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The fifth annual IFM contest, was spectacular

Some of the best features of Aruba were on display for the International Female Model Contest unfolding for the fifth time at the Tropicana Showroom, Sunday night. Filmed for E-Entertainment Television the show opened with a truly spectacular parade of last year’s Carnival costumes, worn by the Popcorn Dancers. Two of the island’s beloved Carnival icons singers Lady Eyes and Valentino King, performed last year’s hits live for an audience of local fashion followers, foreign media and international talent scouts among them representatives of Fashion TV, Super Canal, Vogue, Latin Beat, Model, Vibe Magazine.

The IFM is the brain-child of Ronchi De Cuba, an enterprising designer, the owner of Trash boutique, who also nurtures local male and female runway talent. As the owner and founder of Knockout Model Agency Ronchi is responsible for improving the looks and raising the level of fashion awareness on the island.

This year’s edition of the International Female Model Contest was rich in regional, ethnic beauty. Most of the countries in the area were graciously represented by one model. Some countries renowned for the beauty of their women sent two or three excellent samples including Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico & Venezuela. This year we did not have any European participants, yet the entire Philippine community on the island was out to support a fellow-national, a China-doll beauty called Gladys. The two Nigerian representatives Gloria & Nkechi attracted much attention, Gloria being an Iman look-alike, tall, bony and ample breasted while Nkechi spent her time intensely glaring at ticket holders from her strategic runway stance. The USA was represented by two very different models. Brittany, an African-American, sprinkled with exotic, oriental features and Kaylin, who could have stepped out of a fairy tale, playing a Lord of the Rings princess, her long blonde hair loosely curled or rather clumped, evoking a romantic medieval do. 

The evening featured top ten, pre-selected by the Jury, then top five and finally the coveted trophy of the International Female Model Contest was awarded to Miss Curacao, Deva. Obviously, the IFM is no beauty contest. Modeling is about expressive features serving as human cloth hangers, thus the walk, the posture and the attitude-projected are the elements judged by the panel of experts and Deva had it all, a shock of kinky curly attention-getting hair, mocha-colored skin, super-flat abs, a tall and sculpted figure besides a radiant smile, flashing perfect teeth. Her lime green satin gown, held together by what I think were some well-positioned, very responsible safety pins and draw strings, short upfront, longer in the back, looked very fetching on her.

Deva also won a previous trophy which came with the Fresh Face title, awarded by competition judges based on personal interviews and a photo session. Her reward for being so striking was a modeling contract with Wilhelmina models, surely a nice career launching pad.


In the competition early stages, the judges also awarded Best Body to Emilia, from the Dominican Republic, who wore angel wings during her first stage appearance in the White & Silver opening tableau becoming an instant favorite. Tall and sexy with luscious lips, the crowd agreed wholeheartedly with the decision. The contest photographers contributed as well by casting their ballots in favor of Morelis, from Venezuela, a woman with an interesting face and amazing hair.

Some standouts were from Aruba Nuraisa, who shared many features including the kinky curly hair with the ultimate winner, Deva. Magali, from Bonaire, left an indelible impression as a runway cat with a coltish gait, a new exaggerated stage crawl.  From Haiti, Miguelina, could be the poster child for a UN food drive, as she looked emaciated yet exercised to perfection, sporting washboard abs. Ana Karina, from Mexico, wearing a turquoise dress with flesh tone cut outs was a favorite among male members of the audience while Camille from Puerto Rico wore the best dress, a black lace number also with flesh tone cutouts along the sides, plunging in the back and in the front. She also boasted perfect, long and flowing, impossibly straight and shining Rampunzel hair. Landing a spot in the top five, from Puerto Rico Azarel, who wore an interesting evening gown. A full pink skirt, under a number of carefully placed semi-precious breast plate stones, in purple.  I personally liked Vivianne from Bonaire, through she didn’t land a place in the finals. Last but not least, red-haired Mexican Yesena, who wore a superb Queen of Hearts outfit for the opening act, let us down with a disappointing black K-Mart evening number. Incidentally, red was favorite among dress colors. 

While on the island the girls enjoyed a complete R&R program put together by Ronchi de Cuba and his organization. Ronchi not only put the event together, he also conceived the theme, choreographed the dancers and the models, designed all bathing suit shown by the beauties, and supplied them with spectacular creations of silver & white satin with rhinestones and feathers for the opening act. Ronchi selected the music and produced the show behind the console of lights and switches. In the final round, the girls showed designer gowns custom made for the IFM by their own country’s favorite designer.  

At the finale, under a cloud of confetti, trophies were awarded to winners by Alexandra Cata last year’s standout, from the Dominican Republic, who meanwhile became a popular model in New York working for Ford agency. It works, if you got the personality and the pizzazz.   

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