Surprising victory for Puerto Rico in Miss International 2014
Miss Puerto Rico, 21-year old Valerie Hernandez from Carolina, is the new Miss International! She is the 2nd titleholder from her country in this pageant,the first was Laurie Simpson, winner of 1987.
Miss Colombia, Zuleika Suárez placed 2nd, Miss Thailand, Punika Kulsoontornrut, was 3rd, Miss United Kingdom, Victoria Tooby, 4th and Miss Finland, Milla Romppanen, was 5th.
Argentina, Josefina José Herrero, Brazil, Deise Benicio, Indonesia, Elfin Pertiwi Rappa, Mexico, Vianey Vázquez, and Panama, Aileen Bernal, completed the Top 10.
Special prize winners were Miss Friendship, Colombia, Zuleika Suárez; Miss Internet, India, Jhataleka Malhotra; Best National Costume, Indonesia, Elfin Pertiwi Rappa; Miss Perfect Body, France, Aurianne Sinacola; Miss Best Dresser (whatever they mean by that),
Colombia, Zuleika Suárez.
Puerto Rico’s victory was not predicted by any pageant-related website or blog. She was considered avery long shot before tonight’s show, and her victory became one of the biggest surprises in Grand Slam history. However, the judges chose her, she deserved it, and we congratulate Valerie for winning it!
Quotes and Notes
– Puerto Rico’s Valerie Hernandez placed 2nd on her national contest. When the actual winner, Patricia Quiñones, gave up the crown for “personal reasons”, Valerie took the challenge over and traveled to Japan. Now her life has changed forever!
– The winner is a ballet dancer from Carolina, 21 years old, 1.77 m-tall. She resides in the city of Toa Baja.
– The new Miss International competed in Miss Teen International a few years ago and won the title. She is described and being very polite and calm, qualities the Japanese truly appreciate in a beauty queen, which could explain her very surprising victory.
– She’s the third black woman to win the title, after Jeymmy Vargas of Colombia in 2004 and Elizabeth Mosquera of Venezuela in 2010. Accused of being racist by the specialized press, Miss International gave 1st and 2nd place spots to black women, both Latins.
– Maybe the pageant’s problem is with black women from Africa and English-speaking countries. Guyana and Gabon did not place and this year only Gabon and Zambia sent representatives from Africa. It could get worse in the future, as they are virtually ignored by the Japanese organization.
– On a positive note, countries with ‘sash power’, such as Venezuela, Philippines, Japan, Korea and Spain, did not place, regardless of the nations they were representing. Among those who deserved to place, but were left out, were the representatives of India, Guyana, Netherlands and Peru. Venezuela and Philippines could go both ways, as we said earlier.
– Puerto Rico and Panama were the big surprises in the Top 10, and Puerto Rico ended up winning the title.
– Production was very low-budget and the pageant was slow and long (over 3 hours!). After all 73 women paraded in national costumes, swimsuits and gowns, the semi-finalists were announced and went on to give their tradition speeches. Stage was very poor. The most positive aspect of Miss International is the amazing cultural experience the candidates have in the weeks before the final.