Huynh Thi Thuy Van (L) and Pham My Linh have decided to quit Miss Vietnam 2014. Photo credit: Miss Vietnam 2014
Two top nominees for Miss Vietnam 2014 withdrew from the beauty pageant after unsubstantiated rumors broke out alleging that they'd undergone cosmetic surgeries.
The contest rules prohibit those who have undergone cosmetic or sexual reassignment surgeries from competition.
Pham My Linh, the winner of HTV's 2014 Golden Swallow award, said she decided to withdraw from the biennial event due to health problems and a lack of support from her family.
Prior to her decision the organizers had asked Doctor Le Diep Linh to examine her to investigate the unsubstantiated rumors.
The doctor reportedly confirmed that Linh hadn't undergone cosmetic surgery.
Meanwhile, Huynh Thi Thuy Van, another who became a target of the rumors, said she withdrew from the event due to health problems and concerns that she would not be able to complete the final round.
The pre-competition disqualification of many popular contestants, including Truong My Nhan of the Venus Model Company and Miss Teen Xuan Mai have surprised many who follow the competition.
The reasons for their disqualifications remain unknown.
A total of 38 contestants will compete for two weeks starting November 23 on Phu Quoc Island in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang.
The contestants will participate in charity activities and promote the island's culture and development. The final round will be reported live by Vietnam Television (VTV) on December 6.
The contest's organizer, Tien Phong newspaper, announced plans to tighten the contest criteria to exclude those who have ever been officially married or lived in a "husband-and-wife relationship.”
A scandal erupted during the 2012 contest, when photos of the then Miss Vietnam hopeful Vuong Thu Phuong went viral on social media just hours before the final event.
The contest requires applicants to be Vietnamese citizen between 18 and 27 who demonstrate "good ethics" and are naturally beautiful. They must also be able to demonstrate that they haven't been convicted of a crime or arrested.
The contest requires all of its competitors to be at least 5.4 feet (162 cm) tall and have a high school diploma.
This year's organizers have sought help from the Ministry of Public Security and an "independent channel" to investigate and verify applicant registration information.
Miss Vietnam, the country’s most well-known beauty contest, has been held by Tien Phong newspaper since 1988. Winners of the contest may go on to represent Vietnam internationally.
The following are a few of the 38 contestants for Miss Vietnam 2014:
Photo credit: Miss Vietnam 2014
Nguyen Lam Diem Trang from Vinh Long Province, born in 1991, winner of Miss Teen 2010.
Pham Ngoc Quy was born in 1995. She is 1.78m tall and the winner of Teen Model 2010.
Pham Huong, born in 1991 is 1.77m tall. She represented Vietnam at the Miss World Sport 2014.
Le Ha, a student of HUTECH University in Ho Chi Minh City and a model at Venus Model Company. She was born in 1993 and is 1.72m tall.
Huyen My is 1.74m tall and weighs 54kg. She won the Most Photogenic Award at the 2011 Asian Supermodel Contest in China.