Que Van is named first runner-up at Miss Vietnam World 2013 in California on August 11
Model-turned-singer Que Van was named first runner-up at Miss Vietnam World 2013 in California, the United States August 11.
And true to form, the event attracted scandalous publicity for the 31-year-old Hanoi resident who was fined last year for beating up a woman.
The Performing Arts Department at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is considering reprimanding her for attending the contest without its permission.
Three other Vietnamese contestants are likely to face the same music for the same punishment, but the underdogs do not get to hog the media spotlight.
Department regulations allow only title holders in beauty and modeling contests at home to compete overseas, for which they need an authorized organization to represent them and apply for permission to go abroad.
Vietnam’s first runner-up at Miss Vietnam Global in July, Kim Duyen, who was known little locally except for winning a modeling contest in 2010, was fined VND15 million for attending the contest as a freelancer.
Miss Vietnam World and Miss Vietnam Global, organized by pageant tycoon Minh Chanh, are open to women of Vietnamese origin anywhere in the world.
There is no official rating, but the two contests are generally considered second-tier beauty pageants, unlike Miss Vietnam or Miss Universe.
Van’s scandal-prone profile has triggered rumors that she spent thousands of dollars to buy the title from the organizers.
She had dismissed such allegations saying she would not waste money thus, and that if she could indeed buy a title, she would have “tried a bit more” to get the queen’s crown.
Upon arriving in Hanoi late last week, she told local media that she was sad on hearing that she’s likely to be punished for the spontaneous participation.
However, her sadness did not prevent her from holding a party at a hotel in Hanoi that celebrated her victory, to which many friends and people in the showbiz industry were invited. At the party, she proudly wore the crown and the first-runner up band across her chest.
Van’s qualification for the contest is also debatable. She was married once and is now a mother of two, while the contest is held for unmarried women.
News website VietNamNet, citing organizer Chanh, said Van’s documents for the contest said she was single and has no children.
Van has refused to comment on her family status, just as she kept mum on the allegation that she attacked another woman last year.
She told Thanh Nien in an interview published Friday upon arrival in Hanoi that the contest’s organizers had accepted her, and they have to answer any questions regarding her participation.
She also said she would pay the fine, if any, imposed by the performing arts department.
She claimed she did not know of regulations requiring her to get permission to attend international contests.
She said she was visiting the US when she ran into several friends including Chanh who suggested that she participates in the contest.
“I thought it would be an interesting experience. So I accepted immediately.”
Difficult to pin down
Summarizing Van’s career as an artist is easier said than done.
She’s not known for any particularly artistic achievement apart from several limelight attracting scandals, and many people have wondered if the illegal participation in the beauty contest participation is just another PR stunt.
Local media saved many headlines for her and a model friend of hers after they were punished by Hanoi police for beating up a woman on the street.
Van was fined VND1.5 million and model Hong Que half that because she was a minor.
Their victim, 27-year-old Ta Hoang Tam, lodged a complaint in May that she was the target of a gang attack by Van, Que, and several other people when she stepped out of a bar late one night to listen to a phone call.
Tam said she was kicked in the belly, and hit on the head and face with heels. The woman said she did not know the gang, and Van and Que never explained the incident.
One other scandal had Van showing off borrowed luxury cars as her own.
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Thanh Nien News. With reporting by Thuc Nhi (The story can be found in the August 23 issue of our print edition, Vietweek)