Vietnam's vegetarian beauty queen to compete at Miss Universe

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Truong Thi May, 25, who will represent Vietnam at the 2013 Miss Universe beauty pageant. Photo courtesy of Truong Thi May

Thi May, a 25-year-old strict vegetarian and devout Buddhist, will represent Vietnam at the 61st Miss Universe competition in Russia from October 20-November 9.

May made a name for herself as a runner up at the 2006 Miss Vietnam Photogenic and 2007 Miss Ethnic Vietnam contests. She's known for her unwavering commitment to anti-cruelty.

Unicorp, the license holder which selects Vietnamese contestants for Miss Universe, said in a Monday press release that May got  approval from the Department of Performing Arts under Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism last Friday.

The contest is one of the top two beauty contests for young women in the world, along with Miss World.

Luu Thi Diem Huong, winner of the 2010 Miss Vietnam World, who represented Vietnam in last year's Miss Universe, said: "May has a beautiful and strong face, and a special brown skin, which will impress foreigners.

"May also has lots of experience in fashion, and confidence on stage, and these are her advantages in the contest."

Tran Ngoc Nhat, Unicorp's CEO was quoted in the release as saying that his company chose May because she can meet the pageant's standards, and has a good image in her career and social activates.

She has been working out, improving her English and preparing costumes for the upcoming event, according to the release.

May told Thanh Nien that it was a great honor for her to represent her country in the competition.

Standing at 1.73 meters tall with measurements of 87- 61-90, May will try to edge out nearly 90 beauties for the Miss Universe's coveted crown.

She had been chosen to represent Vietnam in Miss Earth, another major global beauty pageant, in 2009 and 2011, but couldn't compete first due to leg strain in an accident and then family issues.

May is a freelance model, an actress, a strict vegetarian and a devout Buddhist. She was born in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh.

She was among 300 nominates for the annual "Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity" title held by the international animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) this year.

May told online newspaper VnMedia that she will bring instant noodles and vegetarian food for the time she stays in Russia.

The finals are expected to be broadcast live from the Crocus City Hall in Moscow, Russia's capital city, on November 9. Olivia Culpo, the reigning Miss Universe from the United States, will crown her successor at the end of the event. This is the first-ever time that the contest moved to the world's largest country.

Vietnam started competing at Miss Universe from 2004. The best finish by a Vietnamese was a top-15 ranking in 2008 for Nguyen Thuy Lam, who had been crowned Miss Universe Vietnam the same year.

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