Monday, June 23, 2008

Miss Thailand Universe's 'fighting spirit'

Miss Thailand Universe, Gawintra Phothijakra, enters the beauty pageant ring this year as a Muay Thai warrior queen. The traditional Thai boxing outfit is her national costume. It was designed by Khon Kaen University student Sathapat Mulma.

Called "Spirit of Fighting", the maroon costume was fashioned from a pair of Muay Thai boxer's shorts, decorated with a golden bow at the waist and trimmed with bracelets and anklets. It also features a hooded cape.

Here's more on the costume from an article in today's Daily Xpress:

Sathaphat says he was inspired by how foreigners have often told him that muay thai is the first thing that comes to mind when they think of Thailand and how Thai women have become influential in the workforce.

"To reflect that strength, I wanted to show how Thais have the fighting spirit," he says.

Gawintra is pretty pleased with the outfit she'll wear in the Miss Universe pageant's national-costume competition.

"I like this one the most because it reflects my personality," she says, explaining that while femininity is important in beauty pageants, she's more the outgoing, playful type.

Gawintra is competing in the Miss Universe pageant, which this year is being held in Nha Trang, Vietnam. At 5' 10", the towering beauty from Chonburi Province -- daughter of a Royal Thai Navy officer -- is the tallest among the six contestants from Southeast Asia.

Presumably the midriff-baring Muay Thai costume has enough "Thainess" to pass muster with the Cultural Surveillance Center. Cultural watchdogs panned the outfit of 2007 Miss Thailand Universe Farung Yuthithum for being too ethnic. However, Thai journalists aren't too sure about some of Gawintra's other outfits. A Sunday Xpress article has more:

At a press conference in Bangkok, nervous reporters voiced concern that at least one of the evening gowns she'll be wearing in the competition is a little too revealing.

"The confidence is what comes first," she told them, displaying a good measure of hers. That's what wins the day, she said, not the costume.

The Miss Universe pageant will be broadcast on July 14.

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