Miss Palestine in final four at Miss Earth 2022 as South Korea’s Mina Sue Choi wins crown

Mina Sue Choi, a communications student representing South Korea, won the Miss Earth 2022 crown, beating 85 other contestants from around the world at a gala event in Manila.

Meanwhile, Nadeen Ayoub, who made history as the first person to represent Palestine in the Miss Earth pageant, was crowned Miss Earth Water.

The environmentally-focused pageant is one of the Big Four beauty pageants, the others being Miss World, Miss Universe and Miss International. It has been held mostly in the Philippines since its inception in 2001, although Vienna and Bali have also hosted in the past.

Miss Earth 2022 contestants began arriving at the Okada Manila, hotel complex and casino resort on November 12, with all 86 being unveiled at an event on November 14. However, preliminary events took place virtually from October 24.

Last year’s winner Destiny Wagner of Belize, the first woman from her country to win a major international pageant, handed over the crown to Choi at the event held at Cove Manila. Both Miss Earth 2020 and 2021 were held virtually, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pageant awards “elemental” titles to the other finalists — Miss Fire, Miss Water and Miss Air.

Ayoub, a fitness trainer, nutrition consultant and entrepreneur, was the favorite to win, advancing to the final four. She was one of two Arabs in the competition, along with 20-year-old Jihan Majid, who represented Iraq.

The final deciding question for the final four was, “What is one thing you want to correct in this world and how would you correct it?”

“I would like to fight people’s ignorance and selfishness,” Ayoub said to loud cheers. “Because I think that’s the main problem we’re facing today, with all the problems, including environmental catastrophes, that are man-made.

“It starts with education,” she added. “That’s how we can solve the selfishness and ignorance we see today and save planet Earth.”

South Korean candidate Mina Sue Choi poses during a press briefing in Manila on November 14, 2022. AFP

Andrea Aguilera of Colombia was crowned Miss Earth Fire, while Sheridan Mortlock of Australia was named Miss Earth Air.

The first preliminary floor competition was the swimsuit round on November 16, which was jointly won by Esther Ajayi of Nigeria, Andrea Aguilera of Colombia, Liliya Levaya of Belarus and Mina Sue Choi of South Korea.

Choi became an early favorite, winning both the beachwear competition as well as the long dress competition. She also placed third in the resort dress-up competition, which was won by Venezuela’s Oriana Pablos.

Choi shared the top prize with Colombia’s Aguilera, Chile’s Daniela Riquelme and Brazil’s Jessica Pedroso; and the title of winner of the long dress competition with Riquelme of Chile, Sheyla Ravelo of Cuba and Susan Toledo of Ecuador.

Nigerian Ajayi shared the top prize in the talent competition with Russia’s Ekaterina Velmakina, Cuba’s Ravelo and Ireland’s Alannah Larkin.

Miss Earth takes its advocacy of environmental awareness and conservation seriously, with current titleholders dedicating their year to promoting specific projects. Each Miss Earth winner becomes a spokesperson for the Miss Earth Foundation and the United Nations Environment Program and commits to working with the World Wildlife Fund.

At this year’s contest, the theme was ME Loves Fauna “to emphasize the importance of caring for animal life,” organizers said.

Updated: November 29, 2022, 2:20 p.m

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