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 Miss Earth : NEWS
 November 4, 2001 " Miss Earth 2001 Interview by Gerry Diaz"

Catharina Svensson is  a natural beauty who hardly wore any make-up and almost always had her long, blonde hair just flowing naturally. Her eyes had a downward droop that makes her look sad so I advised her to always smile. I also told her that she looked good with her make up in the publicity photos that her agent sent to Carousel Productions. I  added that she would look good with eye shadow that is drawn upward to the end of her eyebrow to offset the droop in her eyes.  

Miss Earth 2001 Catharina Svensson from Denmark personifies the refreshing, sweet and all-natural beauty gifted with intelligence and sensitivity. Indeed a very fitting Miss Earth.

Going into the finals, I saw how she slowly blossomed, especially in the Evening Gown Competition that prompted Boyet Blas, our official photographer who is simply beyond compare, to feature her solo picture resplendant in her evening gown a few days before the finals. But her unassuming ways, with which she always chose to stay in the sidelines did not make her a serious contender for the most part of the pageant. While she was in most of the Top 10 Lists she was hardly billed as the Girl Most Likely. Few suspected that she’d unleash her intelligence and the powerful magic she had with words during the finals. 

Miss Earth 2001 winners pose for a souvenir shot with Michael Herrmann, General Manager of Hotel Intercon, the residence hotel of the Miss Earth candidates. From left :Miss Kazakhstan Margarita Kravtsova, 2nd runner-up; Miss Brazil Simone Regis 1st runner-up; Michael Herrmann, Miss Denmark,Catherina Svensson, Miss Earth 2001 and Miss Argentina Daniel Estucan, 3rd runner-up.

I was fortunate to catch her during a break in the photo shoot with Michael Herrmann, the General Manager of Hotel Intercon. Get a closer glimpse of Catherine Svensson, Miss Earth 2001 in the first interview to be published after her victory.  

GD – You were not one of the top favorites to win the crown. How did you feel when you were declared the winner?

CS – I did not expect to win but I was very happy.  

GD – You said you didn’t expect to win. What then were your expectations during the finals?  

CS – Top 10.  

GD – When you did well in the semifinals with your views on the preservation of nature and the air that we breathe, did you think then that you could make the Top 4? 

CS – Honestly, no.  I had no time to think about that. Everyone was just so busy and running around, there just wasn’t time to do that.  

GD – I was among those shouting “Denmark” during the finals before the announcement of the winners. I was with the entire  Mabuhay Staff  and we joined the audience in rooting for you. Did you hear the cheers of the audience?  

CS – Oh, yes. Thank you very much.  

GD – I noticed that, unlike most beauty winners, you did not cry when you were announced the winner. You were just so cool.  

CS – Gerry, maybe it’s because I am not the type of person who easily cries.  

GD – Who was the first person you advised about your victory?  

CS – My boyfriend. He was very happy, he was shouting for joy and was jumping up and down all over the room. (I got the impression that their bond is so strong, her email ID is a combination of her nickname and that of her boyfriend.)  

GD – How about your family?  

CS – I called them next. Of course, they were all very happy. 

GD – I heard that a Danish newspaper called you very early to get more news about your victory.  

CS – Yes, at 5:00 a.m. Just as I was starting to get some sleep.  

GD – I also learned that this Danish newspaper got a telegram about your win as Miss Earth.  

CS – I don’t know where that came from. 

GD – This is the first time that Denmark won an international beauty title since 1981 when they won Miss Europe. (Denmark also won Miss Maja International in 1966 and Miss Young International 1973 which Pia Fris Jenssen won in Manila)  

CS – (She looked a little surprised upon learning this. Because of her age, she was not familiar with these beauty queens). But if I may point out, this is the first time that Denmark has won a major international pageant.  

GD – So when re you going back to Denmark? I’m sure you’ll get a rousing welcome.  

CS – A newspaper publication interviewed my brother and he told me that there will be a lot of press people who will meet me at the airport.  

GD – Did you know that you were Miss USA’s choice for Miss Earth? 

CS – (She lets out a big, sweet smile, her face lights up and her eyes glow.) Really. That’s very nice to hear. Thank you.

GD – Why do you think she chose you? By the way, Miss USA has been a spokesmodel in the US on matters affecting the environment.  

CS – We talked a lot and I think she knew that we were both knowledgeable and deeply involved with various environmental concerns. I don’t know if you know much about Denmark but…  

GD – Oh yes, I know that European countries, especially Scandinavian nations including Denmark have a very high level of environmental consciousness. 

CS – That’s true. In our country, everyone is conscious about all these things – garbage disposal, recycling, protecting the forests and preserving ecological balance. In school, we are taught all these things so everyone practices all these principles in our daily lives.  Every year we even have five “carless days” where motor vehicles are not allowed to be driven. 

GD – What do you think is Denmark’s most pressing environmental problem? 

CS – We are a farming country and a lot of the insecticides which are being used seep through the soil and into our water sources. Our government has come up with a long-range plan up to the year 2030 to address the various problems affecting our environment. There is also another program that aims to reduce the amount of insecticides that go into our agricultural lands by 2005. 

GD – Earlier, I mentioned that Miss USA you as the candidate most likely to be chosen Miss Earth. I don’t recall who you voted for during the survey we conducted in Venezia. 

CS – Miss India. 

GD – She was my top bet too, unfortunately, she didn’t do well in her assessment of  the environmental photos during the semi-finals. I think that made her miss the Top 4. 

CS – Yeah, too bad. When I heard her answer, I felt that way, too. 

GD – (What Catharina said was very revealing.) 

CS – I commiserate with Miss India. She had to contend with a lot of pressure back home. Of course, you know that last year’s Femina Miss India winners all won their international contests – Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss Asia Pacific. (Shamita was picked from that year’s batch of semi-finalists to represent India in  Miss Earth.) Everyday, she was in the papers in India and there was just too much pressure on her to win. 

Miss Estonia had to deal with the same problem. With her experience in Miss Universe and Mesoamerica International, pageant fans had high expectations of her and that put some strong pressure on her as well.

GD – Have you joined other beauty contests before? 

CS – No. This is actually my first “contest”, if you can call it that. There was no formal contest for Miss Earth Denmark. 

GD – So you were chosen by your agent. 

CS – I was chosen by another agent, not my agent. He went around the different modeling agents to scout for Denmark’s candidate to  Miss Earth. I was lucky, he chose me. (Now, I say, he was lucky too that he chose her.) 

GD – How do you think your countrymen will take your victory as the first Miss Earth. 

CS – I’m not too sure about that. Beauty contests are not a big thing in my country. But maybe, after my victory, that might change.  

It was a wonderful experience getting to know Catharina Svensson, an all-natural, refreshing beauty with unassuming ways  who is gifted with intelligence and sensitivity.The Miss Earth organization is fortunate to have a winner whom they can count on to become a most effective spokesmodel for the environmental platforms that Miss Earth has aimed to pursue. 

CONGRATULATIONS, CATHARINA ! WE ARE VERY PROUD OF YOU !!!  

GERRY D. DIAZ

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Email Address  : gerryd@pinoymail.com