21 May 2024

“[Beauty pageantry] is not about how beautiful or how perfect your body is, but women can express who they are, and what they have done for society.”

Miss Face of Humanity

Nuttha “Bew” Thongkaew is among many beauty queens who have remained above any criticism and are now standing up for other women, enabling them to be self-confident.

Before she managed to develop her self-esteem, as Nuttha reflected on her childhood, she saysshe was often told that she was not beautiful enough because of her dark skin. Therefore, she was never chosen to take part in any of the school activities.

“To be honest, it hurts me sometimes, but I never felt bad or insecure about myself,” she explains. “Now I am here to represent young girls and women who are in a situation where their self-confidence is diminishing.”

This December, she will be participating in the Miss Face of Humanity competition, which will take place in Toronto, Canada.

Not only is she proud to be the first Thai representative in this pageant, but Nuttha explains that this pageant is also different from other competitions in which she has previously competed. She explains that the Miss Face of Humanity competition focuses mainly on the contestants’ social movements, as well as debating solutions to existing global issues, such as enhancing education, ending human trafficking and poverty issues.

“The uniqueness of this competition is that the organisation provides a global platform for women, to spread their advocacies and campaigns for the largest possible impact.”

Beauty pageants VS politics

Having competed in several pageants before, Nuttha believes that being a beauty queen is not only about showcasing their beauty on stage, but also how they are determined to speak up about social issues and to stand up for the communities they are representing.

“We have heard many speeches at beauty pageants that contain impactful messages whichopen the window to discussion of social problems.”

Expressing their stands on politics and social issues is becoming normal in beauty pageants around the world. Being outspoken, however, can also put contestants at risk of becoming a target for those who oppose their views.

I have had the opportunity to work for social causes and I got to “touch” the truth of people‘s lives, and to learn that everything is politics and politics have completely penetrated our daily lives.”

Therefore, Nuttha believes that people should be able to talk about politics, and that beauty pageants should be a platform for women to freely express those views without fear.

Not just a competition

Aside from her competition, Nuttha has been working on her campaign “One More Chance”helping underprivileged people, particularly prisoners, by giving them more opportunities and improving their quality of life.

Recently, she also collaborated with Amnesty International to enhance her campaign, teaching former prisoners and marginalised groups about how to protect themselves against COVID-19.

As she has been active through her social work, Nuttha also believes that Miss Face of Humanity is not just a competition, but is also a revolution to make positive changes in societyand an opportunity to share their advocacies to the world.

“This is not just about women’s empowerment, because we are given a platform where we can speak and act for certain causes. We are making a positive change in collaborative cultures, not only for women, but for human dignity.”

Celebrate the strength within you

When asked what empowerment means to her, Nuttha says that “It is all about you, to create your own beauty with your attitude, your power and your actions.”

“Just embrace and appreciate who you are and what you have in your life. We are all different and that’s very special. Celebrate the strength within you. Trust the next chapter in your life, because you are the author, and just go confidently in the direction of your dream.”

By Nad Bunnag, Thai PBS World