MEET YOUR NEW MISS UNIVERSE MYANMAR 2017
BETWEEN sparkling dresses, a flock of selfie sticks and a crowd-pleasing bikini walk, the Miss Universe Myanmar 2017 competition had something for everyone.
Hardcore fans donning their very best fashion and droves of supportive relatives crowded the luxury ballroom at Novotel Hotel on October 6 to watch the 3rd annual competition, the winner of which will go on to represent Myanmar at the Miss Universe event next year.
After an elaborate opening with the Myanmar national anthem, and a series of song-and-dance numbers – from traditional folk singers to Becky G’s popular “Shower” song – the 26 Miss Universe Myanmar 2017 contestants strutted their best cat walk struts in knee-length white ruffled dresses.
This year’s event was a showcase of glitter, glam, and attitude as the women competed in a swimsuit round, an evening gown round and a question-and-answer section.
As the contestants were narrowed down from the top 12 to the top 5, viewers squirmed in their seats awaiting the announcement of the night’s winner. At the end of the evening, the combination of sponsor judges and fan voters who hit the polls online and over text narrowed the lot down to two: Zun Than Sin and Shwe Eain Si, who held each other’s hands in anticipation.
Amid a crowd of screaming fans, Htet Htet Htun, the 2016 Miss Universe Myanmar winner, crowned Zun Than Sin as the 2017 title winner.
Shwe Eain Si had already won Miss Body Perfect and Miss Beautiful Hair, by the sponsor Palmolive, and was set to take home a total of K2 million. Zun Than Sin had previously competed in 2014, making it to the top 5, and has already garnered K2 million this year for the Miss Healthy Skin and Miss Famous prizes.
One of the competition’s biggest followers – and brother to Sharr Htut Eaindra, the Miss Myanmar Universe 2014 Winner – Khant That, known simply as “Ted”, was very happy with the outcome.
“I think the win was well deserved,” he said, no stranger to the hard work it takes each year to compete.
Khant Thant also noticed many changes in the spectacle of the show in the years he and his friends have closely followed it.
“This year the stage is much better,” he said, gesturing to the multilevel stage, adorned with dazzling lights and a colourful rotating discolike ball. “And the performances are better too, more exciting each year.”
His sister, Sharr Htut Eaindra, who swept the country away in 2014 after unleashing her fierce “smize” (smiling with your eyes) that would have made America’s Next Top Model host Tyra Banks get up and cheer, believes the competition also has a positive effect on young girls.
“Myanmar girls can now reclaim their beauty. They can choose whatever they want to wear,” she said. “I’m very proud of Zun Than Sin, she has been my best friend since we competed in 2014.”
And one such young girl, the now-nine-year-old, Little Miss Myanmar 2015 winner Shin Thant Phyu Sin, was particularly inspired by the evening.
“I am a big fan of 24 [Zun Than Sin],” she said, her face made up for a party and wearing a white ball gown. “I really like to do make-up and feel beautiful. I never know about the future but I want to be like this – so famous and popular. Everyone knows me. This is my hobby.”
In addition to representing the beauty of Myanmar, the contestants also serve as “model citizens”, participating in a variety of civil service activities run by the competition’s main sponsors, Blue Diamond Cement, Myanmar Airlines and Palmolive Naturals.
In a commercial video preceding the winning announcement, the women were shown planting trees, receiving certification in CPR and EMT training, and playing with kids at the children’s hospital.
Zun Than Sin will return to the stage next year for the global Miss Universe Competition.
The beauty queens perform a song-and-dance number, one of several interspersed throughout the show.
Contestants line up during the swimsuit portion of the competition.
Aye Ne Win, grandson to General Ne Win, looks on from the audience. Cherry Chit Chit Tun models evening wear for the judges during the pageant, held on October 6 at the Novotel Hotel.
Zun Than Sin, the 2017 Miss Universe Myanmar, will compete in the global Miss Universe competition next year.