VietNamNet Bridge - Contestants at the Mrs World pageant have successfully married their professional and family lives.
Mrs Côte d'Ivoire, Marie Carine Davison (R, 3rd) won the Mrs Ao Dai crown .
Five-year-old Tereza easily hogs the limelight even when she is surrounded by a bevy of beauty queens.
As a natural interpreter for Slovakia’s Mrs World contestant, Zuzana Netusilova, the little girl is remarkably articulate and clearheaded, capable of handling even her mother’s press conferences with aplomb.
“My mother is an interior decorator, and I am proud that she is here to participate in the contest. This also gives us a wonderful holiday at such a beautiful beach,” she said.
No matter what the outcome of the contest, Netusilova seems to be one of the luckiest participants, accompanied as she is by her whole family – her husband, three children and her mother.
That this is “more than just a competition” is a feeling apparently shared by many contestants as the ongoing Mrs World Pageant closes in on the big night.
The new format that welcomes all young wives, mothers and even grandmothers from every corner of the globe to participate in the contest makes “winning isn’t everything” more than a cliché.
Coming from different cultural, professional and social backgrounds, the contestants have nevertheless found many common things to share, and missing their families is a top ranked concern.
The importance of the family for the contestants has been very visible as the wives and mothers call home everyday and their purchases revolve around gifts for children at home, whether it is Mrs Ecuador Olga Salazar getting a pair of wooden shoes for her mother and daughter or Mrs England Hannah McCuaig buying a red sweater for her little son.
Trincy Low, Mrs Malaysia and the mother of a boy and girl, said her daughter gets upset for a whole day if she is not called at least once every 24 hours.
Low, who owns a cabaret and teaches cake decorating, said it gave her great happiness to share experiences about raising kids and keeping the family happy with other contestants.
The Malaysian representative for Miss World 1995 and Miss Universe 1997, Low said, “I think this is a mature pageant, not only a showcase for versatile and accomplished women but bringing us all together through simple things.”
Mrs Côte d'Ivoire, Marie Carine Davison, who is a make-up artist, said the secret of fighting against aging is living happily. The 1.90m tall beauty, who won the Mrs Ao Dai crown on Monday, said she is content with having a good husband and a five-year-old son.
THE BIG NIGHT
The supporting rounds like interview, talent and swimsuit competitions got underway on Thursday (November 19) and the results will be announced on the final night. The 20-minute-film clip introducing the competition, the country and the contestants was completed a day earlier, organizers announced.
The contestants attend Vung Tau Town’s first Cusine Festival at the Bien Dong (Eastern Ocean) Tourist Site on Friday and start rehearsing for the coronation night that starts at 8 p.m. on November 22. The event will be telecast live on Star World, VTV1, VTV4, VTV9, BRT and another 70 other channels worldwide.
The contestants will return to HCMC and leave Vietnam on November 24.
‘Best of the best hosts’
Mrs Vietnam Hoang Thi Yen, director of the Ho Chi Minh City branch of a courier firm, and Mrs Vietnam first runner-up Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, manager of a medical devices store in Hanoi, have already won the hearts of other contestants with their help and hospitality.
Low called them the “best of the best hosts.”
Yen, 33, and 26-year-old Ha are also busy with many training courses to prepare their presentations.
Learning English, dancing and some extra lessons on Vietnamese history with local and foreign experts take up a lot of their time. Yen has lost weight given the hectic schedule, but she said she is a lot more confident with her performing, communication and English skills.
More than a pretty face
Amidst the hustle and bustle of all the activities associated with the contest, Mrs Kazakhstan, 27-yearold Dinara Satzhanova, has drawn a lot of attention because she is never without a camera or video-camera. Satzhanova is an editor at Kazakhstan’s national TV station, and through the contest, she has the opportunity to introduce the contestants and Vietnam to her country.
In fact, contestants at this beauty pageant include doctors, makeup artists, editors, TV presenters, businesswomen, singers, models and many other professionals.
That they are able to combine successfully their professional and family lives and also take part in contests like this is encouraging and inspiring Vietnamese youngsters, in particular the student volunteers at the pageant.
Mrs India plays with a deaf child at Vietnam's Disabled Children Accommodation Center in Hanoi
Some 55 volunteers, mainly students from universities in Vung Tau and HCMC, are taking care of the constantly changing logistical arrangements for the Mrs World Pageant 2009, contestants and organizers.
Their energy, efficiency, enthusiasm and hospitality is creating a good impression about the host country among the visitors, including the contestants.
In return, they only get a small amount for their daily expenses like phone calls and their meals, but the experience and contact with the contestants is giving them valuable insights into the future.
Twenty-year-old female volunteer Phuong, a student of the HCMC Open University, said the tasks are not very hard, although they sometimes affect her studies.
“The contestants have made me take a different look at successful women. They know the way to balance their lives and family is always the priority. They are also friendly, sweet, funny and comfortable.”
Phuong has struck a close friendship with Mrs Ireland, who has acted in many Broadway shows like “A Chorus Line”, “Will Rodgers Follies” and “Annie Gets Your Gun” and has traveled to 32 countries and territories.
Mrs Ireland, Melissa Behnke, said: “My husband, who is a pilot, encouraged me a lot to join the pageant. He said it will be a great time for me and he was right. The contest is well-organized and has fun staff. I think we (pointing at Phuong) will still keep in touch even after the contest is over.”