Myanmar’s May Myat Noe accused of stealing her beauty contest crown

Organisers say Myanmar’s Miss Asia Pacific World winner was also rude and dishonest
Associated Press in Yangon


May Myat Noe touches the crown she allegedly ran away with as she holds a press conference to clear her name. Photo: AP

A beauty queen from Myanmar who was stripped of the Miss Asia Pacific title for allegedly being rude and dishonest has run off with the US$100,000 jewelled crown, organisers of the South Korea-based pageant said yesterday.

Myanmar started sending contestants to international beauty pageants for the first time in decades in 2012.

May Myat Noe,18, who was crowned Miss Asia Pacific World in Seoul in May, received breast implants as part of her winnings. But, according to David Kim, spokesman for the pageant, she was a disappointment from the start.

Attempts to reach May Myat Noe for comment were unsuccessful yesterday. According to the online edition of Eleven Media, a newspaper in Myanmar, she was back in the country and would address a news conference, although it wasn’t clear when.

Following her success, the organisers said they were arranging singing and video deals for her. They also wanted to change the teenager’s looks, 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 paid the US$10,000 cost, as they had 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 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 cost to the organisers.

She “lied” and “never had respect for the main organisation, the national director, the manager, media or fans who made her the winner”, organisers said.

May Myat Noe was notified this week that she would have to give up her title and the crown, Kim said. She was also given an airline 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 Swarovski tiara, which is valued at between US$100,000 and US$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.”