2008 Miss Universe Favorites - Jenny Woo Counts Them Down

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With so many people betting on the upcoming Miss Universe pageant Sunday, Gambling911.com's own Jenny Woo counted down her top 10 favorite 2008 Miss Universe contestants.

We then looked at the odds. Can a big underdog take the crown just like last year based on Ms. Woo's observations? Well there are few experts in the world of beauty as Jenny Woo so we shall see.

Jenny Woo here and I had the daunting task to pick out 10 Miss Universe Beauties out of a total of 80 contestants. It was no walk in the park trying to come up with these 2008 Miss Universe favorites....No, really. To make that walk a little harder for Jenny, I had to pick out 10 Miss Universe Beauties at the bottom as well, which I will be providing shortly (watch for it). Jenny needs a drink after this one. A nice stiff Cosmo!

The 57th Miss Universe beauty pageant will be held at the Crown Convention Center (Diamond Bay Resort) in Nha Trang, Vietnam on July 14, 2008. The 2007 Miss Universe, Riyo Mori from Japan, will be crowning her successor.

This assignment has taught me to never judge a book by its cover. I could have made this assignment easy if I had looked at nothing else but the initial photos. But nnnoooo!!! Jenny just had to go a bit further and looked at more photos, interviews and video. What can I say? My curiosity got the better of me. WTF? Maybe I should have kept my curiosity in check.

I¹m not sure if Jenny would be able to judge on any of these beauty things seeing that you never get a second chance (at least with Jenny) to make agood first impression. My first impression usually starts with the initial photo. But I have to say some girls impressed the Woo and some sounded like a broken record. Of course they all want world peace, career paths in the acting/modeling industry, be chocolate (don¹t ask) and do volunteer work on a daily basis. We can argue as a reporter here at Gambling911.com, I am kinda sorta doing volunteer work (a la the low pay...hint, hint).

Do they really or are they wanting to impress the unknowing public and those maybe persuasive judges? That doesn¹t fly in Jenny¹s book, so I personally had to check each and every one of them out. Trust me, it was a hard task. You might think looking at beautiful women all day long might be up you¹re alley, but it won¹t be when you have to look at 80
swimsuits, gowns, national costumes along with videos and written interviews. Well that¹s exactly what I did. If Jenny has to hear "fruit" or "high heels" one more time, I will scream.

Here are my top 10 2008 Miss Universe favorites....

At number 10 - Miss Israel, Shunit Faragi, 21, 5¹8

Watch out boys this brown haired blue-eyed beauty served 2 years in the Israeli military. Any guy waking up next to this beauty will always see a smile on her face in the morning. Available at 70 to 1 odds at Sportsbook.com

At number 8 - Miss Albania, Matilda Mcini, 19, 5¹10

I wouldn't know an Albanian from an Albino. This blond haired beauty likes to play basketball in her spare time. One of her proudest personal accomplishments was being the team leader of her professional basketball team, Tirana, when she was sixteen. When asked what kind of food she would be, she responded, "I would like to be cherry. Like cherry on the cake". Oh cherries!!! She pays $25 for every $1 bet at Bookmaker.com.

At number 9 - Panama, Carolina Dementiev Justavino, 19, 5¹9

This beauty looks fun! When asked, what¹s the best gift you¹ve ever received and why? Her response,² My life, because that makes me who I am today and that¹s important.² I wish I could give you more of her video interview, but Jenny doesn¹t do Spanish. However, I do have to say that she looked hot speaking the language. She's a 10-1 favorite at Sportsbook.com.

At number 6 - Ukraine, Eleonara Masalab, 19, 5¹11

She¹s a person with purpose. She eventually would like to own her own television program as well as directing it. Watch out boys, this beauty wants a lot of babies. But who wouldn¹t want to have beautiful babies with this one. Pays $25 for every $1 bet at Sportsbook.com.

And now for my Top 5 at number 7 - Miss USA, Crystle Stewart, 26, 5¹9

Even though this beauty is a little bit older than the others she¹s got what it takes to be Miss Universe, and let's face it - some of us won't be 21 for ever (hehehe). Oh and I love her national costume. But don¹t think this one is just a pretty face. She wanted the judges to know that she¹s a college graduate, a business owner, a professional teacher and a humanitarian. One quirky thing she does is that she sleeps like a vampire with her hands across her chest. I bet she sucks blood too. Pays $9 for every $1 bet.

Number 5 - Miss Venezuela, Dayana Mendoza, 22, 5¹10

Once again, Miss Venezuela is the one to beat. All the oddsmakers have her as the 2008 Miss Universe favorite

Her career ambition is Interior Design and Advertising. If you want an independent girl, she would be the one. Living by herself in different countries by the age of fifteen. One interesting thing about her is that she was a victim of a kidnapping. In her country it¹s called an express kidnapping. This trooper pulled through by staying calm. What a girl!! Best odds at Bookmaker.com (+625 or a $1 bet pays out $6.25).

Number 4 - Miss Ireland, Lynn Kelly, 20, 5¹8

She¹s got an awesome accent. One quirky thing about her is that she sleep walks. But at least she doesn't sleep like a vampire (a la Miss USA) One thing in her wardrobe she can¹t live without is Vaseline. My type of girl! "I am a professionally trained Irish dancer and I have danced for my country all over the world. I also enjoy debating and I have been elected to be the voice of the young Ireland at a couple of government debates. I danced for the European Parliament and it was a huge honor." As for her career ambition, her interest is in law in which she will definitely do in the future. 20 to 1 odds at Sportsbook.com. Her odds are as short as 14 to 1 at Bookmaker.com.

Number 3 - Miss Mexico, Elisa Najera, 21, 6¹0

This tall beauty has a passion for cooking and is studying food chemistry. If you have a sweet tooth this girl if for you. Her specialty is in
desserts. However, she is health conscious. ³I think there is a big challenge in the food industry; we have to start thinking in ways to make
nutritious, economic and delicious food instead of the unhealthy, and over processed food that we are used to eating nowadays.² And if she were what she ate, she¹d be a sushi roll. Me thinks she's trying to kiss up to last year's phenom and reigning Miss Universe - Miss Japan. Another little tidbit about her is that she has to drive bare foot. Pays $12 for every $1 bet at Bookmaker.com

Number 2 - Miss Norway, Mariann Birkedal, 21, 5¹8

Many beauties in this country from my experience traveling there. This one time foreign exchange student is an active girl. She¹s a breakfast lady with her favorite food being cereal or eggs, but choosing eggs before the cereal. For prom, she wore her grandmother¹s 50 yr old wedding dress. "It was a special night." Jenny wonders how special. Sorry boys, this one¹s taken. Her boyfriend holds her hand so that she won¹t pick at her nails. Awww how sweet. Huh? She pays 20 to 1 odds at Bookmaker.com but - get this - she pays a whopping $40 for every $1 bet at Sportsbook.com. Very nice value for your money.

And my Number 1 choice is also among the top 20 favorites published by online oddsmakers. It's Miss Dominican Republic, Marianne Cruz Gonzalez, 23, 5²11

This hottie looks like a lot of fun. Her career ambition is to be a world-class fashion designer with her favorite designer being Oscar De La Renta. Anyone who likes Oscar De Las Renta is a winner in Jenny¹s book. She has worked as one of the most solicited models of her country, while going to school for the past four years and holding many different jobs to help support her family. You can get her at 18 to 1 odds at Sportsbook.com.

Watch for my bottom 10 or - as we call them - the Top 10 Fuglies of the 2008 Miss Universe Pageant.


Jenny Woo, Gambling911.com Senior Correspondent

Originally published July 7, 2008 10:34 am EST

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