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Puerto Rico wins Miss International 2014





     Valerie Hernandez, a 21-year-old student and model from San Juan, of Puerto Rico has been crowned Miss International 2014 at the pageant's 54th annual event held November 11 at the Grand Prince Hotel Takanawa in Tokyo, Japan. She is the second woman from her country to have won the coveted title (Laurie Simpson won in 1987).

Top five: Hernandez (center) poses with first runner-up, Colombia's Zuleika Suárez (far left), second runner-up, Thailand's Punika Kulsoontornrut (far right), third runner-up, United Kingdom's Victoria Tooby (second from left) and fourth runner-up, Finland's Milla Romppanen (second from right)
Completing the top 10 semifinalists were the delegates from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Panama and Indonesia. Colombia won two special awards (Miss Friendship, Best Dresser), Indonesia won Best National Costume, France won Miss Perfect Body, and India won Miss Internet Beauty. 73 young women competed in this year's edition of the pageant which was live streamed.
Hernandez was officially crowned by Miss International 2013 winner Bea Santiago of the Philippines.

Filipino pageant fans were hoping a back-to-back victory with their delegate Bianca Guidotti who failed to advance to the finals. Hernandez's victory was a shocker, since she had not figured on most of the fans' list of favorites. Miss Thailand, who had placed third in Miss Earth 2013 and eventually was dethroned for not fulfilling her duties as Miss Earth Air 2013, placed third again in Miss International 2014. 

The live stream started at 4:00 PM Tokyo time (Nov. 11), which would be 2:00 AM (Nov. 11) in Boston. I missed the first two hours of the show as I had fallen asleep at around 11:30 PM. When I woke up at 3:30 AM, the contestants were already parading in their evening gowns. Meanwhile, ardent pageant fans were expressing their comments at the Critical Beauty Fan Page; many of them were not happy with Hernandez's victory and were favoring either Miss Colombia or Miss United Kingdom instead. Oh, well... that is Miss International to you and me... it is ultimately the least predictable pageant of all! :) - Rafa Delfin

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