Even torrential rain cannot stop the crowning of Peru’s Maria Jose Lora as Miss Grand International 2017. She bested 76 other candidates for the crown and title. She is the fifth woman to win the Thai-based pageant that has grown to be one of the most followed international beauty pageants on Facebook.
With its massive following on Facebook, Miss Grand International 2017 was streamed live via its official Facebook page. There were no international broadcast partners though. Nonetheless, Miss Grand International delivered an impressive production and stage design.
This year’s pageant was held in Vietnam. The southeast Asian country had previously hosted two Big 5 pageants — Miss Universe in 2008 and Miss Earth in 2010. But this is the first time that Vietnam hosted one of the Next 5 pageants. As expected, Vietnam has been an excellent host country, giving the candidates exotic places to visit and a tropical backdrop for this year’s pageant.
With Peru’s victory, the country now joins the rank of Puerto Rico, Cuba, Australia, and Indonesia in the winner’s circle of Miss Grand International. Maria is a 27-year old entrepreneur from Lima, Peru.
Winning 1st Runner-up is Venezuela’s Tulia Aleman with Philippines’ Elizabeth Clenci settling for 2nd Runner-up. Completing the Top 5 are Brenda Jimenez of Puerto Rico winning 3rd Runner-up and Nikola Uhlirova of Czech Republic as 4th Runner-up. The candidates from Ukraine, South Sudan, Thailand, Vietnam, and the winner of People’s Vote comprised the rest of the Top 10 finalists.
The finals were hosted by Xian Lim, a Filipino actor, and Nicole Cordoves, Miss Grand International 2016 1st Runner-up, also from the Philippines. At the end of the pageant, Miss Grand International 2016 Ariska Putri Pertiwi crowned her successor.
The show opened with 77 candidates in a production number inspired by the symbols and insignia of the host country. Too bad that the weather was bad that the show did not start on scheduled time and the venue with only 3,000 capacity was not filled. The production, while still very commendable, is a drastic drop from the amazing Miss Grand Thailand finals. It could be better for MGI to set the pageant in Thailand for a few more years in order to keep the consistency of its production.
But the overall 2017 edition of Miss Grand International is an improvement of the lackluster one they had last year in Las Vegas, Nevada. From the National Costume show, Swimsuit Competition, and the Preliminary Show were all well-produced and exciting to follow. Miss Grand International 2017 has set the standards so high in terms of coverage on preliminary activities.
For a very young pageant, Miss Grand International was able to elevate its social media presence and make its brand popular to pageants fans who were all used to the Big 5 pageants’ dominance. The pageant has definitely shaken the status quo and should send a message to the Big 5 pageants, that the MGI Organization means business and is here to stay.