Michelle Malcolm as a guest correspondent. Michelle is a Senior Manager at the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, a broadcast journalist, and a pageant aficionado who has worked in pageantry at various levels for more than 25 years. She lives in the Bahamas. Michelle will be providing us every day with the latest news and happenings from the Miss Universe 2009 pageant, so be sure to visit us daily! TRUMPS MEMBERS are approved members of Missosology.
Here are her views.
With 18 days to go before the crowing of a new Miss Universe, all of the contestants competing in this year’s pageant are now in The Bahamas. The final contestant to arrive was Miss Zambia Andella Chileshe Matthews who came in just before 6 p.m. on Tuesday evening. Hers was a relatively quiet arrival, particularly when compared to that of Miss Philippines Bianca Manalo who arrived late Monday night to much fanfare. A large number of Filipinos residing in The Bahamas stayed up late to catch a glimpse of their queen as she arrived at the Atlantis Paradise Island resort. Despite traveling for more than 24 hours, Bianca was simply radiant – her spirits boosted by shouts of “Mabuhay” from her fellow countrymen. The gathering represented members of the Organization of Filipinos living in the Bahamas. Bianca said she’s looking forward to the Miss Universe experience, and seeing so many familiar faces helps. She revealed that this was her first time traveling alone and she didn’t know what to expect, but she certainly wasn’t expecting the kind of welcome she received. She said she’s very happy to see so many Filipinos here in the Bahamas waving their national flag.
The contestants will make their first public appearance on Wednesday when a group of them will take a walk through the Ardastra Gardens, famed for its marching Flamingos. While there, they will spend a few moments with the residents of several children’s homes. Their next stop will be the historic Fort Charlotte – the largest fort in Nassau – for a photo op. The ladies will then have lunch at the colorful Compass Point Restaurant before making their way to the Dock Boardwalk of the Sandals Resort.
Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza arrives Wednesday afternoon, officially kicking off the pageant. After watching the delegates arrive over the past few days, these are the contestants who have caught my eye so far (in random order): Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Puerto Rico, Thailand, Jamaica, China, Philippines, France, South Africa, Russia, USA, Netherlands, Japan, Kosovo, Australia, Mexico, Venezuela, Iceland, Albania and Belgium. This is not a prediction list, as I’m sure it will evolve as the pageant progresses and I see more of the contestants in action. However for me, these are the delegates who have hit the ground running. But as we all know, when it comes to pageantry the race is not to the swiftest.
Host queen Kiara Sherman checked into the hotel on Monday, and I’ve been informed that she is rooming with Miss Japan. There has been much debate over whether Kiara can give the Bahamas its first Miss Universe placement. One thing for sure is that she has drastically improved since winning her local title, at the hands of coach and stylist Bobby Ackbarali who has an enviable track record in preparing queens. The question is, can Bobby’s winning formula help Kiara to crack the semis, especially in such a competitive year?
Photos courtesy of missosology.org