Miss Universe Vietnam wins Filipinos' hearts with inspiring story
She ended her Miss Universe journey at the Top 5, but Miss Vietnam H'Hen Niê undeniably won Filipinos' hearts.
Aside from the Philippines' own Catriona Gray, Vietnam's representative made waves in local social media conversations because of her inspiring story.
H'Hen Nie comes from Rade, an ethnic minority group of Vietnam that only makes up 5 percent of the country's population.
In her community, it is customary for girls 14 years of age to find a husband.
When Miss Vietnam reached that age, her parents told her to find a husband, but she refused. She had dreams to follow.
Growing up, H'Hen Nie chose to focus on education, which helped positively change a difficult childhood. She has tried her hands in several jobs such as a maid, tutor, leaflet deliverer, and model to help pay for her studies and life in the city. The Miss Universe Vietnam crown is not only the result of her hard effort, but also changed the definition of a beauty queen in Vietnam. If she becomes Miss Universe 2018, H'Hen Nie will use the influence of the title to continue helping disadvantaged children around the world to attend schools, especially in conjunction with organizations to enhance girls' lives in developing countries. @missuniverse #MissUniverse #Vietnam #MissUniverseVietnam #HHenNie #Unicorp #ConfidentlyBeautiful #TeamVietnam
"At 14 years old, my parents told me to find a husband. however I stated that I could not possibly get a husband at that point in time because I had to follow my dreams," she said in her Miss Universe introductory video.
"I did not want to live a life where I had to marry early like many other kids had in my village," she added.
Further breaking from tradition, she went to Saigon to make a living. She worked as a maid, tutor, leaflet deliverer, and model to help pay for her studies and her life in the city.
During her stint at the Miss Universe pageant, H'Hen Niê spoke up about the importance of education, which she struggled so hard to gain.
While Filipinos firmly rooted for Catriona, they were generous in their support for the Vietnamese beauty queen who defied expectations.
— LA, GMA News