BANGKOK — With only two weeks left until the crowning of Miss Universe Thailand 2019, let’s take a look at the fan favorites.
The 58 contestants still in the running went to pay their respects at the city pillar on Thursday, an annual pageant ritual. The night before, the women made their first collective appearance at Central Embassy, all wearing yellow to honor King Rama X.
The final round of the national pageant will be held June 29 at Nong Nooch Tropical Garden in Pattaya, Chonburi.
Auditions started on June 1, when judges selected contestants from walk-ins and awarded 8 women the “Golden Tiara” (the “judges’ choice” prize): Paweensuda “Fahsai” Drouin, Miriam Sornprommas, Praewatchara “Gwang” Schmid, Thanatchaporn “Bella” Boonsaeng, Varisara “Ying” Boonpetch, Kim “Kimmy” Docekalova, Nuttawan “Nhoom Nhim” Matchimwong, and Kansuda “Mimi” Chanakiri.
One of the favorites to win is half-Canadian Fahsai, who was not only a runner up in the pageant in 2017 but also Miss Earth Thailand 2017. The rest of the roster includes many half-Thais: model Miriam is half-American, stewardess Praewatchara is half-Swiss, Kim is half-Czech, and Mimi is half-Karen Burmese hailing from Mae Sot.
During her audition, Mimi made judges cry with her story of travelling from rural Tak on her own without any managers, sponsors, or adequate pageant clothes. She cannot speak English and replied to the question “How old are you?” with “I’m fine, thank you.”
Still, she was able to field some difficult questions, including one that asked her opinion on the Rohingya plight.
“They are also human like us, with hands and feet. But in Myanmar, they divide society up so much so this problem happens. I want Burma to realize that they are people and take care of them,” Mimi replied. “Every nationality should be able to live and be happy together, just like how I’m happy living in Thailand.”
Nhoom Nhim is a former member of Thailand’s national women’s basketball team, while Ying is studying for her doctorate in stem cell research at Zhejiang University in China.
Interestingly, Miriam’s Instagram features a photo of her with Thai flag whistles – the kind that were used in the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protests that ushered in the 2014 coup.