By Celso De Guzman Caparas Photo by Carousel Productions
Miss Earth concluded its 2021 pageant season in a two-hour broadcast of its virtual finals with Destiny Wagner of Belize clinching the coveted title.
25-year-old Wagner made history for giving Belize its first beauty pageant title. She is a graduate of Business Administration graduate, and presently manages her own business and the non-profit organization “Operation Kingdom” dedicated to combating child hunger and fighting for equal education. She advocates for the sustainability of marine life and the promotion of children’s rights.
It was almost a back-to-back win for the USA with Marisa Butler settling for the Miss Earth-Air title. The Cum Laude graduate of Stonehill College is a two-time national beauty title-holder in the United States and the founder of the non-profit cleanup organization “We Clean Trails.”
Chile’s Romina Denecken was proclaimed Miss Earth-Water, placing Chile again among the Top 4 after 15 years. She is a Fashion Design and Marketing student and speaks Spanish, English, Italian and Japanese. The multi-lingual TV host is an animal lover and advocates for animal welfare.
Claiming the Miss Earth-Fire title was Baitong Petsom of Thailand. She is a graduate of Fine and Applied Arts in Film and Video and has been actively participating in environmental conservation activities since 2005. She is also a licensed scuba diver, a creative producer and editor, and a TV host.
Also making it to the Top 8 were the delegates from the Netherlands, Philippines, Russia, and Venezuela, and rounding off the Top 20 were the delegates from Belarus, Belgium, Botswana, Colombia (who was also named Voter’s Choice), Czech Republic, Denmark, Ghana, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, and South Africa.
This year’s international panel of judges included upcoming pop star Amel Rose, Nigerian environmentalist Desmond Majekodunmi, Carousel Productions Executive Vice President and Miss Earth co-founder Lorraine Schuck, international TV presenter Allan Wu, pageant blogger Davonna Finley, Philippine Stock Exchange COO Roel Refran, and American actress and TV host Adrienne Janic.
James Deakin returned to host the finals for the fifth year while Miss Earth 2017 Karen Ibasco anchored a segment of the show.
The 21st edition of Miss Earth was the second time the pageant was held on a virtual platform due to the pandemic. Despite the non-traditional format, the organization was overwhelmed by the large turnout of participating countries and even welcomed the inclusion of the delegates from Iran and Syria who joined the pageant for the first time.
“The health and safety of the delegates have always been our top priority,” said Lorraine Schuck, “but we are hopeful that by next year, the global situation would not be as stringent and that we would be able to stage a live pageant once more.”