The Miss Universe 2019 pageant airs live tonight at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT on Fox. Although it’s still too soon to predict with certainty who will win this year’s competition, Thailand’s Paweensuda Saetan-Drouin and the Philippines’ Gazini Ganados are both front runners for the crown, according to BetOnline. Multiple betting websites have announced Drouin’s odds at +300, ahead of the second-favorite Ganados, who comes in at +500.
Julia Horta of Brazil, Zuleika Soler Aragón of El Salvador, Sylvie Da Costa Silva of Portugal, Madison Sara Anderson Berrios of Puerto Rico and Cheslie Kryst of the U.S. are all also top favorites this year, all with odds at +600, according to the betting site.
“This year’s contestants continue to raise the bar for what it means to be a Miss Universe. These women are diverse, ambitious and strong,” a betting source told Newsweek. “We have pilots, engineers, lawyers and a firefighter in this year’s class of Miss Universe competitors. Airing live from Atlanta for the first time ever, this year’s pageant will allow the audience to learn more about the contestants than ever before, with four opportunities for contestants to speak during the live telecast.”
Here’s what you need to know about the top two favorites for Miss Universe 2019, Paweensuda Saetan-Drouin and Gazini Ganados:
Before moving back to Thailand, Drouin studied kinesiology at the University of Calgary, graduating with honors. As a student she volunteered with a university program that developed special physical education programs for children with disabilities. She runs the “We are One” campaign which promotes equality and inclusivity among underprivileged children though sports, art, and music, as well as project ‘ABLE’, which adapt sports to improve the physical ability and self-esteem of individuals with disabilities, according to her Miss Universe bio.
Although Drouin represents Thailand, the Miss Universe contestant actually grew up in Canada, her father’s country of origin. “I know at heart that I’m Thai,” Drouin told The Bangkok Post. “I’d like to be able to say that I’ve studied. I did my history. And I’m able to go up there and I know that, for me, what makes us Thai people is that we’re open and that we accept people from different backgrounds.”
Drouin was the runner-up in Miss Thailand 2013, a Top 8 finalist in Miss Earth 2017, and most recently, Miss Universe Thailand 2019.
Ganados, a Filipina-Palestinian model, always dreamed of being Miss Universe Philippines. Ganados was raised by her Filipino mother, Carmencita Ganados, and her maternal grandparents in Talisay City in the Cebu province; she is a Graduate of Health Care Services NCII and Tourism Management from the University of San Jose Recoletos, and she works closely with several organizations that help “aged and abandoned” elderly people. She has also been an active advocate for HIV/AIDS education and prevention since college, according to her Miss Universe bio.
The Miss Universe contestant competed in Miss World Philippines 2014 and placed in the Top 13, according to Gulf News. On June 9, 2019, she competed in Binibining Pilipinas 2019 and won the title of Miss Universe Philippines 2019.
While competing in the national contest, she was asked how she hopes for more women to be present in the workforce. She responded, “If I win the crown tonight, what I will do is to promote my advocacy. My advocacy is for us women to fight for our rights and for elderly care and for us to be able to know that someone is loving and someone is pushing us to whatever ambitions we have. We will be able to rise from our decisions to whatever dreams that we have, goals that we have, and we will achieve it because of those values, those wisdoms that they gave us…”
Be sure to tune in Sunday, December 8 at 7 p.m. ET to catch the finals stages of the 2019 Miss Universe competition on Fox.