The coronation night of Miss International 2018 is still months away but two contestants are already creating buzz online. Pageant fans from around the world are rooting for Maria Ahtisa Manalo, 20, of the Philippines and Mariem Velazco, 19, of Venezuela.
Currently, Venezuela is the country with the most Miss International crowns. Venezuelan beauty queens Nina Sicilia Hernandez, Consuelo Adler, Vivian Urdaneta, Goizeder Azua, Daniela di Giacomo, Elizabeth Mosquera and Edymar Martinez won the beauty pageant based in Tokyo, Japan in 1985, in 1997, in 2000, in 2003, in 2006, in 2010 and in 2015, respectively.
Velazco is looking forward to becoming the eighth Miss International from Venezuela. Representing Barinas, she was crowned Miss International Venezuela 2017 on November 9, 2017 in the 65th edition of Miss Venezuela.
In Miss Venezuela 2017, Velazco won the Best Style and Miss Photogenic awards. She is a model and she stands 5’10”.
On the other hand, Manalo recently graduated from the university with a degree in Accountancy. She hails from Candelaria, Quezon and stands 5’7”.
If Manalo wins Miss International 2018, she will be the seventh candidate from the Philippines to win the title. The Philippines is currently the country with the second most Miss International crowns.
The Miss International titlists from the Philippines are Gemma Teresa Cruz, Aurora Pijuan, Melanie Marquez, Precious Lara Quigaman, Bea Rose Santiago and Kylie Versoza. They were crowned in 1964, in 1970, in 1979, in 2005, in 2013 and in 2016, respectively.
When Martinez was crowned Miss International 2015, Miss Philippines Janicel Lubina finished in the Top 10. When Versoza was crowned Miss International 2016, Miss Venezuela Jessica Duarte did not place.
In Miss International 2017, Miss Philippines Maria Angelica de Leon did not place while Miss Venezuela Diana Croce was second runner-up. Miss Curacao Chanelle de Lau was runner-up to Miss Indonesia Kevin Lilliana, who was the very first Indonesian to be crowned Miss International.
Here is an Indonesian interview with Miss International 2017: