Many people regard pageants as beauty contests, but it is when the participants bring a personal touch to the front that the platform shines. Miss Universe Thailand 2022 Anna Sueangam-iam stunned the audience with her silver gown.
Zooming in revealed that the outfit was completely composed of soda can tabs and Swarovski crystals. With this garment, the Thai model portrayed a piece of her own past.
Anna Sueangam-iam shared photos of her outfit on Instagram titled, “My Gown — My Personal Statement to the Universe”. In the caption, she explained why it was no ordinary dress, rather a very meaningful one. “This gown was inspired by the familiar surroundings of my childhood. Growing up with garbage collector parents, my life as a child was among piles of garbage and recyclables.”
The “Hidden Precious Diamond Dress”, created from hundreds of aluminium soda tabs, was designed by Thailand-based brand Manirat. It captured the model’s personal journey in life as a diamond in the rough. “This unique gown was purposefully tailor-made with discarded and recycled materials, namely the can tab to present to the universe that what’s considered worthless by many actually possesses its own value and beauty,” she wrote.
Sueangam-iam recently went viral for this look and some called her “the garbage beauty queen”. She concluded by appreciating all those who sent her love saying, “Thank you all for seeing it, hearing it and hopefully, being that message of self-worth.”
The 24-year-old was raised in Bangkok, Thailand with her father before being sent away to a Buddhist temple to be raised among nuns, as mentioned in her Miss Universe bio, according to People. Having been raised in poverty, she had to collect merit points, donate blood every semester, collect plastic waste bottles and clean bathrooms in order to pay for her school tuition.
Her experiences inspired her to take on the platform of advocating for equal access to education for underprivileged children during her reign as Miss Universe Thailand, working with non-profits like Smile Train Thailand to connect children with educational means.
She wore the dress in the Miss Universe 2022 competition but sadly, failed to make it in the top 16. However, she walked away with the Impact Wave Leadership award for her advocacy.