Beauty Pageants

Northern Marianas’ Maria Lael Terlaje competes at Miss Earth 2020 during COVID-19 pandemic


Maria Lael Terlaje, 19, is the official representative of the Northern Mariana Islands, a United States commonwealth in the Pacific Ocean, at Miss Earth 2020. It is the 20th edition of the annual international beauty pageant and it will be aired on FOXlife and TV5.

Terlaje is 168cm tall. Hailing from Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, she is a taekwondo practitioner and a music lover.

To win the Miss Earth 2020 crown, Terlaje has to beat 83 other candidates from all over the world. Including the Northern Mariana Islands, three countries from Oceania are represented.

The competition started on September 21, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reigning Miss Earth 2019 Nellys Pimentel, 23, of Puerto Rico will crown her successor through a virtual coronation night hosted by British journalist James Deakin, 48, who is based in the Philippines.

Like in the 19 previous editions, the three runners-up will also have titles. These are Miss Earth-Air 2020, Miss Earth-Water 2020 and Miss Earth-Fire 2020.

Prior to the coronation night, the candidates participated in the national costume competition, the evening gown competition, the swimsuit competition, the resort wear competition, the sports wear competition and the talent competition. The candidates were divided into four continental group namely Africa, Asia and Oceania, Europe and the Americas.

The Northern Mariana Islands’ representative did not win in any of the preliminary events. Still, she has the opportunity to win one of the four titles during the coronation night.


This is the first time Miss Earth is held virtually. All of the 19 previous editions were held in the Philippines except for the 10th and 15th editions, which were held in Vietnam and Austria, respectively.

Founded on April 3, 2001 and headquartered in the Philippines, Miss Earth promotes environmental awareness, conservation and social responsibility. It is one of the top four international beauty pageants along with Miss International, Miss World and Miss Universe.

If Terlaje wins a title at Miss Earth 2020, she will be the beauty pageant’s first ever titleholder from the Northern Mariana Islands. Watch her eco-video here:

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