Pageants Princess Paradise

Miss World 2000 contestants

Here come the girls. Fighting for their own sparkling glass (well, rhinestone) tiara. The Miss Universe Pageant tonight will bring together the some of the most dazzling women on the planet (though I think other planets in the Universe have neglected to send entries again this year). It’s no surprise that one of the most dazzling places on planet Earth, is such a draw to the pageant beauties. A backdrop befitting their admired backsides (and all their other parts).

The tough question is how does a judge begin to discriminate between diverse and stunning beauties? It is a question I’ve had to ask myself in terms of filtering the top beauties to include in the Maldives Complete “Beauty Base”. Literally thousands of the bright and beautiful are drawn to Maldivian shores every day. And in the Instagram age, most of them are sharing their most photogenic snaps. So, I’m using a rough methodology to filter the top ones for inclusion…

  • Profile
    • IMDB entries – profile as an actor
    • Social Media followers
  • Portraiture (Composition)
    • Waterside – The seascape is the centre stage of the Maldives’ colourful backdrop tapestry
    • No sunglasses – I find sunglasses make the picture less personal and compelling
    • Colours – Vibrancy of colours both in the background and of the outfit (and I’m not adverse to the poster doing a bot of post-production colour saturation with Photoshop)
  • Pose – more interesting poses flatter the subject and make the picture more interesting.
  • Portfolio (Completeness) – I aspire to get every resort and every country featured so the bar is lower for those I am missing.
    • Resorts
    • Countries
  • Pulchritude (Beauty) – ok, this is totally subjective.

A number of pageants have held their photoshoots in the Maldives (eg. Miss France). By far the biggest example, is Miss World 2000 which hosted in a variety of Maldives resorts for swimsuit shoots and is responsible for 9 of the top 20 beauty queens on the list (see ranking table below) is topped by Miss World herself, Priyanka Chopra…

1. Priyanka Chopra (India) – Nika: Miss World 2000 Pageant

Nika - Priyanka Chopra

2. Laury Thilleman (France) – Coco Bodu Hithi: Miss France 2011 Pageant

Coco Bodu Hithi - Laury Thilleman

3. Jamillette Gaxiola (Mexico) – One & Only Reethi Rah: Miss Mexico 2009

One and Only Reethi Rah - Jamillette Gaxiola

4. Ami Haruna (Japan) – Veligandu: Miss Tokyo

Veligandu - Ami Haruna

5. Patricia Kaiser (Austria) – Filitheyo: Miss World 2000 Pageant

Filitheyo - Patricia Kaiser

6. Anna Andress (Ukraine) – One & Only Reethi Rah: Miss Ukraine Universe

One and Only Reethi Rah - Anna Andress

7. Georgia Horsley (United Kingdom) – NIYAMA: Miss England 2007

NIYAMA - Georgia Horsley

8. Linda Lindorff (Sweden) – JA Manafaru: Miss Sweden

JA Manafaru - Linda Lindorff

9. Luo Zilin (China) – The Residence: Miss China 2011

The Residence - Luo Zilin

10. Jimena Rico Toro (Bolivia) – Sheraton Full Moon: Miss World 2000 Pageant

Sheraton Full Moon - Jimena Rico Toro

11. Jacqueline Ntuyabelikwe (Tanzania) – Angsana Ihuru: Miss World 2000 Pageant

Angsana Ihuru - Jacqueline Ntuyabelikwe

12. Carina Tyrell (United Kingdom) – Cinnamon Dhonveli: Miss England 2014

Cinnamon Dhonveli - Carina Tyrell

13. Jessica Buch (USA) – Coco Bodu Hithi: Miss IN Teen USA

Coco Bodu Hithi - Jessica Buch

14. Ivanka Peytcheva (Bulgaria) – Filitheyo: Miss World 2000 Pageant

Filitheyo - Ivanka Peytcheva

15. Yulia Obraztsova (Russia) – Cheval Blanc Randheli: Miss Moscow

Cheval Blanc Randheli - Yulia Obraztsova

16. Renee Henderson (Australia) – Filitheyo: Miss World 2000 Pageant

Filitheyo - Renee Henderson

17. Vanessa María Cárdenas Bravo (Venezuela) – Filitheyo: Miss World 2000 Pageant

Filitheyo - Vanessa María Cárdenas Bravo

18. Rhonda Rosemin (Trinidad and Tobago) – Nika: Miss World 2000 Pageant

Nika - Rhonda Rosemin

19. Olena Scherban (Ukraine) – Sheraton Full Moon: Miss World 2000 Pageant

Sheraton Full Moon - Olena Scherban

20. Elodie Paillardin (France) – Coco Bodu Hithi: Miss France Pageant

Coco Bodu Hithi - Elodie Paillardin


Name Country Resort Total Points Notes Instagram Followers Twitter Followers Facebook Likes/Followers YouTube Views
1 Priyanka Chopra India Nika 26 Miss World 2000 Pageant





2 Laury Thilleman France Coco Bodu Hithi 14 Miss France Pageant




3 Jamillette Gaxiola Mexico One & Only Reethi Rah 11 Miss Mexico 2009




4 Ami Haruna Japan Veligandu 11 Miss Tokyo




5 Patricia Kaiser Austria Filitheyo 10 Miss World 2000 Pageant





6 Anna Andress Ukraine Reethi Rah 9 Miss Ukraine Universe




7 Georgia Horsley United Kingdom NIYAMA 9 Miss England 2007



8 Linda Lindorff Sweden JA Manafaru 8 Miss Sweden



9 Luo Zilin China The Residence 7 Miss China 2011




9 Gabby Epstein Australia Loama at Mamagilli 6 Miss Universe Gold Coast




10 Jimena Rico Toro Bolivia Sheraton Full Moon 6 Miss World 2000 Pageant


11 Jacqueline Ntuyabelikwe Tanzania Angsana Ihuru 5 Miss World 2000 Pageant


12 Carina Tyrell United Kingdom Chaaya Island Dhonveli 4 Miss England 2014




12 Jessica Buch USA Coco Bodu Hithi 4 Miss IN Teen USA



14 Ivanka Peytcheva Bulgaria Filitheyo 3 Miss World 2000 Pageant


15 Yulia Obraztsova Russia Cheval Blanc Randheli 3 Miss Moscow


16 Renee Henderson Australia Filitheyo 3 Miss World 2000 Pageant


17 Vanessa María Cárdenas Bravo Venezuela Filitheyo 2 Miss World 2000 Pageant


18 Rhonda Rosemin Trinidad and Tobago Nika 2 Miss World 2000 Pageant



19 Olena Scherban Ukraine Sheraton Full Moon 1 Miss World 2000 Pageant


20 Elodie Paillardin France Coco Bodu Hithi 1 Miss France Pageant

Best of the Maldives: Glass Studio – Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi glass studio pieces

When people think “Maldives” and “glass”, they think about the dramatic glass floors that have become de rigeur in the luxury water villas. These transparent apertures provide a portal to the main event of the Maldives – its colourful seascape below. Now Soneva Fushi is producing visions of glass just as striking and stylish…but you can take home with you. Soneva has opened a glass studio on the resort to create all sorts of aquamarine pieces of art.

Furthermore, the pieces are not only a memento of your experience, but are literally a part of your experience. The eco-obsessed Soneva uses only discarded glass from the island. So you can take home that bottle of the wine you drank in the form of a glass to commemorate your stay.

“The first glass studio in the Maldives has opened at Soneva Fushi, the award-winning luxury resort located in the Baa Atoll, where guests can watch world-renowned glass artists create objects of art, and learn the art of glass blowing. The state-of-the-art facility also includes a retail boutique and art gallery, which are designed as platforms to exhibit the work of the Maldivian and international glass artists. The facility uses only waste glass materials used at Soneva resorts and other resorts in the Maldives. It is estimated that more than five tonnes of glass waste is produced by resorts in the Baa Atoll alone, every month. ‘The idea behind this project is turn the glass into something that is much more beautiful and valuable than it was in its previous state.’”

A few years ago, our daughter gave us a Christmas gift of a session in a glass studio and it was fascinating. Not only did we get to watch and contribute to the molten fluidity of working with the hot glass, but we also took home two tree ornaments that we designed and helped “blow”.

If Maldives is the Venice of the tropic, then Soneva is now its Murano.

Soneva Fushi glass studio exterior

Best of the Maldives: Glass Sided Pool – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa - glass sided pool

You can have your very own personal glass sided pool at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa with its Sunset Two Bedroom Water Suite. As much as I applaud its uniqueness, I must confess I question its usefulness. You can’t look out the glass sides. That is, unless you are doing some snorkelling in the pool. Snorkelling in the Maldives might be the best in the world, but I’m not sure that the pools are really included. And as far as looking in from the other side, I’m even less sure. One of the biggest perks of a private pool (so I hear) is being able to skinny dip. And one of the most requested characteristics of the resorts is privacy. I think a glass-sided pool might just be the least private pool.

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa - glass sided pool 2

Best of the Maldives: Pool View – NIYAMA

NIYAMA - float centre for dive training

Another translucent pool of blueness to peer into (as well as another great lead by adjunct correspondent, Paola). NIYAMA’s “FLOAT” centre for dive training. Over the years, I’ve seen a number of folks taking intro-to-SCUBA courses in the pools and lagoons while other family members look on or take photos. NIYAMA’s unique set up provides the perfect setting for those Instagram pix of the first breaths underwater.

Best of the Maldives: Maldivian Beauty – Coco Bodu Hithi

Coco Bodu Hithi - Raudha Aathif - advert

Athif Raudha is literally the face of the Maldives. She displays the classic sun-kissed, delicate features of the Maldivians, except for one extremely striking exception. While most Maldivians have dark brown eyes, hers are an iridescent blue more like the cerulean sea that surrounds the country. Even her Facebook handle is “Wild Blue Lustre

Her captivating look has drawn her into modelling for a number of years now including Coco Bodu Hithi’s recent campaign (see above). She is also a favourite subject of artistic fashion photographer Alexey Vladimir (in fact, her red hooded portrait featured in yesterdays Christmas Red post is Alexey’s Facebook Profile picture).

Raudha agreed to do a first-ever, exclusive interview with Maldives Complete to share some insights into this intriguing poster child for Maldivian beauty (thanks Paola)…

  • How were you “discovered”, ie. how did you get started?

It was always a hobby, because I grew up posing for pictures. But it wasn’t until I did a few shoots with Sotti (a professional photographer) that things really kicked off. I started getting offers for ads, and I always had people advise me not to take any of them until something good came up. And that worked out quite well.

  • What was your first modelling gig?

If I remember correctly, it was something like a PSA, for national TV, encouraging people to stop using plastic bags, and choose eco-friendly stuff. I was 14 years old, and quite the environmentalist, so, naturally very happy to be a part of it.

  • Do you have an agent?

I don’t. Anyone’s free to contact me directly, regarding any business.

  • Where did you get your distinctive eyes from (do other members of your parents families have similar eyes)?

My paternal grandfather, his eyes were a sort of dark hazel. And my beautiful great grandmother had a greyish blue.

  • What types of work would you like to do in the future?

Contrary to popular belief, modelling isn’t all I want to do with my life. I’d like to work as a doctor, in many places all over the world. I’m leaving to Bangladesh to study for a Bachelor s of Medicine next month. And that, becoming a doctor, has been my dream, and primary interest, since I was 5, maybe.

  • Is there a model whose look/work you most admire?

I can’t possibly name just one. Adriana Lima, Cara Delevingne, Angelina Jolie. And I can never leave out Deepika Padukone. These women are beautiful, inspiring, and I love them for the things they stand for.

  • What’s been your most lucrative modelling gig?

That would definitely be working for Sotti in his “Maldives” series.

  • What’s been your most enjoyable modelling gig?

A collaboration shoot with Alexey Vladimir, where I got the chance to entertain my inner daredevil. I had to make my way to the middle of the reef. Beyond an area called Usfasgandu in Male’ where there’s a destroyed, unused platform-like bit covered with seaweedy things. Between land and the platform, we had steep, slippery tetrahedral rocks to climb down, then the reef, with more rocks and sharp corals. Strong waves too, because it was a rainy day. Had I slipped or fallen over, or lost my balance with an incoming or outgoing wave, my face would be in coral hell. And then I didn’t fall. And it was all done with me in a full length dress. I LOVED it. The result was a beautiful picture titled “The Night”. Everyone lived happily ever after.

  • Are any particular pressures you face doing modelling?

Well, before a shoot, there’s almost always pressure. A weird, unspecific kind. Ha ha. I suppose it’s natural, wanting to do well, feeling nervous for how it’s going to turn out. But once it starts, it’s always fun and an amazing experience. I’ve been lucky to work with great people.

  • Any pet peeves when you are working modelling?

I think the only thing would be, when people fail to communicate very well. Maybe my friends think otherwise, and I don’t express this very often. But, I actually have very little tolerance for rude or bossy people.

  • What are your favourite pastimes?

Modelling IS a pastime for me! Ha ha. Okay seriously though? I have phases. All in all, I love learning new things. And a lot of that happened while I worked at the military hospital and then IGMH, for a year and a half.

Besides that, I’ve also had my time with yoga, painting, dancing. At school in India, I played the congas – that was fun. And also failed quite terribly at singing. When I want to laze around, there’s always a good book to get lost in. Most recently, I’ve taken up open water diving and trying to play the piano. New things are excitingly endless, you know.

Coco Bodu Hithi - Raudha Aathif portrait

Hall Decked out for Christmas

Maldives Santa dreamstime licensed

12 Days till Christmas and the holiday festivities are getting into full swing with mistletoe hanging and egg nog flowing. Time to bust out the yuletide garments for the Christmas lunches and yuletide parties. No chance of a Christmas jumper in the toasty Maldives so anything red will do. If you are looking for some fashion inspiration, I’ve assembled 12 Maldivista beauties with some style possibilities for you…

1. Viki Maldives (Russia) – Anantara Dhigu

Anantara Dhigu - Vik Voynikova - Christmas

2. Yuliia Pliuta (Russia) – Taj Exotica

Taj Exotica - Yuliia Pliuta - Christmas

3. Helen Flanagan (United Kingdom) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

4. Reni (Poland) – Rihiveli Beach

Rihiveli Beach - Reni - Christmas

5. Tikka Filliaert (Indonesia) – Vadoo

Vadoo - Tikka Filliaert - Christmas

6. Georgia Horsley (United Kingdom) – NIYAMA

NIYAMA - Georgia Horsley - Christmas

7. Raudha Aathif (Maldives) – Coco Bodu Hithi

Coco Bodu Hithi - Raudha Aathif - holidays

8. Camille Brady (USA) – Maalifushi

Maalifushi - Camille Brady - Christmas

9. Sabrina Tubic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) – Paradise Island

Paradise Island - Sabrina Tubic - holiday

10. Kelly Lin (Taiwan) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa - Kelly Lin - Christmas

11. Jyotsna Shankar (USA) – Maafushivaru

Maafushivaru - Jyotsna Shankar - USA

12. Nicole Warne (Australia) – Amilla Fushi

Amilla Fushi - Nicole Warne - Christmas

Seasons Greetings!

Maldives Santa dreamstime licensed 3

Best of the Maldives: Double Pool – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru - double pool 1

In the opulent designs of the Maldives resorts, the pools themselves can be objets d’art themselves. One of the most spectacular is Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru’s Three Bedroom Estate’s pool. A two-tier construction with the upper pool sheltered under a thatched roof (see above) overflowing to form a waterfall to the one below (see below). Sort of a tropical variation of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Falling Water”.

Four Seasons Landaa Giravaru - double pool 2

Best of the Maldives: Towel Swans – Sun Siyam Irufushi

Sun Siyam Irufushi - towel swans

Another twist on a Japanese art form are the increasingly elaborate origami-esque towel sculptures. The terry cloth swan is now appearing at a number of resorts (including our blockbuster bed decoration at Zitahli Kudafunafaru). But Sun Siyam Irufushi has taken the cygnet sculpting to a new level with it petal adornment and highlights (thanks to NikBie on TripAdvisor from his review there).