Meet the Pinoy trainer behind Miss Vietnam's queenly walk
Impressed by Miss Vietnam H'Hen Niê's queenly elegance during the recently held Miss Universe pageant in Thailand? You'll be proud to know that a Filipino trainer is behind all that.
Interviewed on Unang Balita on Thursday, Anjo Santos narrated how he landed the gig to train H'Hen Niê, whose inspiring story has won Filipinos' hearts.
According to Santos, he has been training Vietnamese beauty queens since 2014 and many of them had fared well in international competitions.
"Siguro po parang [stroke] of luck na simula nung mag-training na sila [under me] medyo pumapasok na sila [sa finals]," he said, adding one of his early students was among the Miss World Top 10 finalists in 2015 while another was a Miss International third runner-up.
"Consistently, sa Miss Grand [International] in the last two years naka-Top 10 pa kami," he added.
Santos said since then he befriended many important people in the pageant industry, including the managing director of the Miss Vietnam pageant.
"So binigay nila sa akin yung task to be challenged to teach yung Miss Universe nila," he said, referring to H'Hen Niê.
H'Hen Niê made waves in local social media conversations because of her inspiring story, particularly her being from Rade, an ethnic minority group in central Vietnam that only makes up 5 percent of the country's population.
Santos said his first goal in training H'Hen Niê was to build up her confidence.
"Hen is an ethnic minority in Vietnam. Binuild ko muna yung confidence niya sa sarili niya kasi yung mga ganito mabibigla sa isang big world stage so parang kailangan i-boost mo yung character, yung kanyang self confidence nila to be shining onstage," he said.
After building the beauty queen's character, Santos said he started working on her movements.
"Talagang tinutukan ko masyado yung kanyang galaw, yung kanyang posture, yung kanyang stand, yung kanyang movements," Santos said.
"Yung una medyo magalaw. Sabi ko, no, kelangan i-tone down natin ito. Kailangan classier yung walk, kailangan queenly, kailangan international standards yung walk mo," he added.
Despite the language barrier as H'Hen Niê can hardly understand English, Santos said she was easy to teach.
"Si Miss Vietnam is so determined na kahit hand movements lang nakukuha niya ang instructions," Santos said.
Santos said being included in the Top 5 in the 2018 Miss Universe was already a big achievement for H'Hen Niê.
"Imagine, since time immemorial, Vietnam has never placed anything in Miss Universe except nung mag-host sila in 2008," he said. —KBK, GMA News