Back in 2006, Miss Thailand Lalana Kongtoranin was actually criticised because some people thought her profile as a medical student outshone her good looks and helped her win the crown.
BACK IN 2006, Miss Thailand Lalana Kongtoranin was actually criticised because some people thought her profile as a medical student outshone her good looks and helped her win the crown.
A few years ago she changed her look, cutting her hair short and dressing like a man. Fans loved the new Lalana, but ever since she’s constantly been asked in interviews about her “tomboy” appearance and her love life.
It’s still going on, with Lalana – now at the ripe old age of 28 – showing up on the cover of GM magazine, with another interview inside. It’s the usual stuff: are you a tomboy, do you like women?
“People keep asking me what I am,” she replies, “and I always tell them I don’t know, because I still love being beautiful, like any other woman. I still have breasts and I don’t bind them to flatten my chest like tomboys do.” She’s never considered having her breasts removed or reduced. “I like having breasts like a woman!”
Lalana says she prefers dressing like a man because it’s more comfortable. She feels ill at ease wearing skirts and putting on makeup. And, anyway, her boyish look today is just the way it was when she was a little girl.
The interviewer for GM being the persistent type (or perhaps just hard of hearing), Lalana is asked more than once if she “wants to be a man”.
“No!” she says, “and if you want to know the reason I don’t tell people I’m a tomboy, it’s because I’m not!”
Lalana explains with what we would characterise as superhuman patience that some people struggle to categorise themselves as tomboys, gay or anything else for that matter. And she doesn’t want to limit herself or her sexual orientation to being “just” a tomboy or “just” anything else.
Nor in her relationships does she restrict herself to either gender, she says. She gets involved with people based on how she feels about them and if they’re good-hearted, and it can be a man or a woman. Lalana’s dated a man, though she allows that she feels more comfortable being close to women.
Finally off the topic, Lalana gets to talk about her work as a resident in emergency medicine at Ramathibodi Hospital.
“I want to work on as many different kinds of cases as possible, so ER is the right place to be,” she says, adding that her ultimate aim is to run a free clinic for underprivileged people.
People these days view doctors in a different way, Lalana says. “They regard a doctor as someone who provides only the service, but for me the most important thing is being able to communicate with the patients properly. The better the communication, the less misunderstanding.”
Out of her doctor’s gown, Lalana is still working in show business, appearing on one television soap, hosting another TV show and modelling for magazines.