Nonthawan “Maeya” Thongleng helped redefine beauty in Thailand – where perfect too often means fair skin and a Eurasian heritage – when she was named Miss Thailand World 2014 earlier this month.
The Southern beauty broke the spell and won the judges, as well as the public, with her confidence and beautiful skin tone.
However, Maeya’s natural beauty and much-discussed skin weren’t the only things to win her the crown. Here’s why we think so.
She helped girls see beauty can come in many forms.
Maeya’s victory is no more personal. Having literally been the only winning beauty queen with tan skin, she has become a new role model for young girls across the country to look up to, and has given hope to many interested in participating in beauty pageants.
And not only girls, even famed actress and host Panisara “Opal” Pimpru lavishly praised her for inspiring women across the country to believe that they can be beautiful whatever their skin color.
Earlier this week Opal tweeted a shrewd message to haters of Maeya, which won the internet with almost 9,000 retweets, reading “I just checked out the profile of those who said Maeya wasn’t beautiful. The lesson I learnt is that those who say others aren’t beautiful are those who are not very beautiful themselves.”
กดเข้าไปดูprofileคนที่คอมเมนท์น้องเมญ่าว่าไม่สวย สรุปได้สั้นๆว่า คนที่ว่าคนอื่นไม่สวย มักเป็นคนไม่สวยเอามากๆ ไม่เชื่อลองดูสิคะ 🙂
— Opal Panisara (@chocoopal) June 23, 2014
Genuine and generous, she’s a break from the usual pageant drama queens
All too often we see an ugly selfishness, jealousy and nastiness just off the stage of these “beauty” pageants. Maybe Maeya is a convincing fake, but her sincerity comes across on all channels. Remember the group photo of her and the two runner-ups?
In the pic, Maeya is obviously helping to conceal a wardrobe malfunction of her fellow candidate. She didn’t need to; she’d already won; the judging was over. But she did it anyway.
Even more was the answer she gave in the final round which eventually earned her the crown and won many hearts.
Host: What is the definition of a beauty queen?
Maeya: I believe that being a beauty queen is a dream of so many girls. And by their definition, beauty queens are beautiful inside and out. But for this pageant, I think that only inside out beauty might not suffice. We also need to have versatile abilities to compete with other countries on an international stage.
Maeya’s not just skating by on her looks, she is the definition of “versatility.”
Yes, she is a freaking versatile woman. This article would be long if I described her versatility in detail, so let me share some highlights:
She can golf.
She can play tennis.
She can do a hand-stand.
She can even ice-skate.
She can do traditional Thai dance.
She can emcee.
She can model.
She can sing.
She can sing luk krung.
And she can sing luk thung.
She actually had a freaking album!
But our pick? She fires up her own diva fan in this YouTube v-log. Anyone can top that?
We can add ‘tenacity’ to her versatility – she didn’t give up.
Some may know this was actually Maeya’s second go for Miss Thailand World. She competed three years ago but only managed to grab the Miss Photogenic award. The fact that she came back and won thus deserves to be mentioned in this list.
Here’s how she looked back at 2011’s contest:
Photos: Miss Thailand World 2011
Seriously, she looks like Pocahontas reincarnate.
Well, she has a Disney princess element in her. Can anything beat that?