Miss International candidates Sofia Paiva, left, and Wing Wong, right, have drawn most media attention recently. Photos: Instagram

People in Macau may have been in a sad mood since tropical storm Hato, which triggered a No. 10 typhoon alert, swept through the gaming city causing damage in many areas last month.

Sofia Paiva Photo: Instagram

But the sweet smile and pretty face of Sofia Paiva, Macau’s representative for the Miss International 2017 pageant, being held in Tokyo on November 14, may help cheer up residents in the Las Vegas of Asia, especially after the selection of an unpopular Miss Hong Kong on Sunday.

Read: Eight killed, 150 injured in Macau by Typhoon Hato

Juliette Louis Photo: TVB

Over the last few days, Juliette Louis, the 23-year-old Hong Kong beauty queen, was subject to all sort of comparisons in local media outlets that reflect a common feeling that she may not be the fairest of them all.

Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Yet, reporters and many netizens have concluded that Juliette will lose to Macau’s Sofia, a 20-year-old psychology student from the University of Saint Joseph.

Wing Wong Photo: Instagram

Representing Hong Kong in this contest is Wing Wong, a 23-year-old model who graduated from Newcastle University.

Wing, who beat her 14 rivals in another beauty contest in Hong Kong in July, seems a lot more popular than Juliette, who was criticized for her protruding teeth – a look that drew comparisons to the beautiful Julia Roberts to the not-so-beautiful Ronaldinho, the famous Brazilian footballer.

Comparing Miss Hong Kong with Miss Macau is almost unheard of, given the smaller neighboring Sin City is fast approaching “one country, one system”, which many Hong Kong people oppose. But some say it at least has a better beauty-contest system.

TVB, the city’s largest broadcaster, has held the Miss Hong Kong contest – a signature event in summer that fulfilled the dreams of many young and pretty girls – for 44 years.

Contest organizers switched this year to a group of panels to select who the winners are. But in recent years, TVB had an election system to determine who the top beauties should be.

In a departure from the usual public voting system, TVB returned to the old panel model but appointed a chief panelist to decide the outcome in the event of a draw.

The new system, via this small group, may not match Hong Kong people’s expectations, as the latest Miss Hong Kong was immediately in a critical spotlight.

Read: What if Miss Hong Kong is not the people’s favorite?

Maria Angelica De Leon Photo: Instagram

Some people left indecent messages on Juliette’s Instagram, which prompted her to reply: “Who cares what they say?!? Life’s too short for you to worry about nonsense.”

Now, the media and public appear to be ignoring Juliette and focusing on Sofia Paiva and Wing Wong.

Kevin Lilliana Photo: Instagram

Apart from these two, other hot candidates in the 56th Miss International include Maria Angelica De Leon (The Philippines), Huỳnh Thị Thùy Dung (Vietnam), Kevin Lilliana (Indonesia) and Natsuki Tsutsui (Japan) and Jae Won Seo (South Korea).

Last year, Kylie Fausto Verzosa from the Philippines was crowned Miss International 2016.

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