Many of you may not be aware that Phuong Khanh Nguyen of Vietnam is back in the country to pursue possible career opportunities that await her after serving one full year as Miss Earth 2018. She crowned her successor – Nellys Pimentel of Puerto Rico – earlier this month.
Earlier today, I had an intimate lunch with this beautiful 24 year-old at No.8 China House inside Grand Hyatt Manila. We spoke about several topics, including her future plans in the Philippines which she considers her second home and a current project to promote the upcoming Miss Bikini Philippines which focuses on both beauty & brains and the health and fitness factors of the pageant.
As a teenager, Phuong Khan had significant body weight issues and it took a lot of struggles both personally and socially to get herself out of what she considers the lowest points in her life so far. Credit goes to her older brother who did everything to raise her self-esteem and direct her attention towards having a healthier lifestyle en route to achieving the best physical version of herself. It took her more than five years (in which period she also took up business studies in Singapore where she was able to polish her facility in English) to achieve a plan that led to her joining the one and only national beauty pageant she ever took part in, got a 2nd Runner-Up placement and was eventually led to the Miss Earth Vietnam 2018 casting where she was selected to represent her country in the Philippines last year. The rest is history as she became the first Vietnamese to win a Grand Slam title in international pageantry.
Watch my exclusive one-on-one with Phuong Khanh:
Right now, Phuong Khanh is ready to face the challenge of new projects and engagements that will further attest to her health and fitness advocacy. Add to that an enviable 22-inch waistline and an expressive self that can easily convince anyone to make her a spokesperson for related endorsements, she is open to the idea of making Manila as her second home base.
With Promedia giving her the privilege of becoming an Ambassador for Miss Bikini Philippines (as well as a judge for the Finals Night on November 28), it won’t be long till she finds herself doing more projects in the country and perhaps, the ASEAN Region.
Best of luck to you, my dear Phuong Khanh!
Phuong Khanh Nguyen (Center) with Paul Reyes of Promedia (right) and yours truly
And another Vietnamese does it again in the Philippines!
Congratulations to Trinh Bao for winning the 13th Edition of Mister International at the just-concluded finals held at One Esplanade in Pasay. His court includes 1st Runner-Up Francesco Piscitelli of Venezuela and 2nd Runner-Up Waikin Kwan of Hong Kong.
You will remember that Phuong Khanh Nguyen won Miss Earth 2018, while Cao Xuan Tai was named Man of the World 2018 – both held here in the Philippines – last year.
The Top 3 (left to right): Venezuela, Hong Kong and Vietnam (Photo credit Joy Arguil)
I will do my Miss Earth 2018 Predictions in a top-to-bottom order for a change. Starting off with my big winner and elemental court, I can see two Latinas – Melissa Flores of Mexico and Diana Silva of Venezuela – fighting close to become the successor of Karen Ibasco. I am giving the edge to the Mexican beauty because she is the more consistent all-around. It also helps that the Miss Earth Mexico Organization that sent her has been making great efforts in sustaining and making the brand more popular in the Americas. Now if the final decision would come down to a Q&A answer, then it wouldn’t surprise me as well if the judges would lean on Melissa. But if she falters – even marginally along the way – then Diana is likely to benefit from the lapse and could give Venezuela its 3rd Miss Earth crown. I would be happier with the former finishing on top, though.
As for Water and Fire, it could be interchangeable between Priya Sigdel of Nepal and Telma Madeira of Portugal. Anyone among the two would be good choices for the elemental court. The Nepalese, however, has the upper hand should she ace the interview round. She could even spoil the two Latinas. But for now, I am sticking to the final lineup I made.
The Portuguese Telma would have made a refreshing Miss Earth winner. Her relative youth might be a concern when the going gets tough, though.
Hence, above is a photo grid of my Top 8, with the 5th to 8th places occupied by Danijela Burjan of Slovenia, Margaretha de Jong of Netherlands, Celeste Cortesi of the Philippines and Melanie Mader of Austria (the one who might benefit from an upper push if the organizers find it beneficial to have an elemental Queen whose attitude and work ethics they are already accustomed to after reigning as Miss Philippines Earth-Water back in 2016).
Just to complete a Top 16, my 9th to 16th Goddesses in ranking are: Phuong Khanh Nguyen of Vietnam, Yashvi Aware of the USA, Maristella Okpala of Nigeria, Antonia Figueroa of Chile, Nerada Chitsadapriyakun of Thailand, Lisa Hayet of Guatemala, Jessica Russo of Peru and Margo Faith Fargo of South Africa.
Let’s see how the actual results will compare tomorrow night at the Mall of Asia Arena.