Newly crowned Miss Universe Catriona Gray was not the only scene-stealer during the coronation night of the pageant held in Thailand on Monday, December 17. Miss Vietnam H'Hen Niê's also made a mark not only because of her beautiful performance but also because of her inspiring story.
H'Hen is the first woman who came from a minority group in Vietnam who represented her country in the Miss Universe pageant. Her ethnic group only makes up 5% of her country's total population.
At 14 years old, she was asked by her parents to get married, a tradition that her group practices. But instead of marrying early, she decided to pursue her dreams and decided to live in the city of Saigon.
"I stated I could not possibly get a husband at that point in time because I had to follow my dreams. I did not want to live a life where I had to marry early like many other kids had in my village," she said in her VTR.
Growing up, H'Hen Nie chose to focus on education, which helped positively change a difficult childhood. She has tried her hands in several jobs such as a maid, tutor, leaflet deliverer, and model to help pay for her studies and life in the city. The Miss Universe Vietnam crown is not only the result of her hard effort, but also changed the definition of a beauty queen in Vietnam. If she becomes Miss Universe 2018, H'Hen Nie will use the influence of the title to continue helping disadvantaged children around the world to attend schools, especially in conjunction with organizations to enhance girls' lives in developing countries. @missuniverse #MissUniverse #Vietnam #MissUniverseVietnam #HHenNie #Unicorp #ConfidentlyBeautiful #TeamVietnam
During the pageant, it was revealed that Miss Vietnam worked as a nanny, serving food and cleaning houses, in order to finance her schooling. In 2014, she joined the world of modeling. She became a 9th placer in Vietnam's Next Top Model in 2015. Afterwards, she worked on becoming a beauty queen, which lead her to become Miss Vietnam in 2018 and became part of the Miss Universe pageant in Thailand.
H'Hen became part of the top 5 of the Miss Universe this year. In an Instagram post, she extended her congratulatory message for Catriona and thanked Thailand for her wonderful Miss Universe pageant experience.
"Congratulations @catriona_gray and Philippines. Thank you so much Miss Universe Organization, Miss Universe Team @missuniverse @chihaircare and I am also thankful to Thailand @missuniverse.in.th , the country of love. Special thank my family, my team Unicorp and all my fans that always support me," she posted.
Congratulations @catriona_gray and Philippines. Thank you so much Miss Universe Organization, Miss Universe Team @missuniverse @chihaircare and I am also thankful to Thailand @missuniverse.in.th , the country of love ❤️ Special thank my family, my team Unicorp and all my fans that always support me ❤️