Arts student crowned Miss Vietnam

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Dang Thi Ngoc Han, a 21 year old arts student from Hanoi, was crowned Miss Vietnam 2010 on Saturday, beating out 36 other contestants from all over the country.

"It came as a huge surprise," Han said of her win in an interview with news website VnExpress. "I still think I'm dreaming."

Han has been modeling since she was 16 and she won the "Photogenic" title at the Vietnam Model Awards in 2006. She studies at the Hanoi University of Fine Arts.

The Miss Vietnam 2010 title comes with a prize of VND500 million and a personal development course.

Vu Thi Hoang My, 22, and Dang Thuy Trang, 19, were named first and second runner up respectively during the paegent's closing ceremony, held at the Tuan Chau resort in Ha Long Bay.

Many other of the contest's front-runners, including crowd-favorite Huynh Bich Phuong, failed to make the top 10, VnExpress said.

The previous winner of the national beauty pageant, Tran Thi Thuy Dung, was caught up in a messy scandal when the public learned that she had not yet graduated from high school at the time she won her title in 2008.

The pageant organizers announced that they have taken extra care in selecting their finalists this year to make sure all the beauty queens have graduated from universities or, at the very least, high school.

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