Written by Ric G. Gálvez [@the4ofustraveling]

Graphics by Krizza Enriquez [@kxxenriquez]

In the last Hot Picks, I discussed at length about sash weight and the prospect of having a winner this year that came from a country that never won a crown. I know a lot of us are tired of seeing the same set of countries winning the title year after year. For example, in just a span of five years, both South Africa and the Philippines won two crowns. While there is no question the winners are all deserving, it appears the Miss Universe title is being passed from one country to another and back again.

Indeed, sash weight may conjure a negative image in the world of pageantry. It is rooted from the belief that just because a candidate’s sash reads Venezuela or Philippines or USA, they automatically get the attention even if they don’t deserve it. However, looking beyond the façade of this “phenomenon” gives us clearer understanding why sash weight exists and why it influences the outcome of a pageant.

Looking below at the Top 5 of our Miss Universe 2022 4th Hot Picks, one can’t help but notice that with the exception of Puerto Rico, all of these countries occupy the Top 5 of the Big5 Ranking! These are the countries with strong beauty pageant culture with passionate and large fan base. These countries invest heavily in selecting, training and honing their beauty queens. We can say therefore that sash weight is just hard work that paid off.

When I look at the first week of Miss Universe pre-pageant activities, I can’t deny that Miss Venezuela Amanda Dudamel, Miss Philippines Celeste Cortesi, Miss Colombia María Fernanda Aristizábal, Miss Puerto Rico Ashley Cariño and Miss USA R’bonney Gabriel all stood out. It’s not just about the sash but also because these countries have reputation to keep so they work extra hard to ensure they will only send high quality and well-trained candidates. But let’s admit that we are biased towards a feel good narrative perhaps with poignant scenes from a Cinderella-like story. Maybe another Sushmita Sen or a Leila Lopes is what we need this year. What do you think?

Here’s the complete list of Missosology’s 4th Hot Picks for Miss Universe 2022. Each core member of Missosology was ask to score each candidate. The average scores were then obtained.

1. Venezuela – Amanda Dudamel

2. Philippines – Celeste Cortesi

3. Colombia – María Fernanda Aristizábal

4. Puerto Rico – Ashley Cariño

5. USA – R’Bonney Gabriel

6. Curaçao – Gabriela dos Santos

7. Spain – Alicia Faubel

8. Thailand – Anna Sueangam-iam

9. South Africa – Ndavi Nokeri

10. Nigeria – Hannah Iribhogbe

11. Italy – Virginia Stablum

12. India – Divita Rai

13. Vietnam – Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Châu

14. Mexico – Irma Miranda

15. Peru – Alessia Rovegno

16. Jamaica – Toshami Calvin

17. Bahrain – Evlin Khalifa

18. Aruba – Kiara Arends

19. Guatemala – Ivana Batchelor

20. Dominican Republic – Andreína Martinez

Bubbling up: France, Cambodia, Portugal, Ukraine, Indonesia