What do I say about Miss Grand International! It is Grand. Everything about it is grand, magnificence and outstanding. Thailand as host is simply amazing. It’s so amazing to see those places. So beautiful, vibrant and paradise. The hospitality given to the delegates can be felt through watching the activities and I feel just packing my bags and leave right away for Thailand. Miss Grand is a reminiscent of the Miss Universe and Miss World in the 90’s when it wasn’t just about the competition but also about showing the host country in such a magical way that you really wanna go there and Thailand is definitely in my bucket list ever since watching Miss Grand.
The show started with the girls touring the country-side. The portion I like about this was where some delegates were on the boat and the rest on the bridge above welcoming us. Then we were welcome by Lees Garcia, Miss Grand 2015. Loved the haste in the makeup done on her and the other contestants running towards the stage for the show to start in a frenzy and nerve wrecking feeling. That hurried moment definitely matched up to our excitement and nervousness.
The show started on stage with Lees Garcia in a silver dress shining like a broadway star and she joined the delegates of 2015 for an opening number and danced to Fergie’s A Little Never Killed Nobody. The Choreography and the song used were excellent. All the delegates in a red hot dress looked so sexy and eye catching. It was time for introduction round with Angola opening it. Some of the notable delegates and huge crowd favourites in this one were Costa Rica, Dominican Republic who got the loudest cheer, Honduras – the way she shouted Honduras was very animating, India had the crowd cheered for her, Iran was amazingly beautiful, Japan also the crowd favourite was so sweet like honey and I love her short hair(it was a nice change to see among the other girls), Kenya was another black beauty, Macedonia by this time had the entire crowd cheering for her and she didn’t disappoint with her signature style, Netherland looked so much like a Hollywood actress, Philippines – she had such a stage presence, Thailand was the other one besides Dominican Republic who got the loudest cheer, USA looked so looked exceptionally beautiful. Once the introduction of delegates was over, Lees Gracia joined the delegates again and danced to the background tune.
The Top 20 announcement:
Before the announcement of top 20, the video of the national costume competition round was shown and the winner was announced on screen. Philippines who was my favourite to win this round won this contest. She came forward to receive her trophy. She looked red hot and exotic. Later, Lees Garcia joined the host of the night, the handsome – Matthey Deane Chanthavanij, as a co-host to announce the top 20.
India, Poland, USA, Australia, Angola, France, Thailand, Ukraine, Peurto Rico, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Netherland, Philippines, Spain, Mexico and Japan made it to the top 20.
Then, the judges were introduced. They were Janelee Chaparro, first Miss Grand International, 2013, Siripen Pansritum – Managing Director of Kamol Hospital, Kim Steppe -Blue Elephant Director, Teresa Chaivisut – Vice President of MGI and lastly, Nawat Itsaragirsil – MGI President.
The top 20 were called out in alphabetical order this time and they walked on stage to the song Flashlight by Jessie J. Angola started the round, she was all about being sassy in her swimsuit. Next was Australia. I love how she put her right hands behind her head like she was posing for a camera and she came down to walked like she owned the stage. Brazil followed with a move that was so rhythmic to the background music. Costa Rica had a nice walk just like a beauty queen. Czech-Republic walked like a supermodel. Did you see her leg movement? It was more like a model walking a runway. The crowd favourite, Dominican Republic made an entrance, she was definitely enjoying the attention walking so energetically. France looked so serious and more than enjoying the stage it seemed like she was walking for a bikini collection. Another crowd favourite, India was full of confident and loved the way she kept looking at the camera at the same time trying to connect with the audience. She looked stunning. Japan who never was my favourite was the star of the night. She was sweet, beautiful and had such a personality that made her shine like a fairy. Mexico had such a rhythmic walk, the way she moves her hips and slight turning her head after posing was just awesome. Netherland reminds me of a Hollywood star. She has such beautiful face and charming personality but something was lacking in her. Was it her energy? Philippines was so good in everything. From her walked to her smiling face, she has such a persona that you don’t wanna miss. Poland was not really upto the competition. She was a bit slow and it was like she was just there to walk and go backstage. Puerto Rico was all calm and composed. Spain was affectionate to watch and it was good. The dark horse – Sri Lanka created a very lovely moment. While walking in her swimsuit, it was nice to see her holding her hands up to connect with the audience and the love sign she made with her fingers and pointing her hands towards was simply thrilling. I felt like watching a Victoria’s secret models on stage. The host country, Thailand walked with such an energy that she was all animated and a joy to watch. The model, actress and host – Ukraine pose was worth mentioning. The slight up and down movement while posing was cute. USA reminded me of Shandy Finnessey. Venezuela was much better than her prelims and she seems to copy Dayana Mendoza style.
A video of Best in Swimsuit was shown and the winner was surprisingly Costa Rica.
The Top 10:
Miss Sri Lanka was awarded Miss Popular award – an online voting who directly penetrated into the top 10 and the first one to be called for top 10. Philippines was next, Brazil followed, Thailand was next, Japan, Spain, Costa Rica, India, Dominican Republic and Australia filled the top 10. I love the way Australia lifted her hands. That was very interesting and good way to connect with the audience.
There was a special performance given by Janelle Chaparro – the first Miss Grand International, dancing to the tune of Beyonce’s I’m a grown woman. I thought the dance was unnecessary and she lack the punch. I prefer Lees’s opening number.
It was time for the top 10 speak about their campaign and give a message to the world. All were dress in white gown to spread the message of peace.
Australia was all emotional while delivering her speech. I could feel her emotions. She talked a girl child, questioned the world what we were fighting for. Was it for money or power? She highlighted the importance of war and stopping the war.
Brazil talked about human being the same, and there wasn’t a need to fight for war. She even sang a song John Lenon’s Imagine to spread the message of love and unity.
Costa Rica spoke in her native language and I didn’t understand a single word and there wasn’t even an interpreter. The whole audience clapped for her. I thought they understood her native language.
Dominican Republic urged for people to recognise the problems and address issues, worked with leaders and listen with one another without going on our own. She also said we need to put our pride behind us and worked together. I thought she spoke like a true leader and was very charismatic.
India spoke about stopping the war and the importance of peace in the world. And the importance of building the World with peace. Very confident while speaking and she definitely gave a powerful message.
Japan’s speech was short. She talked about stopping the war. She also said that the war must not happen again with such a conviction and a powerful punch just like a strong leader.
Philippines reminded every one of their ancestors who had given up their life for them and to give peace a chance.
Spain spoke about people she met who didn’t have a good life and she didn’t like people suffering. She requested everyone to respect one another and give children education
Sri Lanka spoke about her country being a war torn country and being affected by it and living in poverty and fear. She gave a powerful emotion about her life. It was touching indeed.
Thailand said that while we wouldn’t be able to stop war completely, what we could do was to try our best and made it better
After all the girl gave their speech, the outgoing queen, Lees’s journey to a war-torn country was shown to the audience. Once the video was over, Lees came out from frame put on stage and gave a farewell speech. She spoke about giving all her heart out for being crowned as Miss Grand last year for and she needed it back so that she could give it to the new winner. By this time, we could see some people shedding tears to her emotional speech. I do felt for emotions. Nawat came on stage to remove the crown and gave Lees a new crown. Songs used for these part were John Lenon – Imagine and Heal the World.
The Top 10 walked on stage in their evening gown. Australia looked so regal and royal in her silver flowing gown. Brazil walked waving her gown. It was nice. Costa Rica was all calm and cool. Dominican Republic’s gown reminded me of Amelia Vega’s gown in Miss Universe. Here, her gown was altered – colour was changed, the feathers and pearl were missing. Nevertheless, she looked absolutely magnificent. India had such a strong presence in her free straight flow gown. The golden gown matched her skin tone and she was remarkable on stage. Japan in her dark green velvet gown looked so pretty. Philippines was on fire with her red gown. She was like a red hot chilly and was so exotic. Spain did pretty well. Sri Lanka’s gown flowing like a train towards the bottom was fabulous and she was sensational. Thailand’s nude gown with the embroidery on it looked exquisite. She definitely was bouncy in that gown and was breathtaking.
Top 5 announcement followed. India, Australia, Thailand, Dominican Republic and Philippines made it to the top 5. It was sad to see Brazil and Sri Lanka out of the top 5. I thought Sri Lanka deserved to be there. But the top 5 were amazing. It is definitely one the best top 5 in any pageant history. The Top 5 were asked who influenced them the most. The song used constantly used as a background score and when the five finalists walked for the final time in their stunning gowns was Feel The Light by Jenifer Lopez from the movie – Home
India said it was Mahatma Gandhi who single-handedly fought for India’s freedom through Non-Violence. She added that she would spread the message of non-violence to spread peace and stop the war.
Australia said that if she was asked three weeks back she would have a different answer but after her experience there in Thailand, it would be the reigning Miss Grand, Lees Garcia. She mentioned about Lees positive role and experiences as something that helped her.
Thailand spoke about a woman she admired and added about strong qualities of the woman she admired.
Dominican Republic said that it was her father who influenced her the most. And being a daughter of a man who was convicted of rape charges, it taught her many things in life. She also mentioned if her dead father was still alive she would forgive him.
Philippines said her biggest influence was her parents. She talked about her mother being a Catholic Filippino and father a Hindu Indian. The way she was taught by her mother and living in a Muslim populated country broaden her mind.
The Best in Evening gown was presented to Miss Japan while Best Social Media Award was given to Miss India
India again was full of confidence, delivers her answer very well and her message was clearly understood. Australia’s answer was very different from what we have been hearing to those type of question. But technically, the question was the most in her life. So three weeks of spending really couldn’t be counted. That’s just an opinion of mine. I wished Thailand had answered in her mother tongue. She froze for a short time and couldn’t add up more to her answer. Dominican Republic choked during her answer. Seriously, I would love someone who got emotional control her emotions on such platform. You can be emotional, shed few tears but control your emotions. I can understand her answer and wanting to forgive her father but I fully don’t agree with her answer. The last was Philippines. I love her answer. Her way of describing her mixed blood and her parents coming from a different religion and living in a country where the majority was Muslims. It was awe-inspiring. After this round I thought, the winner would be coming from one of this three country – India, Australia and Philippines.
Then the winner were announced and Dominican Republic won the 3rd edition of Miss Grand International. 1st runner up was Australia, India was 2nd runner up, Philippines was 3rd runner up and Thailand was 4th runner. It was really nice to see the 4 runners up cheering and congratulating the winner. That was indeed a memorable moment of the night.
Comparison of my top choices for the crown and actual winners and placements:
In the end, I am happy with the winner. All the top 5 were exceptional and anyone of them could be a great winner. The two host of the evening – Lees Garcia and Matthey Deane Chanthavanij were very professional and exceptionally did well. The stage, the production, coverage, activities, etc were all top class and can definitely be compared with Miss Universe and Miss World. The opening number with Lees was so fresh and delightful. The dresses reminded me of the broadway show or movie Chicago. It was so amazing. I look forward to the journey of Anea Garcia and the next edition of Miss Grand International 2016.
Pictures Credit: Miss Grand International Facebook page