto Rican win this year. There was an 8-year chain between the Puerto Rican wins of 1985, 1993 and 2001 but instead of 2009 being the next year for Puerto Rico, they turned the 9 upside down and gave them the win for 2006 so does the pattern shift to add 8+8 to 2006 so after adding 16 becomes 2022 so is the 2022 crown for Puerto Rico? Also, Indian Miss Universe wins have previously been surrounded by a Puerto Rican Miss Universe win, i.e. Puerto Rico won in 1993 and crowned India in 1994, then India won in 2000 and crowned Puerto Rico in 2001 so are we about to see repeat since India won in 2021 to crown Puerto Rico for 2022?? Hernan also mentioned that double-digit years tend to help dusky-skinned winners like the winners of 1999 from Botswana, 2011 from Angola and 1977 from Trinidad & Tobago so 2022 could be a year favoring a duskier-skinned candidate like Ashley but double-digit years also helped winners from Sweden since they won 1955 and 1966. My friend Wassim points out another correlation supporting a Puerto Rican win relating to the Philippines' placements 7 years prior. In 2011, Philippines placed top 5 and in 2018, Puerto Rico also placed top 5. In 2012, Philippines was 1st runner up then in 2019, Puerto Rico was also 1st runner up. In 2013, Philippines made top 5 but in 2020, Puerto Rico made top 10 (but both made top 10). In 2014, Philippines made top 10 then in 2021, Puerto Rico also made top 10. Finally, in 2015, Philippines won so does this mean that 7 years later in 2022 that Puerto Rico wins?? So now let's talk about Ashley and her qualifications, shall we?? It's fitting for Ashley to be competing for Miss Universe since she loves the TV show 'Star Trek' and she actually aspires to go into outer space. She is completing a degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Central Florida aiming to specialize in the field of rocket propulsion and has been hoping to work for NASA since childhood. Ashley is the eldest of five siblings and has spent the last five years working with young people that have mental health diagnoses to develop their creative skills via STEM initiatives. Will Ashley capture a sixth Miss Universe crown for the shining star of the Caribbean and could she even be the first Miss Universe to actually travel the Universe?? "And when we shoot for the stars. What a giant step. Have we got what it takes to carry the weight of this concept?"



Written in the Stars...of 2018

PanamaThe year 2018 seems to be well represented for the 2022 Miss Universe pageant as we have quite a few crossovers from other international pageants competing. The first of whom we will discuss is Panama's Solaris De La Luna Barba Cañizales. Doesn't Solaris De La Luna sound like a name fitting for a Miss Universe?? It's very intergalactic so perhaps her parents naming her this was prophetic and she could be destined for the Miss Universe crown. Solaris previously competed for the 2018 Miss World crown in China which was won by Mexico's Vanessa Ponce. Solaris placed as one of the top 12 semifinalists at Miss World 2018 and was awarded the title of Miss World Americas 2018, which meant that she was the highest ranking delegate from the Americas apart from the winner from Mexico and this is the highest placement achieved by Panama at Miss World so far. Recent years have been kind to Miss World crossovers including recent winners, Miss Universe 2020-Mexico's Andrea Meza who was 1st runner up at Miss World 2017 and Miss Universe 2018-Philippines' Catriona Gray who placed in the top 5 of Miss World 2016 so is a win for Panama's Solaris written in the stars?? Panama inherited their only Miss Universe crown in 2002 when Oxana Federova was dethroned and her runner-up Justine Pasek took over the title so is it time for the tropical isthmus of Panama to win the Miss Universe title outright? Solaris studies psychology and is passionate about dance and fine arts. She works as a TV presenter for a show celebrating Panamanian traditions and customs and is involved with various organizations like the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Smile Train Latin America Foundation and S.O.S. Albinos Panama Foundation. She even runs a burger business with her sisters!
PortugalPhilippinesThe next crossover from 2018 is the Philippines' Celeste Cortesi who represented her country at Miss Earth 2018 placing in the top 8 that year. Celeste was born to a Filipino mother, Maria Luisa Rabimbi, and an Italian father from Venezuela after her parents met at an Italian restaurant in Manila which her father owned and her mother worked. Shortly after Celeste was born in the Philippines, the family moved to Parma, Italy and her father passed away when she was young causing her mother to have to raise Celeste and her older sister on her own. Initially, Celeste only spoke Italian but learned English and Tagalog and she was inspired to pursue pageantry upon witnessing the win of Miss Universe 2015-Philippines' Pia Wurtzbach. Celeste is currently pursuing her real estate license in the Philippines. My concern about Celeste is the numerous tattoos she has which tend to be frowned upon but last year's Filipina representative, Beatrice Luigi Gomez also sported tattoos and she ended up placing in the top 5 for Miss Universe 2021 so we will see if more successful tatted-up queens become a thing in future pageants. Of course, the pearl of the Orient seas has captured the Miss Universe crown four times thanks to Gloria Diaz in 1969, Margarita Moran in 1973, Pia Wurtzbach in 2015 and Catriona Gray in 2018. But Celeste isn't the only 2022 Miss Universe contestant to place in the top 8 at Miss Earth 2018, Portugal's Telma Madeira is very engaged in helping people with mental health issues as she herself was a victim of bullying. She actively creates awareness of medical malpractices regarding women’s reproductive rights. She also uses her platform as Miss Universe Portugal to promote better protection of the environment. She also cooks and serves her local fishermen after long hours of hard work and she also studies dental customer service. The land of explorers only placed for the first time in 2011 thanks to Laura Goncalves (a Venezuelan country-hopper who used her Portuguese roots to represent Portugal and won the online vote for Miss Universe 2011 finishing in the top 10 that year) and they placed again in 2019 among the top 20 thanks to Sylvie Silva but Portugal's luck at Miss Universe has not been good overall but with their recent success, we shall see if Telma with her high-placing experience can help turn that around. Speaking of the class of Miss Earth 2018 being well represented at Miss Universe, that year's 2nd runner up was Colombia's Valeria Ayos who also placed in the top 5 of Miss Universe 2021 and there's another one coming next year for 2023 already!! But we'll talk about her a little later...



Nola in Nola

USAUSACall it a coincidence that Miss USA, R'Bonney Gabriel's middle name is Nola and the abbreviation of this year's Miss Universe pageant, New Orleans, Louisiana is also Nola?? Is this destiny in the making and should we just crown R'Bonney as the new Miss Universe now?? R'Bonney is the first woman of Filipina descent and even Asian descent to win the Miss Texas USA and Miss USA titles and even Texas' representative for Miss America, Averie Bishop is also of Filipina descent (on her mother's side) and she finished as 2nd runner up at Miss America 2023 but we came very close to having both Miss USA and Miss America being Filipina Texans. R'Bonney is youngest of four children (the first girl after three boys) born to Filipino father, Remigio Bonzon (R.Bon) Gabriel and American Caucasian mother, Dana Walker. Yes, you would be correct that R'Bonney's name is a variation of her father's name. R'Bonney is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a Bachelor's degree in fashion design with a minor in fibers. She now works as a designer creating eco-friendly clothing and has her own line under her name RBonneyNola. Environmentally conscious clothing does seem to be in step with Miss Universe's direction. R'Bonney is the 10th woman to represent Texas to win the Miss USA title and this win further cemented their place at the top of the list of Who Has the Most Miss USAs just above California which boasts 6 Miss USA winners. The USA has always dominated the list of Who Has the Most Miss Universes currently leading the list with eight winners crowned in the years of 1954, 1956, 1960, 1967, 1980, 1995, 1997 and 2012 and the most placements in history which should come as no surprise with Miss Universe being American-owned for so many years but now that it is Thai-owned, we will see if there is a shift in how Miss USA places compared to Thailand's representative. However, R'Bonney's Miss USA win was surrounded by controversy when the contestants and other people involved felt like the cards were stacked in her favor and this led to some contestants feeling like they didn't have a fair chance to win Miss USA and then there was an onslaught of online posts which led to the Miss Universe Organization stepping in. The Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants were under the Miss Universe Organization's umbrella since inception but the 2021 and 2022 pageants branched off and were directed by Miss USA 2008-Texas' Crystle Stewart under her Miss Brand but as mentioned earlier, there were problems with her husband and his name was not shown on the credits for Miss USA 2022 but it was for Miss USA 2021. The Miss Universe Organization took back Miss USA and Miss Teen USA and said an investigation would be conducted. R'Bonney's selection as Miss USA was found to be ethical and she will compete for the Miss Universe crown representing the USA.



InVENstigation

The top 5 of Miss Venezuela 2022 for Miss Universe 2023Speaking of investigations, the recently concluded Miss Venezuela competition to select their delegate for 2023 (not 2022) was also fraught with controversy. That winner, Diana Silva, also happened to place in the top 8 of Miss Earth 2018 if you can believe it. However, after the pageant concluded, some of the judges from the panel also started posting on social media that they actually chose the representative of La Guaira, Andrea Romero who ended up finishing in 4th place to win the Miss Venezuela crown with Delta Amacuro's Daniela Malavé who finished in 3rd place as her runner-up. One of the judges was Miss Venezuela 1975, Maritza Pineda who went unplaced at Miss Universe 1975 and Maritza posted on social media shortly after the pageant expressing her anger and frustration with the results and that the rest of the panel of judges actually chose La Guaira to win Miss Venezuela. Venezuela's Diana Silva will compete for Miss Universe 2023Maritza recounted that before the coronation act, she left the Poliedro de Caracas to avoid traffic and ran into another finals judge, Ángel Sánchez. Both then met with the general manager of Miss Venezuela, Nina Sicilia, and asked her what had happened. Maritza said Nina told them that there is another jury apart from them made up of 20 people from the Miss Venezuela Organization watching the contestants behind the scenes. Maritza said she was told that supposedly this other jury consists of the beauty committee, artists, make-up artists, designers, etc. but then Maritza said if they had a jury already selected, why put another jury in front of the screen? She said they should just make the selection and send the girl they want and don't make the show jury waste time as she felt it seemed disrespectful. Of course, this kind of judging is nothing new in pageantry. Many contracts that contestants sign have clauses that allow this kind of behind the scenes judging to occur and often when a favorite doesn't place, it's often due to this reason. The Miss Venezuela Organization headed by Miss Universe 2013-Venezuela's Gabriela Isler took over directorship of Miss Venezuela in 2018 (there's that year again!) from Osmel Sousa, who had been directing it for decades. Osmel was supposed to retire but he then started directing Argentina and Uruguay. While watching Miss Venezuela, I actually thought Diana Silva was the right choice based on overall appearance and on-stage carriage and presence whereas La Guaira's representative had a bit of an awkward walk. I think the Miss Venezuela Organization members knew this and went ahead and chose her anyway despite what the show's judges thought. We might even recall a similar incident for Miss USA 2012 when Pennsylvania's representative said Florida's representative saw a list of the predetermined top 5 but Florida's representative denied it and needless to say, things got ugly for Pennsylvania's representative. However, the winner of Miss USA 2012, Olivia Culpo went on to win Miss Universe 2012 so is the same thing about to happen to Diana Silva for Miss Universe 2023?? We've got about a year to find out! But will this affect Venezuela's current representative for Miss Universe 2022, Amanda Dudamel? Most people seem to think not and Amanda is considered a frontrunner for the Miss Universe crown and could take it all. Amanda has been showing the Miss Universe Organization that she is job-ready by conducting numerous interviews on social media with her fellow titleholders and former Miss Universe winners also and those efforts could pay off big! Amanda was born in Mérida, Venezuela and is the daughter of former Venezuelan soccer player Rafael Dudamel and Nahir Newman Torres, a Venezuelan real estate agent. Having travelled the world due to her parents' work during her childhood and adolescence, she learned to speak English. Amanda studied fashion design in Rome, Italy, where she lived for several years and she also learned to speak Italian. Like the USA's representative, Amanda is the owner and executive director of her own clothing brand "By Amanda Dudamel" and co-founder of the brand "Reborn the Brand." Venezuela has captured the Miss Universe crown seven times in the years of 1979, 1981, 1986, 1996, 2008, 2009 and 2013 so is the gateway of South America about to capture an eighth Miss Universe crown with Amanda??




Bullyvia

Fernanda Pavisic Camila SanabriaOkay, did we learn nothing from what happened to Russia's Alina Sanko in 2020?? Bolivia (or should we say Bullyvia)'s original candidate for Miss Universe, Maria Fernanda Pavisic Rojas was dethroned and apparently had to return the Bolivian crown and the prizes she received after posting a video on her social media where she made comments that were deemed racist and discriminatory against other Miss Universe contestants when scrolling through their pictures on the contestants section of the official Miss Universe website. This naturally led to a backlash of her online followers accusing Fernanda of bullying and calling for her title to be removed. Fernanda's picture was originally posted to the Miss Universe website in November only to replaced by her runner-up after Promociones Gloria, which organizes beauty pageants in Bolivia, communicated in a letter to Fernanda the reasons she would no longer hold the title of Miss Bolivia 2022 due to not complying with the clauses referring to the behavior of beauty queens and publicly issuing inappropriate statements and expressions about their fellow candidates for Miss Universe which diminishes the good credit of the title and the organization. Fernanda thought the decision was unfair and claimed she never made a comment, nor a racist or discriminatory statement against anyone. She claimed that her comments were actually a social experiment on the effects of bullying but nobody really bought that defense. Some believe that Peru's delegate Alessia Rovegno was one of the targets of the negative comments but Alessia herself commented that she didn't believe that she was one of the targets and that she said she was not directly mentioned in Fernanda's comments and it was all a misunderstanding and Peru's national director, Jessica Newton-Miss Peru 1987 and top 10 semifinalist at Miss Universe 1987 also denied that Alessia was mentioned. After she was dethroned, Fernanda's runner-up was then appointed and María Camila Sanabria Pereyra, who placed second in the Miss Bolivia pageant is now representing Bolivia at Miss Universe. Of course, a similar incident plagued Russia's 2020 delegate, Alina Sanko who also posted a video on social media of her commenting on her fellow Miss Universe contestants making negative comments about some of their headshots particularly targeting Canada's Nova Stevens. However, Alina was still allowed to compete for the Miss Universe title but did not place as many people including myself expected would happen so this should be a lesson for all future participants to not make catty comments about fellow contestants and posting them on social media. Bolivia has never won the Miss Universe crown but their best placement was in 1990 when Rosario Rico Toro made the top 6 at Miss Universe 1990. There have been past instances where a national runner-up ended up doing very well at Miss Universe such as in 1976 when Venezuela's Judith Josefina Castillo Uribe who was not Venezuela's original winner but a runner-up when Elluz Peraza gave up her Venezuelan title but Judith ended up finishing as 1st runner up at Miss Universe 1976! Also, Philippines' Miriam Quiambao was also originally a runner-up but when Janelle Bautista was dethroned for not having Philippines citizenship but Canadian citizenship that Miriam was given the chance to compete for Miss Universe 1999 and she also was 1st runner up at Miss Universe 1999! Is a similar fate in store for the new Bolivian representative, Camila? Well, Camila is accomplished as she has a degree in business administration and a master's degree in marketing and business management. She has a nephew with autism and is passionate about helping children with this condition as they often have problems with social communication and interaction, and restrictive or repetitive behaviors or interests. She wants to be part of the socialization process for these children and her nephew. Camila is actually quite stunning but Bolivians tend to not have the body for this competition so they don't have a great track record but we shall see if Camila can turn this around for her nation.



The African Queen
Coming 2022 America


AngolaSouth AfricaKing Akeem of Zamunda surely would love to see some of these African Queens take the title of Miss Universe as they come to America to compete for the crown. One of the African contenders includes Angola's Swelia Da Silva Antonio who has such a pleasant face with those glowing eyes and beaming smile and she is pictured here in her national costume looking like a true African queen. Swelia is also quite accomplished as she became the first in her family to graduate with a Master of Science degree in a third language and Swelia runs Better Tomorrow Africa as a co-founder. This association works to improve the living standards of people by providing practical tools and education for sustainable and generational benefit. Having suffered bullying and discrimination herself, Swelia became an advocate for justice and equality from a young age and seeks to address issues regarding education, women, and the environment in her country. Swelia even recently made the top 12 at Miss Supranational 2021. Angola has captured the Miss Universe crown once back in 2011 thanks to Leila Lopes who happens to be Angola's national director currently and Leila was among the honored guests featured at the Miss Universe extravaganza gala in Thailand on November 7 and Leila was asked many questions and looked fabulous but Angola hasn't placed since Leila's win even though they placed three times prior to Leila's win (2007, 2004 and for the first time in 2003) so is it time for Angola to make a comeback and will lovely Swelia be the one to do it? Of course, one African nation has dominated Miss Universe in recent years and that would be Mandela's rainbow nation, South Africa who has placed in the top 3 for four of the the last five Miss Universe pageant with two of those placements being wins which is a phenomenal feat and their 2021 titleholder, Lalela Mswane, who placed as 2nd runner up at Miss Universe 2021 would even go on to win Miss Supranational 2022 earlier this year! Their latest bet is Ndavi Nokeri who like her predecessors is very well-spoken, articulate and educated and Ndavi possesses a Bachelor of Commerce Investment Management degree from the University of Pretoria and was working for an asset management firm when she won her national title. Also passionate about advocating for equal educational opportunities for all, Ndavi is devoting her reign raising awareness of this platform. Even prior to earning her title, Ndavi had already worked with various organizations to promote educational equality in South Africa by increasing computer literacy in undeveloped schools and she continues this work with a campaign called Ed-Unite. The gold capital of the universe has captured three Miss Universe crowns thanks to Margaret Gardiner in 1978, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters in 2017 and Zozibini Tunzi in 2019 so is Ndavi already about to capture a fourth Miss Universe crown for South Africa?

And let's not forget this 'beautiful star' Alexandrine Belle-Etoile of Mauritius who has a very strong chance of getting her country's first ever placement at Miss Universe and possibly their first Miss Universe crown! Alexandrine is one stunning young woman with an amazing body who holds a degree in Fine Arts and teaches the Arts and the French language to primary students in a private school in her country. Alexandrine has experience modelling for some of the biggest brands in Mauritius and she has even recently placed in the top 12 of Miss Supranational 2022 and earned the title of Miss Supranational Africa as Africa's highest ranking delegate there so will radiant Alexandrine paint up a win with her artistic skills and capture the Miss Universe crown for the peaceful island of paradise??





So as of December 31, Tom’s tentative top 5 for Miss Universe 2022/23 are:
1. Colombia
2. Puerto Rico
3. Venezuela
4. Thailand
5. Mauritius

Will my top 5 change over the coming weeks or will they stay the same? I will post a second round of prethoughts on January 8 where I will comment on all of the delegates and then after viewing the preliminary swimsuit and gown competitions which are being held on January 11 and can be viewed on the Miss Universe social media channels, my final predictions for Miss Universe 2022/23 will be posted on January 13.



Of course, tell everyone to watch Miss Universe 2022/23! The big night is January 14 at 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on the Roku Channel and Telemundo networks.


 

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Some photos courtesy Miss Universe L.P., LLLP