11 July 2024

“If I’m going to answer like a beauty queen, I’d say I will do my best, but deep down in my heart, I would love to bring the crown back to Thailand. I want to be that representative, to do my best in every challenge on stage and make Thai people proud.”

A strong and passionate statement by Kasama Suetrong, Miss Supranational Thailand 2024, who will be representing the country in the global Miss and Mister Supranational competition in Poland, the finals of which will take place in July. If Kasama triumphs, she will become the second Thai winner, following Anntonia Porsild, who won the Miss Supranational crown back in 2019.

-Journey of a beauty queen-

Kasama, 28, competed in several pageants before being crowned this year’s Miss Supranational Thailand. Among them were Miss Tourism Queen Thailand 2017, Miss Grand Thailand 2019 and Miss Universe Thailand 2021. Most of her placements at a national level have been in the Top 10. This is why she says that winning Miss Supranational will be her “last shot” in pageantry, as Kasama feels that she is getting too old for beauty competitions.

“It was a very tough journey, but I’m a person who never stops improving myself,” she says, adding that she wouldn’t be happier if she eventually wins a crown for herself, as her hard work would have finally paid off.

“I know that it’s going to be my last, so I use everything that I have learned throughout this journey. If I want to end competition, I must win. I must get the crown. I must make people who support me proud, such as my fans, my managers, and especially me. I have to make myself proud,” she says.

As to how she will present her national identity on the international stage, apart from her national costume, which she describes as resembling a famous temple in Thailand, Kasama says she will bring the simplest asset – her smile, possibly to reflect the country’s reputation as the ‘Land of Smiles’.

“One thing that I asked my friends is, what do you love about Thailand? Everyone said it’s about their smiles, the hospitality, and the kindness that they give to other people. So, I want to express who I really am to everyone in Miss Supranational and the organisation as well,” she explains.

Courtesy: Miss and Mister Supranational Thailand

-Because we are equal-

Nowadays, many beauty pageants, both local and international, are placing more importance on diversity, allowing contestants to join the competition regardless of their sexual orientation or marital status. Most notably, Miss Universe welcomed transwomen, mothers and plus-sized contestants during the competition in El Salvador last year. Miss and Mister Supranational has also reportedly changed its rules, to allow transwomen and transmen to compete.

Kasama says she is pleased to see that beauty pageants are making such changes to promote diversity and inclusivity.

“I’m so grateful that many of the pageants right now are more diverse,” she says. “We accepted LGBTQ people. We accept anyone of any title in the competition and this has uplifted our society and the pageantry. So, I really do appreciate that people are making a big move on this change.”

Meanwhile, Kasama also shares her views about gender diversity and the LGBTQ community in Thailand. She mentioned that many of her fans, who have been sending her their love and support throughout her journey as a beauty queen, are from the LGBTQ community.

Having worked with and been surrounded by many LGBTQ people also made her realise their uniqueness. Apart from their creativity and positive energy, Kasama also highlighted their “dual” personalities, with their “tough” side, when they came out to protect her during difficult times, and a “softer” side when they care about her happiness and well-being.

Of all the characteristics, the most important, however, is that they are simply “human”, who deserve to be loved and respected like others.

“We are human, we are all loved, we care about each other and, at the end of the day, we are human. We have feelings, and LGBTQ people have feelings. So, we have to treat each other the same way as we want to be treated. That’s going to make our community, our society, our country better,” she believes.

To honour them, the Thai beauty queen wants to make “step-by-step” changes with the LGBTQ community, to promote positive changes in Thai society. At the same time, the beauty queen also hopes to see marriage equality being legalised in Thailand, as she believes that the legislation will drive a more equal and fair society for all genders.

“When it comes to love and when it comes to a partnership, it shouldn’t matter what gender you are… People should be able to get married no matter who they are.” she explains. 

As to what Kasama would like to say to her supporters, especially those in the LGBTQ community, she took this opportunity to thank them for their continuous love and support, since the beginning of her journey as a beauty queen up until she was crowned Miss Supranational Thailand, and that she will do her best when she competes in Poland.

Answering this question as an ordinary women, she decided to offer moral support to LGBTQ people who have been advocating for their fundamental rights, and she hopes that their highly-anticipated marriage equality bill will pass in Thailand

“I would love to say that I am so proud of you, that you’ve been fighting so hard to get the rights that you deserve, and I’m always here for you and support your journey. I hope that, in the future, there will be very good news for all of us, because we are equal.”

By Nad Bunnag, Thai PBS World