BANGKOK — A fine arts student has been crowned Thailand’s representative to the world’s oldest international beauty pageant.
Narintorn “Grace” Chadapattarawalrachoat, 21, was crowned Miss Thailand World 2019 at the Berkeley Hotel Pratunam Saturday night. The fourth-year student at Thammasat University’s Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts received a million baht, a crown of pink sapphires, and a car.
“When I started competing, some people said I was too chubby,” Grace said. “But everyone saw how I’ve tried to improve myself, as well as my efforts to work on my campaign to help people with depression.”
All Miss World contestants must promote a cause or charity, and Grace plans to open a volunteer program called “Let Me Hear You” that focuses on psychological counseling, with an emphasis on depression.
“Suicide rates are increasing. Patients do not want to tell loved ones they are seeking psychological counseling. So I came on this stage to erase that kind of wrong thinking,” she said. “I want society to better understand people with psychological problems and accept and respect them, instead of looking at them with disgust.”
The final question posed to contestants during the pageant was, “What qualities do you have that will make the world understand what Thainess is?” Grace answered that she possesses that special “Land of Smiles” spirit.
“I’m someone who smiles with a fighting spirit, whether I’m happy or feeling bad. Not only do Thai people have beautiful smiles, we also smile through hard times to get through problems and obstacles that come our way,” she answered.
In an earlier round, Grace answered the question, “What do you live for?” with, “Learning. Learning is an endless process and helps us to continually develop. If we stop learning, then we stop living.”
Miss World Thailand was Grace’s first time entering a pageant, but her family are no strangers to the stage. Her grandfather, Sukrin Boonrit, was Thailand’s first Elvis impersonator. Her grandmother, Duangrudee Poonpat, was the second runner-up in the Miss Asia Pacific International pageant in 1969.
Despite speculation that Miss World 2019 would be held in Thailand, Miss World President Julia Morely announced on July 2 that the finals this year will be held on 14 Dec. in London. Miss World 2020 will be held in Thailand.
First-runner up went to Pamolchanok “Paen Film” Dilkrutsakul while the second runner-up is Dusita “Ners” Tipkomut.