Vietnam’s top models distance themselves from colleagues working as escorts

By Ngat Ngoc, Thanh Nien News

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A local fashion show. Photo: Nguyen Truong A local fashion show. Photo: Nguyen Truong


Members of the modeling industry have spoken up to protect their reputation after police. busted an upscale prostitution ring in Ho Chi Minh City that involved several models moonlighting as escorts.
Police in Ho Chi Minh City earlier this month arrested a model trainer and four models of the ring, which allegedly charged its clients up to US$1,000 each time. These four models worked as escorts and procurers. 
Several top models across the country have expressed anger, saying that the ring exploited the modeling profession to raise prices of its illegal sex service. 
“They are not real models, or at least modeling is not their main job,” said supermodel Ha Anh, second runner-up of Miss Vietnam Global 2008.
Anh said she is sad because “the society now has a rather distorted view on the modeling industry.”
Two years ago, a court in the city also sentenced a beauty queen and some people in the show business industry to jail for organizing a sex business that charged customers up to $7,000.
Anh admitted that modeling is a profession comes with a lot of temptations.
“Some wealthy people consider having a model as their partner a way to prove their social position and they are willing to pay a lot.
“That's why many young women would try to earn themselves the title 'model' to have a luxury life with little work,” she said.
Vo Hoang Yen, who won the Vietnam Supermodel contest in 2008 and was the first runner-up at Miss Vietnam Universe the same year, said the widespread use of the word “model” has devalued those who really do modeling for a living.
“It’s time we took the term more seriously,” Yen said.
Trung Vo, a fashion show director, pinned it on the media.
Vo said many women have called themselves a model just after they signed up for a catwalk class or a model contest. 
“And then they will use that name for another business,” Vo said. “So the media and people should be more careful with the title.”
Vietnam does not provide specific work permits or professional criteria for models yet, as well as actors and singers.

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