Here's What Miss Universe Vietnam 2018 H'Hen Niê Did During Her First Visit To The Philippines
Most remember her for her edgy pixie cut reminiscent of Halle Berry in Die Another Day, her choice to wear pants at the recently concluded Miss Universe 2018 competition, and her beautiful olive skintone that stole the scene when she stepped out onto the pageant stage in a flowy yellow gown.
Yet more than the flawless image of beauty she projected as a beauty queen hopeful, Vietnam's H'Hen Niê is now internationally loved for a totally different reason—her advocacy to improve literacy rates among young girls in underserved communities and instill the value of prioritizing education in them.
In fact, H'Hen Niê's chosen social responsibility played a huge part in why she decided to visit the Philippines for the very first time!
Aside from wanting to pay a visit to her Filipino pageant coach, Anjo Santos, who greeted her at the airport, one of the biggest draws for her first Philippine tour was an opportunity to share her story with an audience of young Filipinos.
In case you missed it, H'Hen Niê's road to success was a long and bumpy one; as a member of one of Vietnam's smaller ethnic tribes, she fought for her right to an education and defied her parents' wishes of marrying her off at a young age.
From secondary school to university, she was self-reliant and resourceful, even taking up jobs as a nanny and flyer girl so she could afford to pay for school. Fast forward to her much-deserved worldwide fame post-Miss Universe, it comes to no surprise that her journey has resonated with individuals of different backgrounds.
Once in the Philippines, she found herself flying to Bicol where she spoke at the Francis Papua Papica Foundation, Inc. Youth Congress in Naga City.
There, she addressed an auditorium filled with students, boys and girls alike, who listened intently to her message of working hard and the heights one can reach with an education. Of course, a selfie with the crowd and mingling amongst them helped keep everyone's eyes on her, and she was treated like the celebrity she is!
But despite the warm welcome, this beauty made sure to stay true to her cause. She captured the moment in a photo and captioned it with a powerful sentiment:
"Without any part of my past, I wouldn’t be the person I am right now. I believe in the miracle of life, that if you truly believe, life will not give up on you. Many people call me the Cinderella of Vietnam, but Cinderella has a fairy godmother to help her, while I created this miracle for myself," she wrote.
During her spare time, H'Hen Niê made the most of her brief visit to Manila.
Checked in at the Conrad Manila, this true-to-life Cinderella filled her Instagram with snaps showing her enjoying a familiar dish: rice and tuyo!
She also took the time to pay tribute to Philippine culture by photographing the world-famous Manila sunset, and donning a simple yellow terno (which fellow beauty queen Venus Raj also wore in red), an intricate baro't saya, and a custom number by Vietnamese designer Aodai Kinzu that combined elements of the terno and aodai (traditional Vietnamese dress).
See all the best photos from Miss Vietnam H'Hen Niê's first Philippine visit below!
Photos from @hhennie.official