2017 JUDGING PANEL
National Judging Panel Includes Star-Studded Miss Earth Veterans
Media Contact: Kassady Sever, firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, D.C. – A new USA representative for Miss Earth will be crowned on Saturday, August 5 in the nation’s capital. 50 delegates will participate in activities beginning August 3, judged by Miss Earth veterans, sponsors and members of the media.
2017 national judges include reigning Miss Earth Katherine Espin of Ecuador and Miss Earth United States representatives Corrin Stellakis (2016), Andrea Neu (2014), Lisa Forbes (2007) and Amanda Pennekamp Bluestein (2006). Miss Earth delegates join the panel from England, Pakistan and Mongolia; as well as directors of World Missions Outreach, Planet Beach and EarthWater; and media representatives from National Geographic, CPAN and World Class Beauty Queens Magazine.
Scroll down for full judge bios
Named 2016 Pageant of the Year by Art & Beauty Magazine, the 2017 edition of Miss Earth United States, presented by EarthWater, will broadcast on the DISH Network B4UTV Channel 716. Show hosts are Steven Roddy, founder of the Pageant Planet, and Miss Earth Water 2015 Brittany Ann Payne. Talent will include DJ Shaleigh. Tickets are on sale at www.missearthunitedstates.com/tickets.
Managed by Carousel Productions of the Philippines, Miss Earth focuses on empowering women through fashion, leadership, travel and service opportunities. Delegates advocate for environmental awareness and protection of the Earth while showcasing various tourist destinations. Miss Earth is known as one of the most relevant pageants and the second largest, drawing nearly 100 national representatives each year to compete for the title. As 2016 Miss Earth, Ecuador's Katherine Espin serves as a global ambassador to organizations including the United Nations Environment Programme and Philippines eco-tourism.
State delegates were selected based on leadership skills, photographs, interview, and pageant or modeling experience. They represent their state or region throughout the year, appearing in the community as well as fashion and media events.
National activities include park clean up on the National Mall, tour of the US Capitol Building, runway and modeling workshop, photo shoot with Southern Exposure Photography, and charity gala. Competitions open to the public including speaking, Mac Duggal runway competition, swimwear, and personal evening gown. The delegates are also evaluated on judge interview, multimedia, photogenic and community video. Final wardrobe is sponsored by Pixton Design Group, Jegie Brand, Marc DeFang and Elementz by Prerna.
“People do not realize the extensive work that goes into preparing for a pageant of this caliber,” says National Director Laura Clark. “We consider the national experience to be a showcase and celebration of these delegates. They are representing their states and regions at the highest level of pageant competition.”
The winner of Miss Earth United States will spend the next two months touring the USA including visits to New York City, Miami, San Juan, and Chicago. This fall, she will represent the nation at the 17th annual Miss Earth competition, with the final coronation televised globally to millions of viewers. She will hold the title for one year, and if named Miss Earth, will travel extensively worldwide throughout her reign. The USA has ranked in the Top 4 at Miss Earth for the past three consecutive years. In addition to one national winner, a Top 4 will be named on August 5 and receive a prize package.
Under management of US Earth Productions, Inc / Beauty Beyond Borders, Inc. 501(c)3, the United States program includes supporting divisions of Elite Miss age 26-34, Teen Miss age 15-19 and Junior Miss age 11-14. The winners of these titles serve as an extension of the Miss Earth mission while also receiving prizes.
Katherine Espin, Miss Earth 2016. A law student from Ecuador, Katherine was crowned as the 16th annual Miss Earth this past October in the Philippines among 90 national delegates. During her reign, she has visited multiple countries including Angola, United Arab Emirates, and China, and is happy to return to the United States, where she once attended school in New York City. Katherine attributes her success to her independence and her determination, learned at a young age as her parents worked hard to provide a stable living. At the age of 13, Katherine began her journey to overcome facial paralysis, went onto represent Ecuador at Miss Bikini Universe and finally at Miss Earth, and she has now become one of the most recognized faces in pageantry.
Andrea Neu, Miss Earth Air 2014. A native of Colorado, Andrea currently holds the highest ranking for an American candidate at Miss Earth, placing first runner up in 2014 at the international pageant in the Philippines. During her reign as Miss Earth Air, Andrea traveled to Canada and back to the Philippines as part of her duties. Previously, Andrea was famous for winning Miss US International 2013 and ranking to the Top 15 in Japan. Andrea has also competed in the USA system. Andrea was a competitive figure skater for more than 12 years, participated in 4-H, and played NCAA lacrosse in college. She received a degree in graphic design and marketing from Fort Lewis College and now works with companies such as Athleta and the Bolt Agency.
Amanda Pennekamp Bluestein, Miss Earth United States 2006. Amanda was Mrs. Galaxy 2015 and Miss USA 2004 First Runner Up, representing South Carolina. At Miss Earth 2006 in the Philippines, Amanda ranked as a finalist among 82 countries. Since age 14, she has modeled with the Millie Lewis Model and Talent Agency and also spent three years in New York City under management of Wilhelmina Creative and Funny Face. She has appeared in commercials for the Zone Diet and WWE, on billboards for ALLURE Magazine, in magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Supermodels Unlimited, and had roles on One Life to Live and Bollywood film KANK. Amanda earned a degree in Theatre and Speech Communications from Newberry College. She is currently a senior instructor specializing in stage presence, walking and interview at Cyrus Frakes-King's Gowns and Crowns Studio. One of Amanda’s most favorite titles is “Mommy” – sharing her life with husband Brian, son Tanner McClellan, and daughter Elena Cloette.
Lisa Forbes, Miss Earth United States 2007. Lisa lives in Kansas City and is an established pageant coach and professional. She is also a familiar face from the reality television series, ABC's The Bachelor – Paris. Lisa represented her home state of Kansas at Miss USA 2004 and Ms. United States 2010, placing in the Top 6. She competed at Miss Earth 2007 in the Philippines and calls the experience her single best pageant memory to date. Lisa is the owner of “Winning Edge” pageant consulting, developing talent and serving as state director for organizations including Miss Earth United States, Miss United States, and Miss World America. In 2016, Lisa was an integral part of establishing the new brand and infrastructure of Miss Earth United States, including choreographing the national production and training Corrin Stellakis, who was named Miss Earth Fire 2016. This spring, Lisa and her fiancé Chris welcomed a baby boy Giovanni.
Corrin Stellakis, Miss Earth Fire 2016. In October, Corrin represented the United States at the 16th Annual Miss Earth in the Philippines. In addition to placing first in swimwear and being named “Darling of the Media,” Corrin was named Miss Earth Fire, one of four international titles. She previously competed at Miss Teen USA 2014 and Miss World America 2015. Corrin attended Climate Reality Leadership Training in Houston, under the helm of US Vice President Al Gore and traveled to Nicaragua in support of World Missions Outreach, teaching sustainability to local students. Corrin recently opened a pageant coaching and personal training studio “Fit to Reign” in the Syracuse area of her home state of New York. She attended State University of New York in Oswego, studying social interaction and psychology.
Ayesha Gilani Taylor, Miss Earth Pakistan 2009. Ayesha is a reporter, producer, editor, and anchor on Capitol Hill and formerly hosted an international primetime television show at Voice of America. She also runs a television and multimedia production team with her husband. Ayesha is also a writer, speaker, model, actor, and holder of ten beauty pageant titles ranging from Miss Pakistan World 2009 to Mrs. District of Columbia USA Earth 2016. While competing internationally, she won the only continental title for Pakistan to date. She cites her favorite and most impactful international pageant experience as that of Miss Earth, when she represented Pakistan in the Philippines in 2009.
Luissa Burton, Miss Earth England 2016. Born in the United Kingdom, Luissa is a full time Ford Model based in Miami. In the Philippines, Luissa ranked as a Miss Earth finalist. She is proud to have won her national title on her third attempt, after placing as first runner up for two years. She held the title of Miss Globe England, placing 6th overall at Miss Globe 2012; competed at the Miss Model of the World contest in China, and represented Great Britain at Exquisite Face of the Universe modeling competition. Modeling since the age of 14, Luissa has walked in London Fashion Week and appeared in ad campaigns for Sony Music and Methodology X. She attended The University of Nottingham, earning a degree in Business Management. In addition to her dedication to environmental causes, Luissa is an ambassador for the British Skin Foundation and a Red Ribbon Model for Positive Runway, campaigning against the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Bayartsetseg “Bela” Altangerel, Miss Earth Mongolia 2015. Bela is an actress, known for Marco Polo TV series of NETFLIX. As Miss Mongolia, she represented her native country at Miss International 2014 in Tokyo, Japan; Miss Earth 2015 in Vienna, Austria; and Miss World 2016 in Washington, DC. During Miss Earth, Bela was a finalist and placed third in medal tallies out of 86 countries. She attained historic success for Mongolia at Miss World as one of the Top 11 contestants, winning the People's Choice Award and Miss Talent Award. She is an environmental activist who has been actively working for My Club eco community for last 10 years, which has planted over 250.000 trees with the help of its 3000 members against desertification in Mongolia.
Amanda Sowards, Director of World Missions Outreach. Originally from North Carolina, Amanda manages the community programming and public relations of a not-for-profit school and feeding program based in Nicaragua. WMO hosts over 150 school children each day, teaching basic studies, English and sustainability, and also manages 80 feeding programs throughout Managua. She is currently Ms. Earth Americas, competing at the international pageant in June. Previously, Amanda was Teen Miss North Carolina 2006 and competed for two years at the Ms. United States pageant. She holds a bachelors degree in Communications from Catawba College and a Broadcast Journalism degree from Carolina School of Broadcasting. Amanda enjoyed her time as a Radio Disney Morning show host for The Kids Concern show and spent a year as a media consultant for Clear Channel Media & Entertainment.
CJ Comu, CEO & Founder Chairman of EarthWater. Joining us from Dallas, Texas, Mr. Comu is a 25-year professional veteran on Wall Street, founding and operating five companies. He is also Chairman of the Board of Regus Advisors, Inc. and EuroCap Investments. A graduate of Langara College in Business Administration, Mr. Comu has pursued post-academic studies in marketing, finance, real estate and law. He is a speaker at Southern Methodist University (SMU) to the Business Graduate Program on Venture Finance and Business Strategies. He has conducted business in 20 countries, speaks several languages and has been featured in numerous articles and interviews. He and wife Phyllis are proud parents to two rescue Boxers and volunteer often with the SPCA and other animal charities. Thank you to Mr. Comu and his team at EarthWater for their commitment as the presenting sponsor of Miss Earth United States for the second year in a row.
Keeley Goldberg, Junior Miss Earth United States 2016. What better judge than one of the very young ladies we aim to inspire through the Miss Earth Organization. Age 14, Keeley just completed her first year of pageantry and has enjoyed gaining experience in public speaking, modeling and community service. As Junior Miss Earth United States, Keeley emceed a state pageant, traveled to Las Vegas for photography and was an Earth Day ambassador in the nation’s capital. A resident of Cincinnati, she loves to dance and is studying writing and photography. Keeley believes that pageants give her the chance to focus in school and learn from her elder queens. She hopes to continue her passion for dance at the collegiate and professional level.
Stephen P. Smith, Founder & CEO of Planet Beach & HOTWORX. Honing his entrepreneurial skills since 1986, Mr. Smith celebrates over ten years in business with Planet Beach and recently developed Hotworx franchising. He received a bachelors in Political Science from the University of Mississippi, a Masters in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix, and the Distinguished Certified Franchise Executive Designation from the International Franchise Association. From 1986-1989, Mr. Smith opened and operated Bodyplex Fitness Center, Bay Street Tanning Boutique, and was licensee of three Gold’s Gym locations until 1995. That year, Mr. Smith opened the original Planet Beach in New Orleans, first called Electric Beach. In 2017, the company launched HOTWORX Franchising, opening the first location in Mississippi in February. This patent-pending fusion of infrared heat and isometrics was created for users to experience the ultimate calorie burn through virtually instructed, hot exercise sessions.
Kim Elleen Atkins, C-SPAN host, Boston Herald columnist and fashion designer. Kim is the chief Washington reporter and columnist for the Boston Herald, focusing her coverage on the White House, Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court. She guest hosts for C-SPAN’s morning show “Washington Journal,” interviewing lawmakers, public policy experts and journalists about the issues on Capitol Hill. She frequently provides political and legal analyses on national television and radio networks including PBS, Fox News, NPR and Boston Herald Radio. In 2010, Kim launched her own clothing design business Kim Elleen Collection, a bespoke label featuring colorful bold custom prints and classic-yet-modern silhouettes. Her designs have been featured in fashion shows, magazines including Brides, Veux, Imagine, Luxe, Northern Virginia Magazine, Bliss and Façon Magazine and worn on red carpets from New York to Los Angeles.
Derek Tokarzewski, Owner of World Class Beauty Queens Magazine. A resident of Chicago, Derek founded the World Class Brand as a publishing umbrella for multiple magazines, including Teen Models, Kings, Designers, Movie Stars and sponsor of the Miss Earth United States cover girl contest – World Class Beauty Queens Magazine. The Magazine focuses on highlighting titleholders from around the world, sharing their success stories, examples of volunteerism and inspiring the next generation of pageantry. Having studied Animation and Media Arts at Illinois Institute of Art – Schaumburg, Derek excels in the industry of photography and was recently the Director of Visual Communication at Ascene Chicago. Derek will head to the stage this coming year as Mr. United Nations USA, competing for Mr. United Nations in Jamaica in 2018.
Dr. Mireya Mayor, Scientist and TV Presenter. Dr. Mayor’s exploits have earned her the nickname “the female Indiana Jones,” but the fashion-loving anthropologist always packs an accessory Harrison Ford’s character never would: a black dress — “should an unforeseen occasion arise.” A former NFL cheerleader, daughter of Cuban immigrants, and mother of six, Dr. Mayor followed her unlikely dreams. In short order, she became a respected primatologist, audacious explorer, National Science Foundation Fellow, Fulbright Scholar, and an Emmy Award-nominated wildlife correspondent for the National Geographic Channel. Her book Pink Boots and a Machete is available in bookstores worldwide.
Brittany Ann Payne, Miss Earth Water 2015. Brittany is recognized as the second highest ranking United States representative in the history of Miss Earth. During contests in Austria, Brittany ranked among 90 countries as second runner up and was named to the elemental court. This international title allowed her to represent the Miss Earth organization at activities in Colombia and Sri Lanka, as well as throughout the USA. During her reign, she appeared on the cover of Crowned Magazine, was featured in a Pageant Planet podcast and was interviewed on an internationally aired Univision talk show. Brittany is a familiar face within the Miss California USA pageant, ranking in the top five for two years. She is a passionate Vegan who cares deeply about the planet and environmental causes. She has dedicated her life to promoting healthier, natural eating habits, building self-sustaining gardens and educating others of the serious effects of climate change.
Steven Roddy, Founder of PageantPlanet.com. A former model and television host, Mr. Roddy was the youngest owner of a professional football team at the age of 23. He later formed a consulting firm specializing in making brands famous. He has consulted for movies, magazines, designers, and actors from Canada to Hawaii, and is known as one of the most sought after judges and hosts in pageantry. PageantPlanet.com is recognized as a global leader in pageant media and training, with a daily audience of over 300,000.
DJ SHALEIGH. Shannon Lynch is a DC-based DJ, audio engineer, singer and pageant competitor. She's currently earning a master's degree in audio technology at American University and holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She spends her days working at SiriusXM radio for a political talk show. Her pageant titles include Miss District of Columbia World 2015. Enjoy her music at shaleighmusic.com and follow her @shannonlynchdc on Instagram.
TBD. Winner(s) of the Miss Earth United States talent competition.
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