Vietnam’s beauty queen shunned for smoking cigarettes

By Van An, Pham Van   August 6, 2016 | 12:04 am PT
Smoking claims one more victim, this time a beautiful one.

Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen, the current tiara holder of Miss Vietnam beauty pageant, will no longer accompany Miss Vietnam 2016, both as promotion image of the contest and as the tiara passer to the new queen.

The decision to let Duyen take a break from the show was made following a series of confirmations and consultations with experts as well as a meeting with the Miss.

Last month, the Miss Vietnam made headlines as viral images of her smoking in a cafe and partying in a bar caused public outrage. 

Vietnam’s online community seems to hold the organizer's decision in high regard. A comment by user Le Dung on VnExpress with over 1,000 upvotes reads: “Congratulations to the organizers for penalizing Ky Duyen for damaging the contest’s image and reputation.”

Within 24 hours of the decision, it's been discussed by nearly 43 thousand people on Facebook, the most popular social network in Vietnam, with many calling on her to renounce the title. Some defended the young beauty queen, saying she did nothing wrong as smoking is legal. 

Duyen insisted that, apart from smoking and gathering with friends at a bar, she didn’t do anything else deemed inapropriate for her title as rumors say. 

After three meetings, the beauty pageant organizers decided that Duyen can still keep her title. Given her degree of “violation” and her sincere apology, she was only given a verbal warning and requested to change her lifestyle.


Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen (center) is crowned Miss Vietnam 2014. 

Previously, Duyen had written a letter apologizing to the organizers and had publicly said sorry on her official fanpage for having smoked.

Beauty pageants are very popular in Vietnam, where beauty queens enjoy A-class celebrity status and are considered the country's image and role models for young girls to follow. They are thus expected to strictly follow the clean concept of a typical stoic: well-behaved the way the public say it well. 

With great power comes great responsibility. Vietnamese authorities, in a very curious case of administration, recently issued a decree that bans taking and distributing nude photos of beauty queens only to have it scrapped later due to harsh criticism from the press. The decree also prohibited beauty queens from acting and speaking “in a way that damages social values, standards, customs and cultural traditions of Vietnam.”

This is not the first time Duyen was shunned by the public for portraying an image deemed inappropriate for a beauty queen. Last year, she was heavily heavily criticized for a not-so-aethetic sleeping pose whilst flying in a business class cabin. 

Beauty queen Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen (L) in her infamous sleeping pose deemed inappropriate.

Beauty queen Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen (L) in her infamous sleeping pose deemed inappropriate.

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