Vietnamese model to compete for Miss World crown

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Lai Huong Thao, 22,  will represent Vietnam at the 2013 Miss World pageant in Indonesia next month. Photos: Elite Vietnam, VnExpress, MWO

Lai Huong Thao, 22, winner of Vietnam's 2012 Miss Sport pageant, will represent the country at the 63rd edition of the Miss World competition next month in Indonesia.

The Department of Performing Arts on August 22 granted Thao permission to compete in the contest, according to a Sunday press release issued by Elite Vietnam, the company which holds the right to send Vietnamese representatives to Miss World.

She will fly to Indonesia on September 3 to compete against around 130 other contestants in an attempt to become the first Vietnamese to win the Miss World crown, said the release.

Standing 1.70 meters tall and measuring 89-60-90 centimeters, Thao, an accounting student, became known in Vietnam after placing second last year at the 2012 Miss Ha Long, a local beauty contest in her hometown Quang Ninh Province.

She then competed at Miss Sport, where she was crowned the fifth winner of the contest which was established in 1993.

Later that year Thao competed at Miss Supranational in Poland, one of the five biggest international beauty pageants, and won  Miss Supranational Asia continental title.

Thao told Thanh Nien last week she has been preparing for the contest for more than three months, starting when Elite Vietnam first informed her they were considering her to represent Vietnam at the upcoming Miss World pageant.

Miss World, the biggest and oldest international beauty pageant for women, will get underway September 3 in Bali.

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The pageant's finale will be aired live on September 28 (local time) from the Sentul International Convention Center in Sentul City, where reigning Miss World Yu Wenxia will crown her successor. Sentul is about 45 kilometers south of the capital city of Jakarta.

This year's event marks the first time ever the contest will be held in Indonesia, the world's most populous predominantly Muslim country.

Event organizers this year have insisted that models wear traditional Bali sarongs instead of bikinis in an effort to appease hard-line Muslims in the country, who maintain that the contestants' body parts "should remain covered," according to news reports.

Vietnam started sending contestants to Miss World in 2002. So far, no Vietnamese contestants have made it past the semifinal round.

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