Dr. Seri Wongmontha, contest
president, awards cash, sash, trophy and other awards to contestant no. 5,
Sirapassorn Athayakorn, winner of Miss International Queen 2011.
The Miss International Queen crown returned to Thailand
as a Bangkok communications student won Pattaya’s annual transvestite beauty
pageant which, this year, served as a vehicle not only to raise hopes of
equality for the transgendered, but relief for the kingdom’s flood-ravaged
Sirapassorn Athayakorn, 21, won $10,000 and a raft of
other prizes in triumphing over 22 contestants from 18 countries at the Nov.
4 pageant at the Tiffany Theater. Standing in stark contrast to fellow
contestants from less-tolerant countries, the Ramkhamhaeng University
communications arts major said her family was very supportive of her goal of
becoming a woman, giving up their fight against femininity when Sirapassorn
was only six years old.
protrudes confidence whilst showing off her Miss International Queen 2011
Things couldn’t have been more different for second place
finisher “Sahara” of Nigeria, whose flowing gown hid masses of scars from
childhood beatings borne of persecution in her home country.
“I didn’t join this competition to get confirmation that
I’m accepted in society,” said Sahara, who will take $2,000 and other prizes
back to her current home in the United Kingdom. “I joined because I want to
have fun and to make a statement to Nigeria that, as a transwoman, you can
do this, you can be here.”
Sahara wasn’t unique in having endured hardship in
pursuit of changing genders. A Filipino contestant who finished third, who
goes simply by the moniker “Margaret,” was actually born in Lebanon, but was
given up by her birth parents and shunned by her adoptive father in the
Sahara from Nigeria (left),
and Margaret from Lebanon, congratulate Sirapassorn Athayakorn, winner of
Miss International Queen 2011.
“Everything seemed to blow up in front of me,” Margaret
recalled for the media. “My parents promised they’d come back and get me.
I’m waiting for them. I hope nobody forgets me.”
For this year’s contestants, however, shared personal
pain paled in the face of the communal struggles of Thais enduring the worst
flooding in six decades. The contestants visited evacuees from central
Thailand and Bangkok and the pageant officials devoted themselves to raising
money for disaster relief.
Ten boats owned by previous Miss International Queen
contestants, including 2001 winner Trichda Phetcharat and 2007 queen
Thanyarat Jitprapajin, were auctioned off for 270,000 baht. The funds were
donated to the Chai Pattana Foundation, a royal charity devoted to
development projects throughout the kingdom.
“That will be with me forever,” Sahara told the media of
her visit to the evacuee shelter.
Others taking home memories and prizes from the globally
televised ladyboy pageant are Angel GaGa of China, who won “Most Talented”
with a unique performance that brought laughter to the judges and audience,
and Karin Fujikawa of Japan who won the Miss Photogenic prize. The Eternal
Beauty prize when to American Mokha Montres and the Best National Dress
award was won by “Yasmin Dream” of Brazil.
(Korea) Miss International
Queen 2010 “Mini” presents the 2011 crown to Sirapassorn Athayakorn.
Alisa Phanthusak, assistant
director of Tiffany Show Pattaya Co., Ltd., presents the trophy, sash and
sponsor awards to second runner-up, Margaret from Lebanon.
Mokha Montrese from USA wins
the Eternal Beauty award.
The last three finalists from
three different countries listen for the announcement proclaiming a winner.
Previous winners perform in
the contest galas shows organized by Tiffany Show.
performs during the talent contest.
Angel GaGa of China, who won
“Most Talented” with a unique performance that brought laughter to the
judges and audience
23 contestants from 18
countries compete in the Miss International Queen 2011 beauty pageant.