A photo of a beautiful young Mông woman wearing the ethnic group's traditional clothing while making food has drawn a lot of attention in the past week.
The photo features Vàng Thị Phương, 23, who lives in Tam Đường District in the northern province of Lai Châu. She was photographed by a tourist nicknamed Quang Victor from Hà Nội while baking sweet potatoes in her shop at the Cloud Dragon Bridge Tourism Site near Ô Quý Hồ Pass. It was first posted on the Facebook group PhuotLuon.com, a popular group for domestic travellers.
|The photo that has drawn so much attention. Photo Quang Victor
Phương told Việt Nam News that she was surprised to receive so many compliments for her appearance in the photo and friend requests on social networks.
Yet she has also read lots of comments accusing her of wearing traditional clothing to draw attention and others saying someone with her modern haircut couldn't be an ethnic minority.
“Such negative comments make me sad,” she said. “I really love my traditional clothes. I often wear them when working at my shop, except on really cold days.
“I think anyone can make up and live up to their nature. I don't think I'm harming or refusing my group’s traditional features,” she added.
|Phương often wears traditional clothes. Photo courtesy of Vàng Thị Phương
Phương graduated from the Hà Nội College of Technology and Commerce last year, majoring as a tour guide. She returned home and has not applied for any jobs as tourism companies have been seriously affected due to COVID-19. She got a loan from a bank to open a shop offering local food, beverages and delicacies at the tourism site. She also rents clothes for tourists to take photos.
“I think my homeland has diverse tourism potential with many tourism-based community villages, beautiful waterfalls and spectacular routes,” she said. “But not many people know about Lai Châu due to poor PR work.”
She said she is just doing her best to run the shop and tell tourists about her homeland as much as possible.
|Phương in a costume she offers for rent at her shop. She poses for a photo at the glass bridge, where she runs her shop. Photo courtesy of Vàng Thị Phương
“I hope more and more people will visit Lai Châu as the weather is mild all year round, which is suitable for relaxing tourism,” she said.
Her shop's success helps her to pay off the bank interest every month, though it is now temporarily closed to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
“I still want to work as a tour guide,” she said optimistically. “If the pandemic is under control and my shop runs well, I will continue to follow my interest as a tour guide.
“Whatever I do, I hope to make a small contribution to the development of my homeland,” she said. VNS
|Her modern look. Photo courtesy of Vàng Thị Phương