Earl D.C. Bracamonte – Philstar.com

October 25, 2021 | 12:14pm

MANILA, Philippines — A runway challenge and a question asking an applicant why she deserves to be part of United Arab Emirates’ historic entry into the Miss Universe pageant was all it took for the organization to weed out the cream of the crop.

But the more arduous task was trimming down the 1,200 (some accounts say it’s 1,500) applicants to the first 300, and then to the Final 30.

“We’re looking for someone who is the epitome of kindness. She needs to be beautiful inside and out because Miss Universe UAE is not just a measure of beauty or intelligence, it’s more about her heart and her purpose.

“We’re changing the the norms of pageantry in the United Arab Emirates. It’s not just about physical beauty, it’s about inclusion and individuality, too!” enthused national director Josh Yugen.

The 30 lucky aspirants are:

  • Alma Prtsich, 24, Dubai Marina
  • Anna, 28, Dubai Marina
  • Anita Nayyar, 24, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
  • Asher Jones, 28, Dubai Marina
  • Bahar Kommieva, 26, Al Haddaf, Dubai
  • Daria Kochier, 27, Downtown Dubai
  • Dil’Noza Abdu, 23, Downtown Dubai
  • Emilia Dobreva, 24, Nad Al Sheba, Dubai
  • Frankie Russell, 27, Downtown Dubai
  • Jasmin Lazarus, 22, Al Reem Island, Abu Dhabi
  • Karolina Chernoshej, 24, Downtown Dubai
  • Kristin Samara, 20, Town Square, Dubai
  • Marwa Al Hashemi, 23, Alqarayn, Sharjah
  • Natalia Lupatova, 24, Trade Center, Dubai
  • Nutchaya, 28, City Walk, Dubai
  • Razan Zughayar, 28, Al  Reem Island, Abu Dhabi
  • Reem Birdette, 25, Al Bandar, Abu Dhabi
  • Saachi Gurav, 25, Tourist Club, Abu Dhabi
  • Sara Smajic, 25, Silicon Camp, Dubai
  • Victoria Alvarez, 26, Al Barari, Dubai
  • Rachel Altenburg, 28, Dubai Hills Estate
  • Shahinaz Albouchi, 18, Al Jaddaf, Dubai
  • Keerati, 28, Downtown Dubai
  • Ameera Alawadhi, 23, Shakbout City, Abu Dhabi
  • Minwa Al Baked
  • Kelsey Johnson
  • and Filipino-Kiwi candidate Franki Russell, a former “Pinoy Big Brother” housemate.

The final show will unfold on November 7 at the La Perle in Dubai’s Al Habtoor City. Miss Lebanon 2004 Nadine Nassib Njeim is confirmed to be part of the coronation night’s selection panel.

Together with Yugen, running the Miss Universe UAE organization are creative consultant Maggie Wilson, head of charities & philanthropy Afaf Meky, head of communications Sharihan Mashary, head of compassion & empowerment Zel Ali, and head of creatives, fashion & design Furne One of Amato Couture.

RELATED: Miss Universe UAE to scrap swimsuit competition

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