July 4, 2008
Bring it on
The Vietnamese contestant at next month’s Miss Universe pageant in Nha Trang is getting along well with the other girls but is keen to take them on.
Nguyen Thuy Trang, the 2008 Miss Vietnam Universe, has always had a high profile.
Trang, also known as Thuy Lam, was one of the 10 winners at last Sunday’s National Costume Show where she wore a dazzling, elaborately hand-embroidered ao dai.
In a less elaborate but stunning white traditional tunic, she was also among the five nominees for the Best in Ao Dai title at Thanh Nien’s charity show Duyen Dang Ao dai (Charming Ao Dai) last Tuesday.
Thanh Nien spoke to her to find out how she is preparing for next month’s Miss Universe grand finale.
Thanh Nien: How do you feel at the moment?
Nguyen Thuy Trang: I feel quite tired and under pressure, but I take good care of myself and keep to the schedule drawn up by the organizers.
I’m eating a little more than usual these days to gain some more weight.
You can’t see your family or friends now. Are you affected by this? Who is your roommate now?
I feel quite sad, but we still keep in touch by telephone.
I haven’t been in the best frame of mind since my family and I have to take care of many things [preparations for the contest] ourselves.
I’m sharing a room with Anya Ayoung-Chee of Trinidad and Tobago.
She is very nice and eager to discover Vietnamese cuisine.
You have lived for more than a week with the other contestants. What are your impressions of them?
They are quite different from each other but what they have in common is their sound knowledge of make-up, fitness and clothes.
From our conversations, I discovered they all got professional training to become beauty queens.
When representing their country at international beauty pageants, they get advice from agencies to choose outfits and performing styles.
This puts them at an advantage.
What aspects of Vietnam have you introduced to the others?
They ask me about a lot of things.
What they are most interested in is the ao dai I wore a few days ago.
I explained to them the differences between the traditional ao dai and stylized modern ones.
I also showed them the most attractive ways of sitting, walking and performing in the traditional Vietnamese costume while preparing for Thanh Nien’s charity show Duyen Dang Ao dai (Charming Ao dai).
They have all marveled at the bewitching, demure beauty of our ao dai.
The girls are also very excited about sampling Vietnamese cuisine.
They are so eager to try different dishes and I promised to show them around Ho Chi Minh City and introduce local dishes to them some day.
However, the hot weather has taken its toll on them.
The media blew up your last-minute change from Vo Viet Chung’s five-meter-long ao dai to a Thuan Viet piece at the National Costume Show. Were you affected by this?
My family and I were quite upset about it.
But I don’t read newspapers or care much about what people have said about me in the last few days.
My family and I have to take care of so many things on our own, so I really hope people are understanding.
I’ve been giving my best.
I always keep in mind that I participate in this pageant not just for myself but for my country, which spurs me on.
Actually, I didn’t think there would be such a fuss about my ao dai change.
I simply thought I’ll wear the outfit I feel most comfortable in while on stage.
Themed Vu khuc hac (Dance of Cranes), the ao dai designed by Thuan Viet was modeled on those worn by Queen Nam Phuong [wife of Bao Dai, the last king of Vietnam].
The outfit is a gorgeous blend of red and royal yellow, which accentuates the elegant grace of Vietnamese women and conveys a triumphal significance.
The combination of intricate hand-embroidered patterns in gilded thread, crystal, pearls and diamonds makes it a resplendent work of art.
The costume was to my liking and I think I made a right choice.
So what are your major difficulties now?
There are several difficulties ahead.
One of them is that we’re pressed for time, having to make preparations in just 15 days while the other contestants have had one year’s preparation before their coronation and entry into this pageant.
I don’t even have enough time for make-up, hairstyling and choosing outfits.
Some people don’t understand my worries; they just kept asking me to do this and not to do that, which stresses me.
I represent the host country, so I need to be stress-free.
I need everyone’s encouragement and cooperation to fulfill my mission.
What do you want to say before the pageant’s final stages?
I’m quite perplexed these days.
Encouragements from the audiences will be a great source of strength for me to compete in the pageant.
I promise I’ll make the most of what I have.
But I hope whatever the results are, I’ll always have everyone’s enthusiastic support.
Reported by Da Ly