A 23-year-old model and cosmetologist from Ecuador who wants to push environmental education in schools was crowned Miss Earth 2016 during a worldwide broadcast of the pageant held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City last Saturday night.
Katherine Elizabeth Espin bested 82 other candidates from around the world in the annual environment-driven beauty pageant. She impressed the judges in the final question-and-answer portion of the contest in which she was asked, “If you were selected as Miss Earth 2016, what would be your program to protect Mother Earth from climate change?”
Espin answered: “I truly believe in the 5 Rs, which is re-think, reduce, [reuse], recycle and respect. Because I believe that as human beings, if we apply that to our everyday lives, we can make a change, and we will reduce the problem that we just mentioned. If we apply that to our everyday lives, I believe that we can save the place we live in which is our Mother Earth.”
She also wanted to promote her advocacy on environmental education in schools especially in the elementary level.
“I chose this because I believe that the best age to teach a person to have environmental conscience is at an early age because on their growing years they will learn to have respect towards the environment which will help the future generations. I truly believe that there should exist on every academic pensum an environmental class and I will work hard on it to make it possible,” Espin said.
Espin is a pageant veteran who has competed at the Miss Bikini Universe in 2013 and Top Model of the World where she won 1st runner up in 2015. She is the second Miss Earth titleholder from Ecuador, the first being Olga Alava in 2011.
Elemental winners in the contest were Miss Colombia Michelle Alejandra Gomez who was named Miss Earth-Air; Miss Venezuela Stephanie Landaeta, Miss Earth-Water, and Miss Brazil Bruna Zanardo, Miss Earth-Fire.
Candidates who landed in the Top 15 are delegates from Korea, Northern Ireland, England, Vietnam, Russia, Mexico, Macau, South Africa, Australia, Sweden, United States, and Italy.
Miss Philippines Imelda Schweighart did not make the semifinal round. She is the third delegate from the Philippines who did not place in the 16-year history of the pageant.
Weeks before the finals, Schweighart made headlines when she talked about dictator Adolf Hitler to Miss Austria.
Espin also won special awards such as Darling of the Press which she tied with Miss Philippines, Best in Resorts Wear, and Best in Long Gown.
Miss Mongolia Enkhbor Azbileg was named Miss Talent for her gymnastic skills presented at Versailles Palace Alabang recently. She was awarded by State Properties Corp. president Allen Roxas.
Other recipients of special awards include Miss Bahamas, Congeniality; Miss Vietnam Nguyen Thi Le Nam En; Photogenic; Team Africa, Eco-Tourism and Envronmental Conference; and Miss Macau SAR China Clover Zhu, Miss Versailles; Miss Moldova Tatiana Ovcinicova, Best Eco-Beauty Video; Miss Wales Charlotte Hitchman, Miss Eco-Warrior.
Winners in the Long Gown Competition are Miss Mexico Itzel Astudillo, Group 1; Miss Russia Aleksandra Cherepanova, Group 2; and Miss Ecuador, Group 3.
In the Resorts Wear Competition, the winners are Miss Australia Lyndl Kean, Group 1; Miss Lebanon Carole Kahwagi, Group 2; and Miss Ecuador, Group 3.
Winners in the Swimsuit Competition are Miss Mexico, Group 1; Miss USA Corrin Stellakis, Group 2; and Miss Wales Charlotte Hitchman, Group 3.