|VIENTIANE – Spectators were surprised when Phailinda Philavane, 19, a student at Rattana Business Administration College in Vientiane walked off with the Miss Laos title last weekend after already being voted Miss Photogenic and Miss Healthy.The 165-cm tall Phailinda walked away with the crown at the end of the first Miss Laos contest ever to be held in Laos, and featuring 23 finalists from around the country.
The winning beauty gave what judges at the Don Chan Palace hotel considered to be the best answer when asked what aspects of Lao culture impressed her the most.
“Lao women are beautiful both physically and mentally. This is particularly evident in their smiles, when they wear a silk blouse and long silk skirt, pin up their hair and wear a sash,” she answered.
Her response was enthusiastically received by the audience, who clapped loudly in appreciation.
Smiles and friendship
Phailinda also encouraged all Lao people, especially women, to welcome visitors to the SEA Games with smiles and friendship.
She received a crown worth 20 million kip (RM7,975), 50 million kip (RM19,938) in cash, a gold silk sash worth 1.5 million kip (RM598), a Build Your Dreams car worth 85 million kip (RM33,894.50), 45g of gold, an LCD TV and gift vouchers.
“I was so blissfully happy I was unable to stop my tears falling when I learnt I had won. This is the first time in my life I’ve won a contest like this and I’m overwhelmed to win the first Miss Laos contest,” she said as tears of happiness brimmed in her eyes.
“I think I won because of my confidence in answering the question, and my belief that I could do it. In addition, I had a lot of encouragement from my parents, and I think this helped me too.”
Phailinda said she will be a worthy recipient of the crown and a good model for Lao women in conserving Lao culture and spreading the message about its importance. She planned to demonstrate to the younger generation that Lao women are both beautiful and strong.
The runner-up was Vongphachan Vongvilasak, 21, from Champassak province, who took the Miss Friendship Vote. She received 15 million kip in cash (RM5,981), a gold silk sash, a CTV and gift vouchers.
In third place was Niphaphone Phommachan, 20, from Vientiane province while fourth place went to Souphaphone Inthavong, 19, from Vientiane and Chanpasong Sitthiphan, 18, from Attapeu province who was also voted Miss Popular.
Kesone Phon-arth, 20, from Champassak province was voted Miss Good Character.
Largest beauty contest
Originally 24 women were selected for the final but one of them, Bouddalay Latthachak from Xayaboury province, withdrew due to health reasons.
Phailinda, as Miss Laos 2009, will be considered a representative of Laos, and will act as an ambassador for Lao culture and traditions, both locally and internationally.
This is the largest beauty contest to be held in Laos and the first the government has been involved in.
The event aims to promote Lao culture, lifestyle and customs, particularly women’s traditional dress, and to raise awareness of the country’s unique culture amongst young people. The forerunner of the Miss Laos contest was Miss Apone Lao, which was first held in 2006.
The contest is organised by the ministry of information and culture with support from K&C Company and Lao Brewery Company, and aims to reveal the nation’s most beautiful and congenial women. – Vientiane Times/ Asia News Network