Beauty queen's life in US harder than Vietnam

By Lam Tra, My An   August 24, 2023 | 11:00 pm PT
Beauty pageant title winner and model Truong Tri Truc Diem says her two years living in the US has been more difficult than her life in Vietnam.
Beauty pageant title winner and model Truong Tri Truc Diem. Photo from Diems Instagram

Beauty pageant title winner and model Truong Tri Truc Diem. Photo from Diem's Instagram

"I was somewhat prepared because I knew I would have to start over again after moving to the U.S.," the beauty contest winner told NgoiSao. "Still, when I first arrived, I cried once almost every month, and that one time lasted all day."

The reasons varied from financial struggles to discrimination.

According to Diem, she moved to the U.S. right when Covid-19 hit Vietnam and her watch brand’s store had just closed following the government’s lockdown orders.

"I had to take care of my employees and make sure they all had new workplaces," Diem recalled, adding that she had to spend a large part of her financial resources supporting her former employees in Vietnam.

"I then felt like I hit rock bottom."

With her remaining financial capacity, she had to sell all of the luxury fashion items she owned before her departure from Vietnam as to prepare for costs that might arise after her relocation.

However, she changed her mind after seeing how many people suffered from the pandemic and decided to donate a considerable sum of her money to the Vietnamese government’s vaccine funds.

She only had $5,000 when she flew to the U.S., which left her struggling slightly when she arrived in the country. Her income at that time was just enough for her to cover her expenses.

She struggled so hard that when she realized she needed a car for commuting purposes, she did not even have enough savings to afford it and had to ask her mother to send money from Vietnam.

Mental struggles were another thing Diem - as someone who left her home country, her family, her stable job, and her comfort zone behind to make the move - had to deal with. She said she suffered from the feeling of homesickness as well as occasional unfair treatment as a result of discrimination.

"Others visit therapists when they have problems," she said. "But that did not apply to me, as I didn’t have enough money, and I just treated my problems on my own."

And she did so with long reflections and contemplations while spending time outdoors on walks. It was like meditation.

The saying "all things are difficult before they turn easy" seems to apply to Diem’s case, as every aspect of her life started to gradually fall under control after her initial struggles.

With her mother’s support, Diem got just enough money to get a used car for herself. The car then contributed a lot to helping her save money to invest in her business.

"I work, save, and repeat, after having the car to achieve what I have today," she said.

She also gradually overcame her mental struggles as she got more familiar with life in the U.S.

Looking back to her past two years, Diem said she had learned a lot in terms of how to face her real emotions and how to adapt to an unfamiliar environment. Her mindset, she said, was upgraded in general.

"Things that happened to me were things that motivated me to move forward and to improve myself," she concluded.

Diem, 36, is known as a renowned actress and model. She has also pocketed various achievements at beauty pageants, including being the 2015 Miss Vietnam Photogenic runner-up, winning the Miss Fashion award at the 2007 Miss Earth contest, and making it to the top 15 contestants at the 2011 Miss International pageant.

She relocated to Los Angeles on her own after concluding her marriage with Vietnamese-American businessman John Tu in 2021 because she felt Hollywood could provide her with the opportunities she needs to continue her career in entertainment.

She has signed contracts with several talent management agencies in the U.S. and has been active in the industry ever since.

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