PHILIPPINE Bet SAMANTHA BERNARDO FIRST RUNNER-UP as AFRICAN-AMERICAN Beauty Wins MISS GRAND INTERNATIONAL 2020 Pageant

While the “Big Three” global beauty pageants are all based in the US, other pageants drawing in international contestants are nothing to sneeze at either, and some of these are headquartered in other countries around the world. Take for Instance Miss Grand, launched in 2013 by Thai producer and pageant director Nawat Itsaragrisil, who has been part of Miss Thailand World (their Miss World rep) and Miss Earth Thailand. Miss Grand Thailand and Miss Grand International have been held successfully since then, only to postpone the 2020 edition due to the pandemic. Said pageant finally took place Saturday, March 27, where the Philippines placed First Runner-Up against a milestone victor.

As the Philippine Star reports, when the Miss Grand International pageant that was supposed to happen last year was held this past weekend in Bangkok, at the pageant’s home country of Thailand, Miss Grand Philippines Samantha Bernardo put a spirited effort towards winning the crown. While something of a crowd favorite for audiences of MGI’s in-room challenges streamed online, Bernardo was ultimately bested by Miss Grand USA and pageant veteran Abena Appiah. A former Miss Earth 2019 contestant representing Ghana, the Ghanian-American Appiah is the first to win MGI for the USA, and the first black winner of the same.

Samantha did make Abena earn her win, thanks to her powerful presence courtesy of her “#GRANDnada Walk” and national costume, voted into the Top 10 for Best Costume and Top 5 via fan vote (Bottom 5 being the judges’ vote). Appiah however was able to endear herself to the home crowd with her ability to speak Thai. When the final 3 of the pageant (Appiah, Bernardo and Miss Grand Guatemala Ivana Batchelor) were tied score-wise at the end, a clincher Q&A question was called for.

Said question concerned which of two COVID patients would they give a final dose of vaccine they have on hand: a child or an elderly person. Appiah and Batchelor chose the child while Bernardo chose the senior, though their reasoning in the ears of the judges would get the American candidate the MGI’s Golden Crown with Samantha and Ivana as First and Second Runners-Up respectively. Completing Abena’s court are Third Runner-Up Aurra Kharishma (Indonesia) and Fourth Runner-Up Lala Guedes (Brazil). Guedes was also the Best in Swimsuit, while Batchelor tied for Best National Costume with Thailand and Japan. The winner and runners-up will remain in Thailand for a few weeks to fulfill their duties (among them promoting tourism in Thailand) before returning to their homes.

Miss Grand International 2020 Abena Appiah will have a relatively short reign, as Miss Grand International 2021 will take place later this year, hopefully without a postponement for pandemic reasons.

Image courtesy of GMA News

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