Miss Myanmar netted two awards at the Miss International Beauty Pageant 2012, which was held in Okinawa, Japan, on October 21.
After a 50 year absence from the annual pageant, Myanmar was represented this year by Nan Khin Zay Yar.
Although she did not make the shortlist for the main title, Nan Khin Zay Yar was given the People’s Choice Award, as well as the Miss Internet Award as the result of earning 21.5 million online votes.
“Although the internet connection is very slow in Myanmar, and only a small percentage of the population uses the internet here compared to other countries, the people of Myanmar cast the most ballots. I’m very proud of that,” Nan Khin Zay Yar said at a press conference in Yangon on October 24.
She said that even though she was not shortlisted for the main award, she was very happy to achieve what she did, against her own expectations. She pointed out that she received her invitation only 20 days ahead of time, while other contestants were invited months in advance.
“I participated in this competition because I want to promote our country to the rest of the world, and show our culture and traditional clothing styles,” Nan Khin Zay Yar said.
“I didn’t expect to win anything because I didn’t have as much time as the others to get ready. Some of the other delegates even had surgery to prepare. But our people really supported me so I got these two awards.”
She added that people from other countries even applauded her for the unity of her country.
“Someone even commented on the pageant’s website that the people of Myanmar show so much unity and pride. This person commented that he didn’t know whether Miss Myanmar was beautiful, but he applauded the support of Myanmar’s people,” she said.
Nan Khin Zay Yar said she planned to participate in social work in the future, to bless the people of Myanmar and repay them for supporting her at the pageant.
“While I was in Japan for the pageant we went to various forums about how to care for disabled children and how to develop education. Then we each gave reports on what we learned,” she said.
“I invited the organisations that led these forums to come to Myanmar, and I said that if they came I would help as much as I could.”
She said her next plan was to travel to her hometown in the Pa-O region of Shan State to give an inspirational talk.
“Most Pa-O people are not very well educated. As I’m a Pa-O girl, I will give a speech about the importance of education at the global level,” she said.
“I also plan to go to Taunggyi in Shan State to talk about the same thing. This will be the beginning of my social work for the people in Myanmar.”
The overall title at the Miss International Beauty Pageant 2012 was won by Miss Ikumi Yoshimatsu of Japan.