Elemental beauties

Miss Earth Air 2020 Stephany Zreik. / Photograph courtesy of ig/stefyzreik

For Miss Earth winners this transformative year, winning the crown means so much more.

“Having Joe Biden pushing for climate change and wanting to rejoin the Paris Agreement on his first day in office, I’m completely excited and I have so much faith that we’re going to be able to turn this around. As a country of influence, I’m hoping that we can enact change in other countries and influence them to make a brighter step in order to have a brighter future,” Miss Earth 2020 Lindsey Coffey said in the first official virtual press conference with her elemental court.

Carousel Productions Inc., the organization that owns and runs Miss Philippines Earth (MPE) and Miss Earth (ME), made history when it crowned its 20th edition winners amidst the global pandemic.

It was a well-deserved win for 28-year-old model and activist Coffey who also won her national title virtually, representing Pennsylvania, and who is now the first titleholder from the United States.

The planet faces many environmental issues today, but for Coffey, the water crisis poses the most immediate risk as it affects humanity and regional stability. As Miss Earth 2020, she wants to amplify her voice to make an impact on the message that climate change is both a personal and social issue.

Coffey has a deep connection with animals and the outdoors. She’s hoping that one day she can build an animal sanctuary to empty the kennels and rescue the ill-treated because she finds it amazing to share space with so many different forms of life.

Miss Earth Air 2020 Stephany Zreik. / Photograph courtesy of ig/stefyzreik

“All my travel experiences with animals and nature ignited the fire in me to become the well-traveled and well-rounded woman I am today,” she shared.

The political science graduate, who is being compared to Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray for being an eloquent speaker, is linked to the Queen of France Marie Antoinette through the bloodline. She has traveled to African safari countries, hiked up the falls, swam through crocodile-infested waters and sat at the edge of the 100-foot waterfall while fish nibbled at her legs.

“I became more cultured, more educated and more inspired to connect with nature on the most intimate level possible,” Coffey shared after the trip that gave her a new perspective.

Aside from winning the 20th ME title, Coffey is also the winner of the long gown, swimsuit and talent (singing category) competitions for the Americas.

She has been a vegetarian for over 20 years, a choice she made as a child because of her connection with animals. “I’m still the same person — the only difference is everything is a little bit more amplified. I am more confident. I am more educated. I learned so much throughout this competition, not just about myself but about the environment. It really motivated me even more. I became a well-rounded individual, a well-rounded queen,” she told Daily Tribune how she had been transformed by the title.

Michala Rubinstein, Miss Earth Fire 2020. / PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF ig/MICHALA RUBINSTEIN

Miss Air of Venezuela

Stephany Zreik, 24-year-old model and lawyer, is the first Venezuelan representative to win the Miss Earth Air 2020 elemental title. Her country along with Ecuador and Brazil ranked second for having two ME titleholders: Alexandra Braun (2005) and Alyz Henrich (2013).

Zreik had a difficult childhood, as her mother passed away due to complications from pregnancy. Despite the painful experience, she grew up to be a responsible and strong woman with clear goals.

“Being here in an online contest, I am really excited because I am sure effort leads to success. That is why I know that this pageant will be wonderful,” she said about the online pageant.

The winner of this year’s national costume, resort wear and sportswear for the Americas, Zreik is proud of her country known for beautiful people and landscapes.

Miss Water of the Phl islands

Roxanne Allison Baeyens, Miss Earth Water 2020, is the third from the Philippines to win the elemental title.

The Philippines still holds the top spot for having four ME crown wins: Karla Henry (2008), Jamie Herell (2014), Angelia Ong (2015) and Karen Ibasco (2017).

Following in the footsteps of her mother Igorota Baeyens, an environmentalist who used to work for the princess of Belgium, Roxanne is an active volunteer urban gardening and agriculture advocate who recently became the Department of Agriculture ambassadress in the Cordillera region.

Roxanne Allison Baeyens, Miss Earth Water 2020. / PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF ig_roxieebae

The ballerina and thespian said, “Having amazing, resilient and optimistic countrymen who always find a reason to continue smiling, despite hindrances in life, makes me proud of my country.”

Baeyens won the long gown, swimsuit and talent (dance category) for Asia & Oceania and automatically advanced as one of the top 20 semifinalists for her eco-video.

Miss Fire of Denmark

This year’s Miss Earth Fire is Michala Rubinstein, a 27-year-old model for eco-friendly clothing brands made from bamboo textile. Rubinstein, who attends the grand annual event “Green Copenhagen,” has acted in a short film called “Kvinder Kvinder Kvinder,” about abused women and children. She is happy but still cannot believe that after 19 years her country was named one of the elemental queens. She was raised with utmost respect for nature and animals.

“Different cultures have different sets of values and I’m very blessed to have grown up in a home celebrating the best of both worlds,” she narrated on growing up in a family of strong women.

Her mother, who came to Denmark from Ukraine when she was 10 years old with her grandmother and siblings, taught her to always fight not only for what she believes in, but what is right.

“I want to look back at my life knowing I followed my heart and my beliefs, that I stood up for those without a voice and worked hard to make a difference,” Rubinstein said.

Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph

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