This rags-to-riches supermodel who once sold rice cakes on buses to support her family is to represent her country at the 2019 Miss Universe beauty pageant.
Hoang Thuy, 27, who first came to fame by winning the Vietnam’s Next Top Model reality TV show in 2011, will compete to be named the world’s most beautiful woman.
She has been chosen to represent her country at Miss Universe despite only being named first runner-up in the Miss Universe Vietnam contest in 2017.
Thuy was chosen because the winner, H’Hen Nie, 26, competed in the 2018 Miss Universe, coming fifth, and Vietnam has not staged another national contest since.
Thuy was born to a poverty-stricken family of four daughters in the commune of Thien Lam, in the Tinh Gia District of northern Vitenam’s Thanh Hoa Province.
As a child, she sold rice cakes on public buses to help support her family but managed to complete her education and go on to university.
She studied at Hanoi Architectural University before being selected to complete in the second season of Vietnam’s Next Top Model which put her on the path to her modelling career.
Thuy was initially rejected by several major agencies but sent her portfolio by email to all the designers participating in the Autumn/Winter 2014 London Fashion Week.
London-based fashion designer Jean Pierre Braganza booked her for four catwalk shows and she subsequently also appeared on the catwalk at New York Fashion Week.
Thuy signed with PRM Models in London in 2015 and she became the first Vietnamese model to landed fashion spreads in Elle and Grazia magazines.
She said: “I keep reminding myself what I have been doing for the past few years was founded on a dream to make Vietnamese models and people known to the world, so this is a golden opportunity I must seize.”
The date and host country of the 2019 Miss Universe contest has not yet been announced.