Maria Poonlertlarp, the winner of “Miss Thailand Universe 2017” pageant is what the Thai people can proudly call the “beauty and brain”. Maria was born to a Swedish father and a Thai mother and has lived and grown up in Bangkok. At the age of 14 she began to train as a model with “Elle Thailand”. After she graduated with a bachelor's degree from Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands, she later attended Stockholm Business School for her master's degree within Stockholm University, receiving her degree in international business commerce. Ehren speaks Thai, English, Swedish and Chinese making her a woman of the world.
In July 2017 she entered the Miss Universe Thailand competition. Her performances on stage stood out from the other contestants. She keep advancing to the more deeper rounds and eventually, she was crowned as Miss Universe Thailand 2017.
During the national competition she was quoted as saying “Equality of men and women in Thailand isn’t equal yet", in response to being asked what makes it hard to be a woman in Thailand. "But to move forward, both men and women have to hold hands and move forward together, because it’s not just an issue about women. This stage will help me to succeed and build foundations to help Thailand." Proof that this woman is not just a pretty face. She wanted to change lives.
Later on that year she represented Thailand at the “Miss Universe 2017” pageant in Las Vegas, Nevada where she made history by making it to the top 5 and had a change to answer the final question. Its the first time a representative from Thailand reached that far in the competition since back in 1989 when Thailand actually one the pageant, making her the closet shot the country has had to winning the competition again.
Maria not has got skills ondisplay in the beauty field but also in the music industry as well. She became an artist under the label “Smallroom” in 2010 and released her album “Maxi Singles” which contained a pop-dance style hit song “Boong” along with “Wait up”. Fast forward to 2018 and she has recently appeared in the Thailand singing show “The Mask Project A” (a sequel and project of The Mask Singer) under the “White Buffalo mask”. On the show she chose to warm and encourage the audience by singing “Where is the love” by Black Eyed Peas and even though she got eliminated in the first round she put on a great show and was praised by judges and the audience alike.
Thailand was very lucky to have Maria as their representative in the Miss Universe pageant even though she did not bring home the crown she has made Thailand very proud for her work on stage, on camera and beyond. What an inspiration to Thailand!
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Written by: Paul Tipchote, APR Thai Pop contributor.