Paparazzi's Corner

Miss Thailand Universe 2007 – Crown

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Farung Yuthithum, 19, smiles after she was crowned Miss Thailand Universe 2007 in Bangkok March 25, 2007. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom (THAILAND)

Winning the Miss Universe Pageant is not a tall order for a girl recently crowned the most beautiful in Thailand.

Miss Thailand Universe 2007 Farung Yuthithum’s, nickname “Kwang” towering confidence soars from her 1.79m stature. “I feel I have an advantage because of my height. I’m actually the tallest Miss Thailand Universe ever,” purrs the elegant 19-year-old.

Why is it an advantage? I asked the five-feet-ten beauty queen. Silence. And then the seven Miss Thailand Universe 2007 finalists present during the interview started murmuring among themselves in their native tongue, all the while giggling at my ignorance.

“You know, most Miss Universe winners are tall. And Asian beauty queens are usually shorter than most of the other contestants,” explains 23-year-old Buachompoo Varee, Miss Thailand Universe 2007 second runners-up. “In this case, we have a tall Thai representing our country and this will bring out something different, something special”.

Miss Universe 2006 Zuleyka Rivera, a Puerto Rican, was 1.75m, adds Buachompoo, who is 1.66m tall.

Farung credits her height, which is above average for Thai women, to genetics (her father who is a provincial prison deputy director is 1.80m tall and her mother 1.69m), milk and a particular fish that has lots of protein.

In profiling the Miss Thailand Universe 2007, The Nation newspaper highlighted that the occasional cutting remarks targeted at Farung were “Is that perfectly pointed chin a surgeons work?” and “Doesn’t she resemble some of the better looking gender-bending Miss Tiffanys?”

The 33-24-33 beauty views the public snipping optimistically. “I’m glad they think my face is perfectly proportioned! My mother has sharp cheekbones like me,” she said.

“I’m not against surgery, though. If it makes you happy and others happy, then it’s okay, but it’s not like everyone needs it”.

The tall beauty with high hopes wishes to emulate her two compatriots who were crowned Miss Universe – Apasra Hongsakula in 1965 and Porntip Nakhirunkanok in 1988.

And in the Miss Universe pageant in Mexico in May, the towering beauty will convey Thai culture to the world.

“I’ll present the beautiful smile from the Land of Smiles,” says the third-year student, who is an English major at Rajamangala University of Technology in Thanyaburi, Thailand.

“Will English be a barrier for you?” I ask. Farung, who replied to my first question in English but subsequently allowed the US-bred Buachompoo to translate, says in Thai: “It is not a big deal because when we girls (the contestants) participate in the activities we will somehow be able to communicate. And if there comes a point in the pageant when I need to answer a question, there will be a translator.”

“Is there a secret place where Thai beauty queens are trained to win the Miss Universe pageant?” I query further. Laughing, she says, “none that I’ve heard of”.

And the beauty queen, who was described as the quietest Miss Thailand Universe 2007 contestant, will also work hard to unleash her hidden outgoing personality.

“It will definitely bring more attention to my country and make us more well known.

“The past Thai beauty queens have done the same and hopefully I can take it to another level in terms of my country’s economy and fashion industry,” she says in answer to my question on what difference her winning the title would bring for Thailand. Farung, who listed Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont as the political figure she admires the most, says other than winning the Miss Universe title, she would like to be an ambassador.

Nineteen years after Thailand clinched its second Miss Universe Pageant, it will also be an honor if the tallest ever Miss Thailand Universe rises to great heights in Mexico.

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