After winning the Miss Ao Dai Viet Nam crown on January 5, supermodel Tran Ngoc Lan Khue will represent the country at the 2015 Miss World pageant. The 22-year-old student at the HCM City University of Social Sciences and Humanities talks with Thuy Hang about her latest victory.
Inner Sanctum: How did you feel when the contest's MC announced your name as the winner?
Although some people said I was very calm and seemed not very surprised to know the result, I have to say, deep in my heart, I felt extremely happy and delighted because my childhood dream to become a beauty queen finally came true. Unlike when I won the Viet Nam Supermodel contest in 2013, where I was exploding with happiness, this time I didn't expose my happiness too much as I've learnt how to control my own emotions.
Inner Sanctum: What is the difference between a supermodel contest and a pageant?
Unlike a supermodel contest, where contestants are judged based on their catwalk skill as well as how they pose in front of the camera, the Miss Ao Dai Viet Nam contest requires much more than that. The contestants also have to expose their inner beauty, their intelligence and their ability to deal with challenges. That's why the pageant winner represents both beauty and intelligence.
Inner Sanctum: What did you think when many people said you didn't represent a typical Vietnamese beauty, as you have a high cheekbone and square jaw?
I know my beauty is beyond the definition of typical Vietnamese beauty. Nevertheless, I'm very confident with those outstanding features. My high cheekbones catch the stage lighting, helping me to be brighter.
As you can see, most beauties winning international pageants have similar facial features to mine. By winning Miss Ao Dai Viet Nam, I hope to change the opinions of many Vietnamese people about women's beauty.
However, I think that beauty is brightest when it is accompanied by intelligence and confidence.
Inner Sanctum: What is your strong point that convinced judges to grant you the crown?
All of the 12 finalists living together in the "beauty castle" deserved the crown because we all were taught the skills required to be professional models, including make-up, getting fit and an international code of conduct, over 10 weeks. However, judges have keen eyes that can see the potential and strong points of every contestant. Although I was lucky to be chosen as the queen, I also understand that success just comes to me once I have a dream and try my best all the time to make it come true.
My experience as a model supported me significantly in this competition. However, it also put pressure on me. As many people think the appearance of a supermodel is not fit for a beauty contest, it was hard for me to prove that I could satisfy any contest criteria. At the moment when I wore the crown on my head, I realised that all my work was worth it.
Inner Sanctum: While some people don't appreciate your winning, many others believe that you can make a significant impression at the Miss World 2015 contest. Do you have any comment on this expectation?
The crown is not only an object to adorn your beauty. Once you wear it, you also bear a new pressure and responsibility. Aware of my new role, I will improve myself continuously to complete the mission of representing our country.
As Beauty with a Purpose is at the heart of Miss World, from now on, I will devote my time to some charity projects dedicated to disadvantaged children. I have nurtured ideas for those projects since I was living in the "beauty castle" with the other contestants. I will call on charity activists to join me to implement these projects.
Alongside the charity activities, I will also focus on physical strengthening and preparation for different challenges of the pageant.
Inner Sanctum: Despite winning Viet Nam Supermodel in 2013 and placing in the top three at the Asian Supermodel 2012 contest in Nanning, China, you don't seem to be much of a celebrity model, correct?
While I started my professional modelling career just two years ago, some current famous Vietnamese models took a much longer time to reach fame. That's why I'm not in a rush to gain my reputation because I believe in fate.
Thanks to the development of social networks and online media, some people grab the chance to make themselves known by scandals. I'm definitely not among those people. I want to prove my ability. I want to walk on my own feet. — VNS