Miss Grand International 2017: Cảm ơn, Vietnam!
Taking part in a major pageant like Miss Grand International is an incredible opportunity and unforgettable experience for the young women who were lucky enough to make it that far. Yet the conclusion of a three week long international pageant usually comes with mixed emotions. Only one girl can win the competition and the rest will return to their normal lives. For some, it would have ended in a more disappointing way than for others who would be able to celebrate their achievements. Following the crowning of the winner, the exhaustion usually sinks in for the girls and it comes with a bit of sadness as it is time to say good bye to new friends who they might not see for a long time, if ever.
What happened after the crowning of Miss Peru as Miss Grand International? What was the mood like and how did the girls feel about the results? Global Beauties was there to witness it all firsthand:
* Miss Peru confirmed her favouritism and took home the crown, as expected. She delivered a flawless performance during the preliminaries and the final. Maria Jose Lora is Peru's first Grand Slam winner since 2004 and their fourth in total. They now have two Miss World titles (1967, 2004), a Miss Universe (1957) and a Miss Grand International title.
* Peru's victory was expected by most of the girls and they described the results as fair. Everyone thought it was a well deserved win as she has obviously worked hard to do well. She is a phenomenal woman who has achieved success in life. She is a businesswoman with her own modelling agency in Los Angeles.
* The new Miss Grand International title holder seems to be a very popular choice with the formers who are already very fond of her. They described her as 'super cool' and they are very happy with the result. Maria Jose is extremely proud of her victory and she can't wait to start working with the organization. Mr. Nawat has planned at least 10 countries for her to visit, including a South American tour.
* While the other contestants returned home, Miss Grand International 2017 stayed behind in Phu Quoc with Ms. Teresa Chaivisut. They were going to visit sponsors before returning to Quang Binh Province and from there they will go to Bangkok where she will be based for the next year. Lora lives in California and she will probably return home for the first time around Christmas.
* Miss Venezuela, Tulia Aleman, was also very happy with her result. It is a pity that she didn't speak English at all but we doubt that it would have made a difference as Peru seemed unstoppable.
* Despite the fact that Miss Philippines, Elizabeth Clenci Durado, and Miss Puerto Rico, Brenda Jimenez, were surprise inclusions in the top 5, we do feel that they were lovely surprises as both performed exceptionally well on stage and spoke well. Jimenez, of course, represented Puerto Rico at Miss Universe 2016 in the Philippines but she did not advance to the top 13 at that pageant. Her boyfriend attended the event and he is none other than Mr World Puerto Rico 2016 and the runner-up to Mister World 2016, Fernando Alvarez.
* Miss Czech Republic, Nikola Uhliova, stumbled a bit while answering her final question but we must bear in mind that at 19 she was the youngest of the top 5. She is an incredibly bubbly and sweet young woman. She was super proud of her achievement and the day after the contest she was all smiles showing her sash and trophy to everyone. Her boyfriend, Tomáš Martinka, won Mister Global in 2016.
* Miss Brazil, Caroline Venturini, was delighted with her top 20 placement. After the event, she said that her only regret was not being able to do her top 10 speech. She was going to bring attention to the terror attack that happened recently in Somalia and the fact that it was virtually ignored by the world's media.
* Miss India, Anukriti Gussain, is another contestant who was quite sad that she she didn't advance further in the competition. She would have loved to have been given the opportunity to do her speech and believes that she would have advanced much further in the competition if she got the chance to do this speech.
* Miss Belgium, Rachel Nimegeers, was devastated when her name was not called out during the top 20 cut. She gave this her all and thought she had nailed it. We heard that she also gave a good interview, so her exclusion from the top 20 was our biggest shock of the night, too. Though she was really sad, she said she loved the experience and as she is only 21, she promised not give up, so we will see her at other pageants in the future. Keep on going, Rachel. We believe in you! Your time will come!
* Miss Vietnam, Nguyễn Huyền My, was visibly upset about the fact that she didn't make the top 5. She really wanted to do her country proud and cried because she felt she had not done well enough. Her national director and all the Vietnamese people we spoke to her felt super proud of her. She was extremely graceful and gracious throughout the contest and we thought she did an excellent job as host contestant.
* Miss South Sudan, Eyga Mojus, revealed to us that she was happy with her placement but that she also felt disappointed as she wanted to make it to the top 5.
* Miss Fiji, Nadine Roberts, described the experience as 'amazing' and was satisfied with her performance in the competition. Naturally, she wanted to make history by becoming Fiji's first Grand Slam finalist and although it didn't happen for her this time, she had no complaints about the pageant. She hopes to put Fiji on the map and perhaps we will see her in another Grand Slam pageant soon. (Wink, wink - keep watching this space!)
* The general feeling was that the class of 2017 got on really well. It is very rare to find a group where everyone got on so well. Most of the girls were extremely friendly and there was no animosity, conspiracy theories and very little gossiping. Since the girls really enjoyed their time in Vietnam, we saw a lot of them crying as they said good bye to the staff. It was wonderful to have been part of a pageant, which was so enjoyable that the girls wished they could have stayed longer instead of being excited to have it over and done with.
* Miss Estonia, Susanna Lehtsalu, was teary when we bumped into her. She told us that she was feeling sad because she didn't know if she would see the staff and girls again and that was hard for her because everyone was so wonderful.
* One thing that we really want to mention is that we feel that Miss Grand International 2016, Ariska Putri Pertiwi, was an exceptional queen. From the moment we met her until we said good bye at the airport, she remained the same sweet, adorable girl and she was like that to everyone. She is the kind of woman people would want as a best friend, sister or daughter. Her speech was moving and very real. Having had the opportunity to get to know her, we knew that she meant every word that she said on stage. We feel that she will be missed as Miss Grand International but we know that she will be a very successful doctor.
* A host country for the 2018 edition of Miss Grand International has already been found but Mr. Nawat has told us that he will not announce it until all the details have been finalised. We are guessing it might be somewhere in Southeast Asia but we will have to wait and see if we are right.
Miss Grand International was an absolutely incredible experience not only for the contestants who took part in this pageant but also for us here at Global Beauties. Like the contestants, we were extremely happy to be part of an event that was well-produced and well-organised. We are filled with gratitude to have been invited to be part of this event and would like to thank the organizers and staff of Miss Grand International and the people of Vietnam for their kindness and hospitality. Thank you, Miss Grand International! Cảm ơn, Vietnam!
Photos courtesy of Miss Grand International!