YANGON – A Myanmar beauty queen who was stripped of her title for allegedly being rude and dishonest has run off with the $100,000 jeweled crown, a South Korea-based pageant said Friday.
Myanmar, which only recently emerged from a half century of military rule and self-imposed isolation, started sending contestants to international beauty pageants for the first time in decades in 2012.
May Myat Noe was crowned Miss Asia Pacific World in Seoul in May 2014. But, according to David Kim, director of media for the Seoul-based pageant, the 18-year-old was a disappointment from the start.
Attempts to reach May Myat Noe for comment were unsuccessful Friday and her Myanmar phone was switched off. According to the online edition of Eleven Media, a Myanmar newspaper, she was back in the country and would address a news conference soon, although it wasn’t clear when.
Following her success, the organizers said they were arranging singing and video deals for her. But they also wanted to change the looks of the 5’7″ (170-cm) teen, Kim said.
“We thought she should be more beautiful . . . so as soon as she arrived we sent her to the hospital to operate on her breasts,” he said.
“It’s our responsibility,” he said, adding that sponsors picked up the $10,000 tab, as they have for past winners. “If she has no good nose, then maybe, if she likes, we can operate on her nose. If it’s breasts, then breasts.”
Kim said that the troubles started from there. The beauty queen brought her mother with her to Seoul for what was supposed to be a 10-day visit, but that quickly turned into three months, incurring extra costs for the organizers, he said.
She “lied” and “never had respect for the main organization, the national director, the manager, media or fans who made her the winner,” organizers said in a statement.
May Myat Noe was notified earlier this week that she would have to give up her title and the crown, Kim said. She was also given an airplane ticket back to Yangon, but never showed up, with Eleven Media reporting that she got on an earlier flight.
Kim said she absconded with the bejeweled Swarovski tiara — valued anywhere between $100,000 and $200,000.
“Everyone knows she is no longer the queen, but she thinks as long as she keeps this crown she’s the winner,” he said. “She’s not.”