If you heard that tremendous blast of noise coming from Siam Paragon on Saturday night, blame it on the staff and students of Thammasat University.
No the school wasn’t conducting atomic experiments at the mall, but its collective reaction was absolutely nuclear when one of its own, Aniporn “Nat” Chalermburanawong, was crowned Miss Universe Thailand 2015.
Blessed (as they say in the universal beauty biz) with “international good looks”, the native of Lampang province up north edged aside Phuket’s Chavika “Yim” Watrsang to win diamond jewellery from Beauty Gem, Bt1 million in cash and a Toyota Prius.
“This is my first beauty contest!” 21-year-old Nat burbled to the press mob after the nationally televised pageant. “I was only hoping to be among the five finalists. To be named Miss Universe Thailand is an incredible privilege!”
A student of social administration, her ambitions in life are to help the underprivileged – and, alright, to get into show business.
“The motto of our faculty is ‘We teach the underprivileged so they can help themselves’ and, as Miss Universe Thailand, I hope to help as many people as I can. I also love modelling in fashion shows and I’m interested in acting in television soap operas.”
A lot of folks chattering online about the pageant pointed out that Nat, with her somewhat darker complexion and beautiful big eyes, resembles actress-model Araya “Choompoo” A Hargate. And with each passing day the two women’s lives became more and more alike – as the gossips arrived in hordes. Within two days the social media were loaded with photos of Nat, perhaps every photo ever taken of her, from cute northern kid to university sweetheart. Cue the musing about plastic surgery.
On Kapook.com someone got the rumour rolling. Then the social networks passed the ball swiftly down the field – just look at those pictures of her at different ages. In primary and secondary school her chin and nose look flatter, rounder, than they do now. Look at those orthodontic braces – okay, never mind them, everybody had them.
With Nat by now engulfed in meetings with sponsors and reporters, her old sister Anipan “Nita” went on Facebook to deny the plastic-surgery nonsense. She also pointed out that those braces helped get Nat crowned Miss Smile by Muang Thai Life Assurance.
“I want to explain to the gossips on the social media that my younger sister did not have plastic surgery. We would never spend money on surgery – we spent all our money on our daily needs and university tuitions. We’ve only ever had the dental braces.”
Okay, enough of that, then. The good news is that Nat has something else in common with Chompoo: tonnes of self-confidence. “I think it was my confidence and my ability to just be myself that won over the judges,” she told the press. “Next I want to prepare well for the Miss Universe contest coming up at the end of the year. The most important things for me are to improve my English and get a lot more physical training and talent coaching.”
You go, girl!