Beauty queen draws ire for 'sugar baby' comments

By Thien Anh   August 30, 2023 | 11:54 pm PT
Miss Sports Vietnam 2022 runner-up Le Phuong Thao stirred controversy with a speech allegedly supporting the "sugar dating" lifestyle.
Miss Sports Vietnam 2022 runner-up Le Phuong Thao. Photo courtesy of Thao

Miss Sports Vietnam 2022 runner-up Le Phuong Thao. Photo courtesy of Le Phuong Thao

Thao posted a video to her social media account on Wednesday discussing her opinions about the phenomenon, which is broadly defined as young women dating wealthier older men, primarily for gifts and financial incentives.She said: "I support women being 'sugar babies,' as long as you don't interfere in any marriage."

Thao explained that she thought dating older men was the best idea for young women, as the men have often achieved stability in their finances and career. Compared to them, their younger counterparts are often busy working to earn their living, and thus, not able to take care of their "girlfriends."

"If you want to have a stable and long-lasting relationship, you should date older men," she advised. "Don’t make yourself have to argue with your partner about money."

Her words received sharp criticism from local netizens, with many accuse her of supporting youngsters to pursue easy money.

Thao told NgoiSao on Thursday that she was misunderstood because of how the concept of "sugar dating" is defined in Vietnam.

She explained that the term initially referred to the type of relationships in which a young person is supported by an older one, who could be married or not. The relationships could involve romantic feelings, or otherwise.

"I said I supported dating older men as they had the ability to take care of women thanks to their financial and career accomplishments," she said. "I made it clear that I was against the idea of extramarital affairs, since they are morally and legally wrong."

"Many are distorting the definition of the term 'sugar dating' to criticize me."

Thao added that not only beauty queens, but every woman should choose someone with good ethics and better financial ability to marry, as women's careers often derail due to childcare commitments.

"If you choose to get married to men who don't possess the ability to take care of your family, then you will have to do two things at the same time: give birth and make money," she said.

Thao, 29, is a businesswoman and visiting lecturer at the HCMC University of Economics and Finance.

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