11 July 2024

Love was in the air in 2022, especially the romance among a male couple as portrayed in the popular series “Y” (Boy Love Drama) and reflecting the wide acceptance of LGBTQ+ in Thai society. That about sums up the 2022 entertainment news and, for once, makes that point that juicy news can be dominated by good vibes.

The Thai Entertainment Media Association said that it tried to keep the annual “titles” (which some might well interpret as labelling) as positive as possible this year. Perhaps that’s because it is way too challenging to make them “ugly” as the big news this year is about love and not heartbreak and rivalry.

And the names are …

Love birds breaking through on the movie scene: Naphat “Nai” Siangsomboon and Pimchanok “Baifern” Luevisadpaibul
The public was thrilled to learn that their platonic friendship had ended when Nai revealed that he and close girl pal Baifern were no longer just pals. This is what their fans had been waiting for, so it took no one by surprise that they have become the most popular and endearing couple of 2022.

The Saint of Mekong River: Phakin “Tono” Khamwilaisak

Singer-actor Tono put on a charity swim that raised close to 60 million baht to donate to two hospitals in Thailand and Laos. Entitled “One Man and The River”, the campaign brought praise but also criticism and concerns over his safety. Despite all the drama, he managed to make it across the river and give money to charity.

Drama Queen: Engfa Waraha

Whatever Engfa does makes headlines. She was the subject of gossipy news even before she entered a beauty pageant and was crowned Miss Grand Thailand. Despite all the gossip and sometimes very damaging news, Engfa has stayed strong thanks to her impressive fan base.

Imaginary friends in real love: Kirt “PP” Amnuaydechkorn and Putthipong “Billkin” Assaratanakul

Growing their romance on and off-screen, PP-Billkin have remained highly popular throughout the year and have strong and large fan bases who show up wherever they go and whatever they do. The two are also one of the most sought after celebrity couples for marketing events.

Woman who promotes mango and sticky rice on world stage: Danupha “Milli” Khanatheerakul
Rising rapper Milli gave Thai people something to cheer about when she took mango and sticky rice to a world stage – literally. Eating Thailand’s favourite dessert on the international concert stage soon went viral, and Thailand’s soft power (food) received a big boost.

Rivals of the crowns: Nawat Itsaragrisil and Jakkaphong “Anne” Jakrajutatip

Thailand has witnessed rivalry among beauty queens at various competitions but the gossip got way juicer when the organizers of two beauty pageants didn’t see eye to eye. Nawat owns the Miss Grand Pageant while Anne has just bought Miss Universe organization. Both are outspoken and like to pick on each other. No sign that either will be extending an olive branch.

She who slaps: Ornapa “Mah” Krisadee

After stepping down from hosting a few TV shows, Ornapa kept a relatively low profile and did not make it into the news until she was accused of abuse by a younger actor. The young actor showed police and media a clip in South Korea where he was slapped on the face by the senior TV host.

Herb-activated bromance: Rachata “Jam” Hampanont and Thanapat “Film” Kawila

The popularity of “boy love” between Jam and Film is the result of the high-rated drama series in which the two play. The series storyline involves herb and poisons and has so many twists and turns that they end up falling in love. Unlike PP and Billkin, the two are not a couple in real life but fans prefer to imagine that they are.

Man who makes misery vanish: Kanchai “Num” Kamnerdploy.

Num’s news talk “Hon Krasae” often extends helping hands to those who are suffering. Sometimes the actor-turned-newsman acts like a petition centre for big cases. He has done them all – big crime, domestic problems and disasters. Recently, he made it into the headlines after hinting at the romance of couple of the year Nai and Baifern. He spilt the beans to help Nai break the news to the media and approach Bai Fern, his close female friend, that he would love to move from just friends to something more romantic. Num’s now being teased about adding a cupid role to his CV.

He who can do magic: Hussawee “Kem” Pakrapongpisan

At the age of 25, Kem is one of the most popular heroes of Channel 7. He has been given several roles but one of the most common involves superstitious power and magic.  Every time he accepts and plays such a role, the drama would be highly successful. And he’s even superstitious in real life!

By Veena Thoopkrajae