Miss Grand International 2017 Finals: Winner Miss Grand Peru + The Gowns Recap!
This past Wednesday night was the Finals of the “Miss Grand International 2017” Beauty Pageant, taking place at the Vinpearl Convention Center in Phu Quoc, Vietnam. 77 contestants from all over the world competed for the coveted title in a MARVELOUS production. The winner was “Miss Grand Peru” Maria Jose Lora.
A favorite to win the crown by many pageant observers, the 27-year-old, 180 cm (5′ 11″) tall model bested all the other contestants with her beauty, confidence, intelligence, perfect English (it helps in an international beauty pageant), sexiness, her OUT OF CONTROL figure and THAT WOW of a gown (which I will discuss below).
Maria Jose was originally scheduled to compete in this year’s “Miss Universe Peru” contest but eventually, the pageant’s organizer–a former “Miss Peru”, Jessica Newton–chose her to be “Miss Grand Peru” instead. Good thing she did because…SHE WON! The beauty–who actually resides in the US and represented the “USA Dept.” (Peruvians living abroad in the USA) at the “Miss Universe Peru” pageant–will now travel all over the world promoting the “Creating Peace and Stopping War” message of “Miss Grand International”. The actual “Miss Universe Peru 2017” pageant never happened and instead, the national director designated a Runner-up to last year’s pageant to be the new “Miss Universe Peru 2017”.
Before I discuss my FAVORITE GOWNS from the Top 10…I have to give props to the PRODUCTION and “Miss Grand International” Pageant as a whole:
The show was SUPERB! I was VERY IMPRESSED by the production value, the way the final show was done, the fabulous stage design, the graphics, the lighting, the top-notch level of the contestants…I could go on and on and on. The pageant–which is based in Thailand–and has only been in existence since 2013–is ON PAR with “Miss Universe” and “Miss World” (the Top 2 International Beauty Pageants in the world). The President of “Miss Grand International” is a gentleman by the name of Nawat Itsaragrisil. He’s a TV host, producer, traveler (according to Wikipedia). KUDOS to him for creating such an A-List-looking international beauty pageant!
Sequined Ao Dai’s: During the final night, the ten semi-finalists came out in DAZZLING Vietnamese Ao Day-inspired ensembles designed by Huy Quy Ngo. This was a GORGEOUS portion of the show which literally took my breath away. The segment showcased each of the 10 semi-finalists speaking about war, peace, giving powerful and personal speeches on the subject. In regards to the dresses, they were made of chiffon and stretch satin, each of them showed a dove–the symbol of peace–with wings spread flying. The white background signified the sky and there were blue pigeons throughout the dress that was made with more than 1,000 Swarovski crystals…
Best Costume Award went to…
Best in Evening Gown Award went to…
1. Miss Grand Peru Maria Jose Lora: It isn’t normally the case that the eventual winner of the entire pageant wears MY FAVORITE gown but…it happened here at “Miss Grand International 2017”! IN my blog HERE where I discussed the Preliminary Evening Gown Competition and my Top 20, I placed Maria as my NUMERO UNO. And Thank Goodness she didn’t do a “Gown Change” (as a lot of the contestants do once they get to the Semi-Finalist/Finalist round) because it was FAB at Preliminaries and it was SUPER FAB on Final Night. The golden/nude/blush sequined gown was designed by Maritza Mendoza Atelier of Lima Peru and fit her to PERFECTION, skimming her figure like a very thin second skin. It looked effortless, sexy, well-made and the stage impact provided by the stunning Maria Jose was the icing on the gown cake!
2. Miss Grand Czech Republic Nikola Uhlirova: Nikola did a Gown Change from what she wore during the Preliminaries and boy oh boy was it a FAB change! This golden nude shimmering gown was STUNNING! The dress was designed by Juan Carlos Collazo of Puerto Rico and featured a softly flared shape in nude crinoline with gold and silver sequins splattered like fireworks. The gown had a striking fitted bodice hugging her torso wonderfully. I also LOVED her modern and chic swept-back hairstyle.
3. Miss Grand Vietnam Huyen My Tran Nguyen: Huyen My Tran was another contestant who did a Gown Change during the Finals of “Miss Grand International 2017”. I liked what she wore for the Preliminaries and she made MY Top 20 but I also liked this stunning red creation from the same brand–Joli Poi Haute Couture of Ho Chi Minn Vietnam. The red mermaid shaped gown was beautifully sequined, featuring scroll-like detail and handwork, as well as a full crinoline skirt with a horsehair-trimmed hem. She looked DIVINE and oh-so-pretty. Pretty enough to make my No. 3!
4. Miss Grand Ukraine Snizhana Tanchuk: Snizhana wore the same gorgeous golden gown she wore for the Preliminaries which was VERY GOOD! I loved this gown then and it was fab at the Finals as well. The dress featured a column gown with full overskirt in gold/nude satin organza with sequin detail and was created by Crystal Design Ukraine. It was very “Zuhair Murad/Elie Saab Haute Couture-like and looked regal, elegant and super Haute during the “Miss Grand International 2017” Top 10 Evening Gown Competition.
5. Miss Grand Puerto Rico Brenda Azaria Jimenez: I absolutely adored this golden shimmering gown that Miss Grand Puerto Rico wore It was designed by Juan Carlos Collazo who also created “Miss Grand Czech Republic’s” gown as well. The fit was incredible; I loved the perfect length and how it gave an “illusion” of seeing her legs but not too much. Brenda looked like a Perfect Queen in this. Bravo to her and Juan Carlos.
6. Miss Grand Thailand Pam Premika Pamela: My sixth BEST GOWN of the Top 10 “Miss Grand International 2017” Semi-finalists was this stunning dress worn by “Miss Grand Thailand”. The dress featured elaborate black sequined applique over nude crinoline with a center front slit, long sleeves, and horsehair-trimmed hem. The gown design was elegant yet impacting enough for an international beauty pageant and fit her very well! Oh, and by the way, this was also another ‘Gown Change”; she wore a different one during the Preliminaries. I LIKED that one too!
7. Miss Grand Philippines Elizabeth Durado Clenci: Elizabeth changed her gown–naturally!–from what she wore during the Preliminaries (a golden/nude/blush sequined one I REALLY LIKED). The Finals gown–designed by Filipino designer Val Taguba–featured a nude base with lots of emerald and silver colored paillettes. The strapless gown was my 7th (out of the Top 10) favorite. While it was a bit “Razzle Dazzle Showgirl at the Lido”-looking and to be honest, I liked the Preliminaries one more…this was still a GOOD impacting gown.
8. Miss Grand Venezuela Tulia Aleman Ferrer: The super gorgeous Tulia almost got the Top Crown by getting the 1st Runner-up title (and well deserved!). She changed her gown from what she wore for the Preliminaries to this white and red sequined design above from Indonesian designer ANAZ, who created the gown for Miss Grand South Sudan as well as the outgoing “Miss Grand International 2016”. It was my 8th favorite of the Top 10. While I liked the stage impact of that cape (Oh Sooooo popular right now with Pageant Girls!), the overall design seemed a bit Too-Muchly. All that Asian-inspired red sequined applique seemed forced and in addition, it didn’t need the silver ones on the column gown; that could have remained a simple elegant white silk crepe column gown. It would have served as a better highlight to the cape and red sequins down the front of the dress. With that said, Tulia did “make it work” and the “Too Mucheey” overdesigned gown was saved…by her STUNNING beauty.
9. Miss Grand Indonesia Dea Goesti Rizkita: I liked this gown during the Preliminaries even though I did have a couple of critiques: The nude mini dress underneath and the silver platform “Stripper” heels. Well, nothing changed. The nude lining dress was still there and she still wore those pumps. I just wished the under-dress would have been the same color as that GORGEOUS sequined netting…and yes, she would not have worn those tacky pumps. Oh well, at least that outer sequined fabric is just OUT OF THIS WORLD beautiful AND she won the Best National Costume Award!
10. Miss Grand South Sudan Eyga Mojus: The SUPER STUNNING Eyga was my No. 10 in terms of Gowns from the Top 10 Semi-finalists. This was my least-liked. I’ll start with the good: She WORKED this ANAZ Indonesia design overtime on the stage during the Finals as well as the Preliminaries (she wore the same gown) and she IS STUNNING (I have to repeat that!) but…I just don’t like seeing the nude under-dress in these see-through gowns. It looks tacky. I get this whole trend of “see through/nude” gowns for pageants, etc. but I just wished the under-dress was the same color as the gown. Or just NOT NUDE; it looks as if she’s wearing SPANX undergarments and well, we are NOT SUPPOSED TO SEE THEM!