MANILA — The next Miss Universe won’t be crowned until the finals competition next week, but the preliminary pageant held at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena on Thursday night excited many fans rooting for their favorite candidates.
The preliminary competition was hosted by actor-model Derek Ramsey and reigning Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach.
Wurtzbach, during the first half of the preliminary pageant, wore a barong and terno inspired dress made of full bugle beads made by hand by fashion designer Michael Cinco. Her second gown, which was black, was also made by Cinco.
Each candidate kicked off the preliminary pageant saying their names and countries. It was followed by a swimsuit competition and long gown competition.
Miss Universe Philippines, who unsurprisingly received the loudest applause for being a candidate from the host country, wore an emerald green gown.
The preliminary competition was later called to a close. However, audiences stayed for the national costume competition which was taped ahead of the finals.
Emcee Nick Teplitz also known as The Rhyme Guy, meanwhile, replaced Ramsey and Wurtzbach as host and entertained the audience with witty rhymes to describe each of the candidates’ costumes.
His rhymes — one is “She looks awfully nice, representing a Spice” for Miss Hungary Veronika Bodizs’ costume which drew inspiration from a red pepper — got laughs and cheers from the audience.
For her national costume, Medina wore an ensemble inspired by the traditional vinta boat. Her headdress was meanwhile inspired by the country’s famous coral reefs.
Fashion designer Rhett Eala earlier said that the headdress contained south sea pearls from Jewelmer. Her headdress alone costs over PHP1 million.
Other national costumes that stood out where that of Miss Myanmar Htet Htet Htun’s who wore a model theater stage on her back and later revealed herself to be a puppet on strings, which her country is known for.
Miss Myanmar also received the loudest applause for the obvious effort she put into acting like a marionette.
Meanwhile, Miss France Iris Mittenaere became the first woman allowed to bring an official Moulin Rouge costume out of France.
Miss Mauritius Kurshboo Ramnawaj wore a costume which had a cape that represented a volcanic explosion that created her country. It was also designed by a Filipino designer who was not named by the host.
Miss Sweden Ida Ovmar reused her long down as a national costume but changed it up a bit wearing a braided red wig similar to the hair of popular Swedish children’s book character, Pippi Longstocking and by carrying a cardboard white horse.
Miss Israel Yam Kaspers Anshel cosplayed as Eve complete with apple and fake snake. According to the host, she used a real snake for her photoshoot.
Miss Malaysia Kiran Jassal had a miniature version of her country’s world-famous Petronas Towers stitched as sleeves on her gown.
Miss Germany Johanna Acs had a castle headpiece as a tribute to Brothers Grimm, known for their folk tales including Cinderella, The Frog Prince, Hansel and Gretel among others.
Despite a wardrobe malfunction, Miss USA confidently strutted the stage wearing a silver warrior costume and carried a shield reminiscent to Marvel comic book superhero Captain America. Her costume’s wings apparently failed to release.
In a video showing the terno fashion show in Vigan City held last January 15, Philippine bet Medina wrongly mentioned that the traditional Filipino dress was invented by former first lady Imelda Marcos.
“The terno was actually invented by our former first lady, Imelda Marcos. She invented these butterfly sleeves and they use these for covering their face,” Medina said.
Mrs. Marcos popularized the ternos in the 1970s but it has been worn as early as 1910 according to experts.
Medina later clarified that she indeed used the wrong word but meant to say “popularized”.
Wurtzbach defended Medina from bashers but cautioned her from being more mindful next time.
“Perhaps next time she could be more mindful of the facts she shares especially now that she’s the host delegate. But it’s not over yet. We still have the final night,” Wurtzbach said in an interview.
It’s a mistake. It wasn’t done intentionally. She honestly did not know. Are we really going to put our girl down? And now we know, if it wasn’t pointed out then it might have been not corrected but she didn’t know. Let’s not put her down,” she added.
She said that Medina had been training for many months and needed all the encouragement she could get.
Wurtzbach will be passing on the crown to her successor on the Miss Universe finals which will be held on Jan 30, 2017, also at the MOA Arena. PNA-northboundasia.com