There were many other contestants in the 2018 Miss Universe beauty pageant that caught the hearts of the audience in Thailand and around the world, than just the eventual winner the Australian-Filipina Miss Philippines, Catriona Gray. There was also Miss Spain Angela Ponce, who despite never placing even in the Top 20 was remembered for being the pageant’s first transgender female contestant. Closer to the region is Miss Vietnam, H’Hen Niê, whose golden tan skin and short pixie cut carried her to the Top 5. Her personal story won her more admirers after the pageant even in the Philippines, which she just visited this week.
ABS-CBN News has it that H’Hen Niê, the Vietnam representative to the recent Miss Universe pageant held last December, arrived in the morning of Friday, February 1 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. She also had a welcome committee waiting in the form of her Filipino pageant coach Anjo Santos, whom H‘Hen greeted with a warm hug. In a video of their meeting which she shared on Instagram, H’hen expressed happiness at seeing her mentor again after her prep training for Miss Universe 2018. She then thanked the Philippines for her warm welcome.
It has not been revealed just what Miss Vietnam’s reasons for visiting the country are. Filipino fans of H’Hen however, are just happy that she has come over. Ever since special features were shown on local TV of Santos training her to become a Miss Universe contestant, and the news of how H’Hen had donated all prizes she had received to build libraries and support rural schoolchildren in her Vietnam hometown, she has been accepted by many in the Philippines as a kindred soul. Also a hit was how she bucked conventional beauty trends with sheer confidence, making her darker skin tone and haircut come across as more exotic instead.
Another post on her Twitter page showed H’Hen seeing the sights and sounds of Manila, and sampling the local cuisine. A series of photographs showed Miss Vietnam in Pasay, close to the SM Mall of Asia visible in her background. Her meal was chicken with vegetables, chicken adobo and some dried fish. H’Hen commented on the similarities between the Filipino tuyo and Vietnamese ‘Cá Khô, even boasting that a single dried fish was all she needed to finish off a bowl of rice back home.
While Miss Vietnam is going about on her Philippine excursion, Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray is currently busy fulfilling her commitments as titleholder with the Miss Universe Organization, and is currently based in New York City for most of 2019.
Image from H’Hen Niê Twitter