OPINION: How Stephanie del Valle won the Miss World crown

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The opening dance of the Miss World 2016 pageant offered some tell-tale signs on how it would conclude. The sassy, fast beat music of the Fifth Harmony’s That’s My Girl seemed like a prelude to a dramatic twist in the plot. It should have been a warning sign that something awesome was bound to happen that would shake the very core belief that we had about Miss World.

The usual notion that a Miss World should be a sweet beauty bordering to being aloof and even calculating has been shattered this year. The winner of Miss World 2016, Stephanie del Valle of Puerto Rico, is a breath of fresh air for she has broken all the typical perceptions. She is cheerful and outgoing with a subtle hint of fierce Latina attitude. But then, if she is supposedly the anti-thesis of what many believed a Miss World should be, how come that Stephanie is now wearing that blue crown?

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Miss World 2016 Stephanie del Valle of Puerto Rico (center), with her runners-yp from the Dominican Republic and Indonesia. (Photo by Stephen Diaz/Missosology.Org)

For many pageant analysts and majority of the general public, Stephanie winning the Miss World 2016 title was a total surprise. But as the one who penned the final Hot Picks of Miss World 2016, I had a gut feeling that Stephanie could prevail. Sure, we did not predict her victory but she topped our pre-arrival Hot Picks. For our final prediction, this is what I wrote: “Also in a serious contention for the crown is Miss Puerto Rico Stephanie Del Valle (8th place). Her elegance, her glamorous beauty and her magnetic personality will make her a perfect Miss World.” I still stand by that comment for I believe it is her glamorous attitude, elegant demeanor and magnetic personality that persuaded the judges to give her the title.

READ: In Photos – Miss World 2016 finals night

Nevertheless, as tiresome it is to repeat it over and over again, there some people who are not happy with the results. They claim that Stephanie’s answer was not the best among the Top 5 but in my opinion hers was by far the strongest in terms of impact. Asked on what she would like to change something about the world, Stephanie, with her cute American drawl, eloquently summed it up by saying that she will “send a message of how important it is to change exclusion for acceptance, to promote and provide justice for others and the importance of helping of those in need.”

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Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Del Valle with host and former Miss World Megan Young during the Top 10 question-and-answer portion. (Photo by Stephen Diaz/Missosology.Org)

Stephanie answered straightforwardly, without lofty rhetoric and in fact it was bereft of any hyperbole. The content of her answer is sensible and feasible, though we have to concede that what she proposed is truly easier said than done. In my opinion, though this is not the popular view right now, Stephanie’s answer was key to her victory.

While I think that the results of Miss World 2016 were fair, I have to admit that critics of the results have some valid points. Chief among them is having the National Directors of Puerto Rico and Indonesia sitting as members of the judging panel. Personally, I think that both of them were just one of the many voices within the group. It would be mathematically improbable that the scores of these national directors would have altered the collective opinion of the jury. Still, it gives fodder to conspiracy theorists out there. With all due respect, I think Miss World should stop this practice as it just unnecessarily clouds the results.

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Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Del Valle beams with joy as she was called into the Top 5. (Photo by Stephen Diaz/Missosology.Org)

For now, we can all look forward for a fun-filled reign of Miss World 2016 Stephanie del Valle. She is indeed a huge departure from the usual and while her star did not shine from the very beginning, that fateful chilly evening at MGM National Harbor proved to be a turning point for her. That jovial mood during the opening was truly a harbinger of an exciting finale. Stephanie del Valle beat the odds and she went there onstage showing her true self never imitating anyone until the moment that the judges came to the realization that she is truly their girl.

Written by Ric Galvez, founder of Missosology
ric@missosology.org