HA NOI — The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will consider whether or not revoke the 2006 Miss Viet Nam title from Mai Phuong Thuy, awaiting further professional advice regarding her recent controversal "sexy" photographs, according to a ministry official.
|Controversial collection: A photo of Mai Phuong Thuy's Net Dep Xuan Thi (Young Beauty) collection is one being accused of vulgarising the image of traditional dress. — File Photo
"After carefully inspecting the controversal photo collection and considering the various public opinions, we realise this is a sensitive case," said ministry spokesperson To Van Dong at a press conference held on Monday.
"Many people believe the photographers have abused the image of ao dai (traditional long dress) to show the woman's body in a vulgar way."
"Besides, many photographers have raised their voices to protect the photo team, saying the collection is attractive rather than sexually inviting or provocative and that the artist's creativity should be promoted."
Thuy herself has confessed that when she posed for the photos four years ago, she was not mature enough to understand that such sensitive images should not be dispersed.
Dong confirmed that the ministry has not decided to revoke Thuy's title due to the photos. The ministry will wait for further considerations by concerned agencies before making their final decision.
He quoted the regulations on organising beauty contests, which stipulate that winners violating regulations or other laws causing negative attention to contests, may have their titles rescinded.
He also said the photo scandal was a good lesson for beauty pageant entrants who use the traditional costume to take photos.
"They should show the delicate and discreet beauty of Vietnamese women rather than explicitly show off curves of the body, which can harm the country's traditional customs," Dong noted.
The Net Dep Xuan Thi (Young Beauty) photo collection featured Thuy in a white ao dai, and was taken by photographer Quoc Huy, who later published it on his personal website. The photos were then published in several newspapers, which caused controversy and fuelled public debate.
The collection has received praise from various famed photographers, designers and other artists.
Thuy herself has apologised to the public in a recent letter, saying: "The photo team and myself just thought of the artistic value at that moment. If the message has failed to send, that's my own weakness in understanding and expressing it."
"We do not aim to ruin the value of traditional costumes and the image of Vietnamese women," she continued.
The head of the organising board for the Miss Viet Nam 2006 contest, Duong Xuan Nam, said the collection was "too sexy".
"However, it's not serious enough for us to take back Thuy's title," he said.
Thuy, born in 1988 in Ha Noi, has also been very active with charity work. — VNS