will it be jen or tali?




Written by Henrique Fontes of Globalbeauties

Two countries sharing the same dream, and living opposite realities in Vietnam 2008, have high hopes of winning the Miss Universe title on Monday morning: the Philippines and Colombia.

The internet era revealed Filipino pageant fans as possibly the most fanatic in the world. The over hyping of their contestants annoy people of other nationalities. Internet pageant-related discussion boards are packed with messages of support towards their representatives, and heavy criticism towards any one who may actually be considered a favorite.

The Philippines has hosted the Miss Universe pageant twice, and has won the title in two occasions as well: 1969 and 1973. Although a Filipino beauty has never won the Miss World title, when public vote counted for 50% of contestants’ scores, a few years ago, Miss Philippines was always a finalist or semi-finalist in that pageant.

Ironically, the Philippines lives its longest dry spell in Miss Universe history: no semi-finalists since 1999, or 8 years in a row.

On the other side of the world lies Colombia, a South American country which saw its first, and so far only, victory in Miss Universe, in the year it debuted in Long Beach: 1958. It’s been long 50 years that Colombia has been hoping to crown a second Miss Universe.

The Señorita Colombia pageant is one of the most popular and well-organized in the world. The country virtually stops to watch who will be its new reina, or queen. When Luz Marina Zuluaga won the Miss Universe title back in 1958, she was declared tax exempt for life, and earned a mansion from the government of Manizales (photo, right).

Beauties from Colombia are usually among Miss Universe’s favorites. They are also among the best dressed delegates, dictating fashion trends for the pageant industry. As a matter of fact, a former Miss International from Colombia manages the Binibining Pilipinas, or Miss Philippines pageant.

So why hasn’t Colombia won a second Miss Universe crown yet?

Several pageant historians blame it on politics. The Revolutionary Armed actions, illegal drug trade, and terrorism, certainly hurt the image of a country which, on the other hand, is so rich and diverse in culture, architecture, literature and natural wonders.

“The truth is that the United States didn’t want press on Colombia for a long time”, says Greg Borowski, a pageant follower from Miami.

William Prendiz, another missologist who have been following beauty pageants from a close distance since 1958, when Luz Marina became Miss Universe, agrees that “all the bad press that comes out of Colombia has certainly hurt its candidates’ chances in Miss Universe. At least two or three Colombians could’ve easily won the title in these long 50 years”.

But can Miss Philippines or Miss Colombia finally do it on July 14??

Jennifer Barrientos of the Philippines is without a doubt a beautiful woman who has been receiving lots of support from her countrymen. However, she hasn’t been much noticed by the international press and bookmakers. In order to become a semi-finalist and end the Philippines’ long Miss Universe drought, Jennifer will have the beat the odds…

Jennifer: Fingers crossed in the Philippines…

Tatiana: High hopes in Colombia..

Tatiana Vargas of Colombia, conversely, has been gaining favoritism in the last weeks of competition, and is now a top contender for the title. The South American country also lives a favorable political moment, which could lead up Tatiana Vargas and other 45 million people to party hard on Sunday night (Bogota’s time).

Two countries sharing a passion. Will one of them take the Miss Universe crown back home? We shall find out in less than 24 hours. 


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