Han Lay, Miss Grand Myanmar, looks on during an interview in Bangkok on Friday. | REUTERS
Han Lay, Miss Grand Myanmar, looks on during an interview in Bangkok on Friday. | REUTERS

Everything we know about Han Lay – Myanmar’s Beauty Queen

Han Lay from Myanmar was adjudged the first runner-up at Miss Universe Myanmar 2020 on 30th December 2020 at Novotel Max Hotel, Yangon after which she earned the chance to represent Myanmar at Miss Grand International 2020. She succeeded Miss Grand Myanmar 2019 Hmwe Thet Lwin for the title.

Han Lay - Biography and Career

Photo: BBC
Photo: BBC

Han is 22-years-old and stands 168 cm tall. She has graduated with a degree in psychology; specialised in clinical counselling from the University of Yangon and has a certification for a qualified make-up artist who aims to be a well-known professional make-up artist and hair stylist. She works as a volunteer at the mental health care centre as well. The stunning beauty firmly believes that women don’t need to be prove that they should keep abreast with men because Daw Aung San Sukyi, her mother leader has already proved that how powerful women are.

The diva is fluent in three languages; English, Mandarin, and Shan. She is strong, determined, and dedicated woman who is extremely proud to be representing Myanmar at Miss Grand International 2020 along with using her voice to make the people of Myanmar and across the world about the injustice happening in her country. The pageant fanatics believe that such strong and powerful women should be an inspiration for the younger generation to come and have appreciated her for her understanding and using the platform for a greater good.

Han Lay's Miss Grand International 2021 speech

Recalling last week’s beauty contest, Han Lay said her speech, during which she fought back tears, triggered deep sorrow that she has been unable to contain. | REUTERS
Recalling last week’s beauty contest, Han Lay said her speech, during which she fought back tears, triggered deep sorrow that she has been unable to contain. | REUTERS

In her introduction video, Han mentioned that her mother has always been an inspiration in her life and she is grateful that she has always taught Han to be strong and capable of being a woman. She stated that her mother’s journey has made her realize that women are not just limited to be housewives but so much more and beauty pageants are one way of showcasing or giving them a platform to do so. She loves to play basketball and sing at times and would showcase her talent of singing if given a chance.

During the finale night of Miss Universe Myanmar 2020, Han was asked, “What is the difference between donating and philanthropy?”, To which she answered, “Both donating and philanthropy are generally the same as they both share the same characteristics; benevolence, the term donation can somethings lead to same interest, however the term philanthropy only focuses on desire to promote the welfare of the others without being selfish. No matter either one of them, what we can do, keep up the good nature to help others. If we integrate that quality with donation there would be a perfect charity.” The diva’s answer impressed everyone and thus she was adjudged as the first runner-up at the end of the event finale.

With so much confidence, positive and humble attitude, dedication and focus towards making the country proud, Han has managed to impress everyone and made a spot for herself at the top favourites for the title. She has performed exceptionally well at the quarantine activities and her styling has surely attracted a lot of attention as well as she carries herself with utmost grace and elegance. One of the favourites for the Miss Grand International 2020 title is Han Lay from Myanmar.

Beauty queen takes Myanmar's democratic fight to international stage

The 22-year-old made heads turn in Thailand during an emotive speech where she pleaded for “urgent international help” for her country, the same day 141 demonstrators were killed in a crackdown by military rulers she said were selfish and abusing their power.

On Friday, she said her compatriots in an anti-coup movement would not back away from a struggle that has so far claimed close to 550 lives in the two months since the generals overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government, according to Japantimes.

“I need to speak out,” she said. “I cried a lot and also the whole night when I arrived back to my room I cried a lot. Until now when I speak out about Myanmar I cry a lot too.”

She said she was unable to focus on the competition and felt guilt about people suffering back home.

“Beauty queens need to smile every time, need to connect with every people, very personally,” she said.

“I can’t be happy here because (while) I do daily activities here, so many people died in Myanmar.”

“I can say one thing, that we Myanmar citizens will never give up,” she said.

“They told me that they will fight on the street and I’m also fighting my way on the stage now. So I think that if they will not give up, we will win.”

Myanmar has descended into chaos since the coup, with daily demonstrations and strikes designed to cripple the country’s administration, many of which have been lethally suppressed by security forces with live ammunition.

The victims have mostly been young people, born in the latter years of the military’s half-century rule before it made way in 2011 to a brief era of democracy and economic reform.

Security forces issued arrest warrants last week for 18 celebrities, social media "influencers" and two journalists under a law against material "intended to cause a member of the armed forces to mutiny or disregard their duty", state media reported. All of them had spoken out against the coup.

Han Lay said she had not been contacted by the military or any other officials after her speech, but she said she had been on the receiving end of threatening comments on her social media accounts.

"On social media they threatened me, saying when I go back to Myanmar ... prison is waiting for me," she said. She doesn't know who is behind the threatening remarks. The vast majority of social media comments had been supportive, she said.

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