From a model who beat leukemia to the mother who is hoping to inspire her daughter, some of the Hua Hin based contestants taking part in an upcoming beauty pageant have stories that are both heartwarming and inspiring.
Hua Hin is set to be well represented at the Mrs. National Universe beauty pageant, with three local ladies competing.
The pageant, which will be held at the Amari Watergate in Bangkok between 11-15 September, will see three expats representing their countries of birth at the event.
Lenka Dayrit Vomočil, 34, who will represent the Czech Republic, is a model and marketing executive who has lived in Hua Hin for three years.
Lenka said she decided to compete in the pageant due to the open nature of the event, which is being organised by Ms Tanya Siri Vijitsomphong of Hua Hin based luxury lifestyle magazine Hot Magazine.
“The pageant is really inclusive, there is a wide range of ladies competing, which I really like”, Lenka told Hua Hin Today.
“Contestants can be aged between 30 to 60 years old and don’t need to be married”.
Lenka first began competing in beauty pageants when she was a teenager and has gone on to have a successful career in modeling, which included taking part in both the New York and Paris Fashion Weeks.
In Thailand, she featured in an advertising campaign for Nescafe, which ran on TV, on billboards and in print for a decade, as well as in commercials for Toyota.
“Back then people would recognize me as I was actually in four commercials at the same time.”
But Lenka’s life hasn’t been without adversity.
As a young adult and in the early days of her modeling career she was diagnosed with leukemia – which she successfully overcame – after undergoing six rounds of chemotherapy.
A keen runner, Muay Thai enthusiast, vegan and practicing Buddhist, Lenka believes she has every chance of winning the competition.
But rather than seeing the other contestants as competitors, Lenka has been going out of her way to help the ladies who are taking part, actively passing on knowledge and information about what it is like to compete in a beauty pageant.
Each contestant requires a variety of dresses and garments to be worn during the different stages of the competition. They also need hair stylists and makeup artists, all of which come at the expense of the competitors.
Lenka said she is grateful to her sponsors, local businesses TCH Hua Hin Property, Elite Fight Club and Bona Clinic for their support.
Lenka, who will be competing in Mrs. National Universe to honor her late father, hopes that by competing, she will help to bring some much needed publicity to the Hin Lek Fai Rescue.
The charity, which is one she supports and champions, works to take care of abandoned, sick or abused dogs in Hua Hin.
“Hin Lek Fai Rescue is not like a normal shelter,” Lenka said.
“During COVID they lost a major sponsor so the shelter needs as much help as possible”.
If the Hin Lek Fai Rescue is not able to find long term sponsors, it faces permanent closure, Lenka warned.
Also competing in Mrs. National Universe is Monicah Breschini who will be representing her native Kenya.
For Monicah, who has lived in Hua Hin with her husband and daughter for five years, this will be the first time she will have competed in a beauty pageant.
“When I agreed to take part in the pageant, I didn’t know at that time the competition was really quite big and very serious!”
“But I’m not really nervous,” Monicah told Hua Hin Today.
“For me it’s more of a lifetime experience. If I win, great, but if I don’t win then it will be great too as I will learn something,” Monicah added.
Monicah said that one of the reasons she is competing is in order to be a role model to her daughter.
“I want to show my daughter that anything is possible if you put your mind to it”.
Monicah said that she also hopes that by competing in the pageant it will help to give more of a platform to the charities she supports back in Kenya.
Monicah explained how through Global Giving – a non-profit that connects donors with grassroots projects around the world – she helps to provide sanitary products for girls and ladies in Kenya.
“A lot of girls in Kenya, particularly in the rural areas, can’t afford or don’t have access to sanitary towels, it’s so difficult for them,” Monicah said.
One of the requirements for people competing in the pageant is to have a dress made from the fabric of their country.
“Fortunately there is quite a big community of Kenyans in Thailand, a lot of them come here to teach English, so I have been able to find some materials from members of the community here,” Monicah explained.
Also competing in a beauty pageant for the first time is Kathrin Fagersson, who will be representing her native Sweden.
“I have no experience in beauty pageants or modeling before but I do have an interest in aesthetics and beauty and used to combine my medical background with my interest when I worked in plastic surgery clinics in Sweden,” Kathrin told Hua Hin Today.
Kathrin says that she is already pretty health conscious and likes to focus on exercise and eating healthily, not just for her own wellbeing but in order to set a good example for her daughters.
With that being said, she admits she is doing more exercise in the run up to the pageant.
“I am focusing on exercise more and I am doing a lot of trail walking so both me and my dog will for sure be skinnier before the competition,” Kathrin jokes.
Kathrin, who lives in Hua Hin with her husband Henrik and their two daughters, with the family moving here four years ago after she was offered a job at a medical centre in town.
“During our time in Hua Hin, my husband Henrik started the Spine clinic, where I am also a director. Our two girls are in an international school and we all feel very home and established here in Hua Hin,” Kathrin said.