MANILA, Philippines―Filipino-Canadian Jessica Nicole Trisko was crowned Miss Earth in the seventh edition of the environmentally-conscious beauty pageant held Sunday night at the University of the Philippines Theater in Diliman, Quezon City.
Jessica bested 87 other candidates for the $20,000 cash prize. She wowed the audience with her towering 5?10? frame and impressed the judges with her answers.
For the final question, ?How will you describe the beauty of mother nature to a blind child??, the 21-year-old political science student quipped: ?It is as sweet as the sweetest rose, as soft as the softest leaf, and like the birds singing on top of the trees.?
For the first time, the Philippine bet missed the semifinals. Early favorites, considered strong contenders by pageant fans, also failed to make the grade.
Hometown girl Jeanne Harn, a seasoned model blessed with flawless complexion, a gorgeous face, killer curves, graceful gait and outstanding communication skills, bagged only the Miss Photogenic award.
Others who failed to make it to the circle of finalists were blonde bombshell Galyna Andreeva of Ukraine, Catherine Zeta-Jones dead ringer Barbara Tatara of Poland, Korean charmer Yoo Jee Eun, Brazil?s Patricia Andrade (who is likened to compatriot 2004 Miss Earth Priscilla Meirelles), Miss Universe veteran Leilah Pandy of Belize and Mexico?s Maria Fernanda Canovas.
There were also expectations that Vietnam?s Truong Truc Diem would crack the semis, not only because her country co-hosted the pageant, but also because she was stunning.
India made a back-to-back Miss Earth-Air finish with Pooja Chitgopeker this year, while Best in Swimsuit and Best in Long Gown Silvana Santaella of Venezuela was proclaimed Miss Earth-Water. The Venezuelan model was winner of the Miss Italia nel Mondo pageant several years back.
Spain?s Andrea Gomez finished fourth as Miss Earth-Fire. Semifinalist Bokang Montjane of South Africa received the coveted Beauty for a Cause award.
The Miss Earth pageant, conceived in the Philippines and lauded for its ground-breaking environmental platform, continued to attract top-caliber candidates this year.
But the production itself left much to be desired.
The coronation night lasted almost four hours, weighed down by drab choreography and stretched segments. The actual show wrapped up around 12:30 a.m. while the delayed telecast on ABS-CBN ended past 1 a.m.
The candidates also had difficulty navigating the stairs, which dominated the shoddy stage. Inconsistent and nauseating camera shots lent an amateurish impression on the show.
MTV VJ Utt from Thailand was visually appealing as host, but his spiels were peppered with sexist remarks.
During the semifinal swimsuit round, his comment on the candidates? swaying hips sounded a bit crass. He also urged Miss India to kiss him after the announcement of the Top 4.
Still, the Miss Earth pageant?s quick rise in popularity is commendable. The candidates? quality continues to improve and its advocacy is worth emulating.