From 1960 to 1975, when the big screen was king and women’s roles were in flux, Thailand’s Dao Yua vixens sizzled. Loosely translated as “sexy stars,” Dao Yua reflected society’s dueling impulses to both exploit and shame more assertive expressions of female sexuality.
On screen they were the bad girls. The immoral women of loose values and hot passions tempting otherwise virtuous male leads away from their chaste, virgin-queen leading ladies. And off screen, these pioneering women were degraded as raunchy wreckers of “traditional values.” How little things change.
Even though the term Dao Yua continued on, the subtlety of these smoldering, nude-but-not-naked beauties vanished after another wave of change brought greater freedom of expression, and with it, straight-up pornography which left nothing to the imagination.
1. Preeya Rungrueng
One of the industry’s first sexy stars, Preeya Rungrueng was known for her role as a jealous ghost wife in Mae Nak Phra Kanong. For her sensuality, she became typecast as a temptress who used men to get what she wanted. She was one of the first actresses to be photographed for a liquor calendar
2. Malarin Boonnak
Malarin Boonnak first appeared on television in beauty pageants, but her acting career took off after she performed a hot, aquatic love scene with actor Chumpon Theppitak in her fourth movie, Ai Tui. Malarin then became one of the hottest sexy stars in the industry.
3. Kaenjai Meenakanit
Kaenjai Meenakanit’s figure was considered one of the best in the industry with a measurement of 37-25-38 inches. Among the top stars, she played the sexy, jealous girl type in over a hundred movies. Despite being a sexy star in the public eye, there were few scandals involving Kaenjai for the tabloids to gossip about.
4. Jomjai Jarintorn
A model-turned-actress, Jomjai Jarin was known for her stunning facial features and appeared in fashion shows. She went topless in her first movie Earth Water Wind Fire and continued to take it off in many more films.
5. Dolnapa Sophi
The rural girl who escaped the farm for the big city, Dolnapa Sophi became well known after a provocative love scene with lead Sombat Methani in director Dokdin Kanyamarn’s Chicken.
6. Kompat Attaraya
Kompat Attaraya was the daughter of A. Attarajinda, a famous novelist and screenplay writer. Her journey as an actress did not go smoothly after her father forbade her from acting and grounded her. Night after night, Kompat would reportedly escape through her window for the set.
Director Charlie Intarawajit, her father’s friend, gave Kompat the bad girl role in the movie Oh Lover. Her most controversial sexy scene was a catfight scene with Malarin Boonnak in which the bikini-clad pair clawed and scraped at each other on a wet, sandy beach.
7. Prim Prapaporn
Prim Prapaporn started as a supporting actress alongside the phenomenal leading star Mitchai Bancha. The name Prim Prapaorn was brought to the attention when she repositioned herself as a sexy star.
8. Wassana Chalakorn
Wassana Chalakorn was a model and singer before becoming a TV actress. She took a minor role in the film Siamese Cat which drew audiences to see its legendary leading lady, Petchara Chaowarat. However it was Wassana’s break-out performance that left the press discussing her sensuality after the credits rolled.
Plagued by tabloid scandals, Wassana eventually ditched her life as a cinema celeb and started a new life in the United States.
9. Sirikwan Nantasiri
Sirikwan Nantasiri won Thailand’s Miss Universe 1975, outshining other contestants with an hourglass figure and 170-centimeter height. A falling out with the pageant committee led to her widely reported decision to give up her title.
A rough past and lack of education were blamed for casting decisions which usually required her to bare flesh. Sirikwan was the first sexy star to be photographed nude for a liquor calendar. Her photos caused such a furore the wounded actress walked away from the spotlight and her film career.
10. Roonglawan Sripatimakul
Roonglawan scooped up awards on the beauty pageant circuit before landing a leading role as a prostitute in 1975’s Impurity. She was one of a very few leading ladies open to performing erotic scenes.
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