RANGOON—Burmese fans have high hopes with one day remaining in the 2013 Miss Universe competition, with Miss Myanmar emerging as a major contender for the crown.
Moe Set Wine, Burma’s first contestant at the international pageant in 50 years, has impressed the public and the judges over several days of competition in Moscow, according to the pageant organizers and international media.
The 25-year-old was ranked first on Friday in an online poll for the people’s choice award.
“She is leading in all voting links with a visible number of votes, and in a recent public opinion poll she was selected as a potential winner,” said Chan Lin Thu, a spokesperson for the Miss Universe Myanmar Organization.
On Friday Moe Set Wine was leading an official poll by Pageantology, a website that facilitates public voting for major international pageants, capturing 57 percent of the vote. That compares to the No. 2 contestant, Miss Universe Philippines, who had received 11 percent of the vote.
On Pageantology’s Facebook page, Moe Set Wine had received over 25,000 votes on Friday afternoon, compared to nearly 5,000 by Ariella Arida of the Philippines. The scores from both websites will be combined to determine the winner after voting ends at 11:59 pm on Friday.
In Moscow, Moe Set Wine has also dazzled the judges.
“She scored among the top three for best bikini body, the top 15 for best national costume, and the top eight for most photogenic,” Chan Lin Thu said. “We are happy about her performance, and we are hoping she wins, but we will need to wait for confirmation tomorrow.”
International media have noticed the Burmese contestant.
“With a sultry, exotic look and strutting in beautiful red bikinis and gowns, Wine is becoming a major contender on the universal stage,” the Las Vegas Guardian Express newspaper reported on Wednesday. “She is more than beautiful red dresses and sultry poses—she plans to show exactly what the stage missed over the past 50 years.”
International Business Times included Moe Set Wine in a list of five of the most controversial contestants in the pageant this year, along with Ariella Arida of the Philippines, Yityish “Titi” Aynaw of Israel, Riza Santos of Canada and Gabriela Kratochvilova of the Czech Republic.
The final competition will be held on Saturday at Moscow’s Crocus City Hall, at 12 pm Burma time. Burma’s SkyNet will broadcast the event at a later date, with an announcement about the airing time and channel expected soon.
Moe Set Wine was crowned Miss Universe Myanmar 2013 at the National Theatre in Rangoon on Oct. 3. She graduated from Dagon University with a degree in English and later earned two degrees, in business administration and marketing, at California Lutheran University.
In 2009 she placed second in a Burmese-Chinese beauty pageant held by Golden Phoenix, a local newspaper.
Miss Universe is an annual international beauty contest that started in 1952 and is held by the Miss Universe Organization. Miss Universe 2012 was from the United States.
Burma’s first contestant in the Miss Universe pageant was Than Than Aye in 1959. She was followed in 1960 by Myint Myint May and in 1961 by Myint Myint Khin, the last contestant before Moe Set Wine.