The new Miss Universe Myanmar now goes forward to grande pageant in the Philippines
ZUN THAN SIN was crowned Miss Universe Myanmar last Thursday night, fulfilling dreams of fame and fortune shared with like-minded young women around the world.
Wearing No 24, Zun earned 10 million kyat in cash (Bt282,000) and the chance to represent her homeland in the 2017 Miss Universe pageant in the Philippines in January.
The Novotel Yangon hosted the local competition, organised by Soe Yu Wai of apparel firm Hello Madam. Sponsors included Thailand’s ICC International, which provided BSC brand cosmetics, swimwear and shoes for the contestants as well as two prizes – the Miss Healthy Skin by BSC Cosmetology and Miss Body Perfect by BSC Swimwear awards.
Among other celebrities, Aye Ne Win, grandson of former ruler General Ne Win, was on hand for the finale.
Miss Universe Myanmar 2013 Aye Chen Mo and popular rapper Sai Sai Kham Hlaing served as emcees.
This was only the fourth time Myanmar has held a Miss Universe pageant, Sai Sai pointed out, with the one in 2013 being the first in 50 years.
“I think Myanmar women are beautiful and kind-hearted,” said the star of the Thai-Myanmar movie “From Bangkok to Mandalay” coming to cinemas on this side of the border next month.
Bonds between our countries have become so warm that Thai journalists were invited into the makeup room as the 26 contestants prepared for the stage. No 24 struck us as a standout right from the start.
Zun Than Sin, 21, graduated in music from Yangon’s University of Arts and Culture and has been in beauty pageants before. She was one of the finalists in this competition two years ago, first runner-up in Miss Myanmar International 2013 and second runner-up in Miss Myanmar Thailand Friendship 2014, and competed in the Asia New Star Model Contest that same year.
“Beauty contests are a good way for Myanmar girls to improve themselves and their bodies, personalities and language,” she said. “Without contests like this, they’d get lazy!”
The Nation tested her with a beauty-pageant-type question –what’s the biggest challenge Myanmar is facing? Her reply: “We need to stop the war in the villages and cities. We need peace. We need to make Myanmar change a little. We need to try more and more to change and improve our country.”
Pretty good, and she idolises Aung San Suu Kyi. “She’s very smart. She does her best for our country. That’s why I like her. She’s my favourite.”
The proceedings opened with video of the contestants rafting, riding elephants and visiting an orphanage in Kachin State.
Then the contestants took the stage in evening dresses, followed by the swimwear segment. The sight of the contestants twirling around in bikinis drew a chorus of oohs and aahs. Most Burmese remain devoutly religious and women are modest in their dress, so the flashing of a little skin demonstrated that Myanmar is changing fast.
Zun got a somewhat tougher question during the interview segment – “What’s the most important thing for a woman?”
She answered with aplomb: “Having a heart for her children is paramount, a heart that’s blessed with loving kindness. And a pure heart is something every woman should preserve.”
BSC international marketing manager Chintana Chalermchaikit reckoned that Zun was the clear winner in terms of looks and presentation.
“She’s the best in terms of skin, body and height. Her English is quite good, too. So, to my mind, she looks international, which is quite important.”
While Zun also claimed the titles Miss Famous and BSC’s Miss Healthy Skin – each of which carried a cash prize of one million kyat – first runner-up Shwe Eain Si earned the Miss Body Perfect by BSC Swimwear award.
The writer’s trip was arranged by ICC International.