Miss International 2016: Philippines wins in a year full of surprises

None of the 5 heavy favorites made it to the Top 5 of Miss International 2016 in a year full of surprises. In the end, it was Miss Philippines, Kylie Verzosa, who conquered the 6th Miss International and 11th Grand Slam title for her country. She is 24 years old and 1.75 m-tall.

In her speech after the announcement of the top 15 semi-finalists, Verzosa said that should she win the title, she would focus on cultural and international understanding.

“If I become Miss International 2016, I will devote myself to cultural understanding and international understanding because I believe that it is in developing in each of us sensitivity to other cultures that we expand our horizons, tolerate difference and appreciate diversity,” she said.

Alexandra Britton of Australia was the 1st runner-up, putting Australia back in the finals of Miss International after over 2 decades. 2nd runner-up was Indonesia, Felicia Hwang, one of the most beautiful faces in the competition. Remember that the day before Indonesia won the Miss Grand International title in what can already be called a “dream year” for Indonesian pageant fans and organizers. The 3rd runner-up was perhaps the biggest surprise of the night, Nicaragua´s Brianny Chamorro, who charmed the judges with her amazing charisma. The USA repeated last year´s position with Kaityrana Leinbach, 4th runner-up.

The runner-ups from 2015 crowned their successors (only Miss Honduras, 2nd place last year, did not go to Japan).

In the event held at the Tokyo Dome City Hall, in Tokyo, Japan, the top 15 semi-finalists were: Argentina – Yoana Don, Canada – Amber Bernachi, Dominican Republic – Cynthia Núñez, El Salvador – Elizabeth Cader, Finland – Emilia Seppänen, Japan – Junna Yamagata, Mexico – Geraldine Ponce, Poland – Magdalena Bieńkowska, Russia – Alisa Manenok, and Thailand – Pattiya Pongthai.

It was shocking to see Poland and Mexico out of the Top 5, and favorites from Venezuela and New Zealand not even reaching the semi-finals.

The continental queens, voted by the candidates withing their own continents, were: Sierra Leone – Maseray Swarray (Africa), Ecuador – Ivanna Abad (Americas), Hong Kong – Kelly Chan (Asia), Netherlands – Melissa Scherpen (Europe), and Hawaii – Guinevere Davenport (Oceania).

Special awards went to Nicaragua – Brianny Chamorro (Best National Costume), Indonesia – Felicia Hwang (Best Dresser), and Moldova – Alina Chirciu (Miss Perfect Body).

The show followed its traditional format and lasted for over 3 hours. Instead of 10 semi-finalists, as in past years, this year there were 15. The pre-pageant activities were highly appreciated by the candidates, who got a chance to truly experience Japan and its rich culture. Coverage of the contest was very poor when compared to last year´s event.

The new Miss International was born in Baguio City, Philippines. She graduated from Ateneo de Manila University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and works as a pre-school teacher. She is a teacher and an advocate for depression and suicide awareness.

With her victory, the Asian continent has now 2 Grand Slam winners in 2016. Next stop will be Miss Supranational, to be held in Poland and Slovakia, with the final event taking place on December 2nd.

Congratulations to the winner! We wish her a great year of reign!