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Dress-rental agent wins Miss Tiffany Universe

(L to R) Miss Tiffany Universe 2009 Haruna Ai, this year’s 2nd runner-up Siriworakorn Buttayothi, Miss Tiffany Universe 2012 Panwilas Mongkol, first runner up Nisha Chaiyapruek, and Miss Tiffany Universe 2011 Sammy Sripassorn Akhayakorn.

Warunya Thongrod

A 21-year-old haute couture dress dealer bested 29 other transsexuals to win the 2012 Miss Tiffany Universe pageant.

Panwilas Mongkol, who began a company to rent expensive gowns, took home 1.5 million baht in cash and prizes, plus a new Honda Jazz compact.

The moment of truth, when Panwilas Mongkol learns she’s won!

Panwilas said she was encouraged to join the competition by her mother, who was in the audience when the she won the crown May 4 at the Tiffany Theater. She will represent Thailand in Tiffany’s Miss International Queen pageant later this year.

“I promise to work hard to prepare for the competition, whether that means learning extra languages or practicing for various talent competitions,” Panwilas said.

The first runner-up was Nisha Chaiyapruek, 23. Her win was unusual in that the Pattalung native came into the contest deeply tanned, running counter to the common Thai perception beauty requires white skin.

Panwilas Mongkol, Miss Tiffany Universe 2012 struts her stuff along the stage, waving to and thanking her fans.

“I never expected to be in the final three as my skin color is not popular in Thailand,” Nisha said. “I think it is important to see that tanned people be accepted in society.”

Nisha took home 100,000 baht in prize money. Third-place finisher Siriworakarn Buttayotho, 21, won 70,000 baht.

Tiffany’s transgender pageants continue to grow in popularity in Thailand and in the many Asian countries where they are televised.

Tiffany Show Assistant Managing Director Alisa Phanthusak noted the pageant picked up two new major sponsors this year including Kiss Gluta 200, a health supplement used to whiten skin. By being named “Miss Kiss Gluta 200,” contestant Nisamanee Lertworapong won 10,000 baht and was given a free pass into the finals.

Piya Kittitheepornchai, general manager of Kiss Gluta products, presents the Miss Kiss Gluta award to Nisamnee Leetworapong.

High-tech retailer Banana IT also got its name in lights by creating a “Miss Social Network” prize. Nisamanee also won this prize, which was awarded based on Internet votes cast on Facebook. For this title, she won an Apple iPad.

“The Miss Tiffany contest is to help promote the ‘third sex’ and help them become more accepted in society,” explained Managing Director Sutham Phanthusak. “Winning prizes in Miss Tiffany Universe will help them get good jobs.”

Pageant contestants not only paraded down the catwalk, but also aided the community. Before the finals, the 30 participants visited the Banglamung Home for the Elderly, donating toiletries and offering residents lunch.

Sutham Phanthusak (right), MD of Tiffany Show Co. Ltd., presents the first runner up award to Nisha Chaiyapruek.

Judging was done by a panel including Associate Professor Seri Wongmonta, Thep Vejvisit of Pratunam Poly Clinic; Saisom Wongsasuluk, president of the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Center; Dr. Prayoon Janetrakoonroj, director of Asoke Skin Hospital; Sasamon Sanguansin; chairman of Perfect Slim Co.; Vichai Walapol, president of the Mass Media Photographers Association of Thailand; Somsak Chalachol, president of Chalachol Co.; actress Ornnapa Kritsadee, makeup artist Kamol Chatsaen; and others.

Other winners included Kamala Potisan for best costume, Sopida Rachanon for most photogenic, Ruttanun Seelawanich for “Miss Congeniality,” Nicha Chaiyapreuk for most-stylish cocktail dress and Panvilas Mongkol for sexiest skin.

“I want to end poverty and save the world…” Contestants answer tough questions during the final round.

(L to R) Miss Alisa Phanthusak, Asst. MD of Tiffany Show Co. Ltd.; Sutham Phanthusak, MD of Tiffany Show Co. Ltd.; Prof. Dr. Seri Wongmontha, consultant of the contest and president of judging committee pose for the paparazzi.

The pageantry is immense.

Some tropical flavor to entertain the audience while the judges deliberate.

The Queen and her court, Miss Tiffany Universe 2012 Panwilas Mongkol poses with contestants, judges and sponsors.

Contestants treat residents of the Banglamung Home for the Elderly to a delicious lunch.

Contestants and friends say thank you to their elders.

More incredible costumes and scenery during the gala event.

Sammy Sripassorn Akhayakorn (center), Miss Tiffany Universe 2011 and Miss International Queen 2011, visits Banglamung Home for the Elderly.

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