Continuous learning and positively growing as a person has always been a consistent goal of mine, but now I want to expand my impact beyond myself. I want to be able to positively influence and share my experiences with other people all around the world. I want to be able to educate myself as well as current and future generations of people. Learning and understanding is crucial in conducive societal growth, and I have always wanted to be a part of that impact!
The key words I choose to reflect on a daily basis are education, understanding, growth, experience, and impact. I have been receiving so many comments from people around the world and I wish I could answer everyone!! I want to use my platform to open up an empathic and civil dialogue to induce both mental and physical growth on an educational level.
Because of the comments and support I am receiving, I want to again address some controversies surrounding my dream to compete for Miss Universe Thailand 2022.
I am Thai and American. Those are my two nationalities. Every country has its own nationality laws based on its own policy. After some simple research and my own basic knowledge “Thai citizens are allowed to have dual nationality and own two passports” (The Thaiger) and you are also allowed to have multiple citizenships in the US. According to the Bangkok Post, “First and foremost any child born in Thailand is automatically a Thai citizen even though the parents may be foreign. So is a child born to at least one Thai parent, regardless of place of birth” (Bangkok Post, p.1).
After some more extensive research, I read and reviewed the Thai constitution and various websites which helped me understand more of Thai law and legal presidents that many people have been concerned about in regards to my Thai nationality and heritage. I am a Luk Khrueng, a half blood. My mother was born in Thailand and my father was born in the United States. Luk Khruengs derive their Thai citizenship by birth from a Thai parent, and section 39 in the Thai Constitution prevents the state from taking citizenship away on a non-voluntary basis (Thai Citizenship).
“No person of Thai nationality shall be deported or prohibited from entering the
The revocation of Thai nationality acquired by birth shall not be permitted.”
After looking into Thai laws and US laws, I was curious as to what other countries allow and regulate regarding nationalities. There are also a few countries that allow more than two citizenships. “With the talk of dual nationality and references to your country of origin and/or your adopted country, you may ask whether, if you already have dual nationality, you can acquire a third nationality. This is known as multiple citizenship rather than triple citizenship. Multiple citizenship is permitted in the UK” (OTS Solicitors). Additionally, a fun fact I learned about Australians is that they often have two or more nationalities. Smart Traveler states that “Many Australians hold two or more nationalities. As well as holding Australian citizenship, they are citizens (or 'nationals') of another country” (Smart Traveler).
Now, let me get back to Miss Universe talk!!! There are numerous Miss Universe competitors that have dual citizenship and claim multiple nationalities. However, the Queen that made the biggest impact on my life is Catriona Gray Miss Universe 2018.
I remember watching her in college. I was still unsure about my multicultural heritage and appearance. I still felt alone in my struggle to not only be accepted by people but to accept myself.
I have always had a soft spot for Thailand and the USA in the global pageants. But for the first time in my life, I was rooting for a different country. I was rooting for the Philippines. Not because she was beautiful and elegant on the stage but because she gave me hope. She helped me take the leap in loving all of me. She set the change in the global stage to accept multicultural people, to acknowledge the efforts an individual makes to be a part of and embody multiple cultures. Catriona Gray is the reason I was able to start dreaming of the possibility of competing for Thailand.
Nationality is largely a legal function and is often dependent on a personal choice. Nationality is a distinctly different category from biological criteria. Miss Universe currently uses nationality as one of the criteria for classification. At the end of the day, Catriona Gray consciously chose to be Miss Philippines and ultimately represented the country in Miss Universe. She was able to exercise her freedom to choose within the bounds of law as well as the rules and regulations of the organization. She will always be an inspiration and a beacon of hope for me.
And now the current Miss Universe Thailand 2021, Anchilee Scott-Kemmis has been successful making a positive impact on women around the world. Her platform is based around redefining beauty standards by celebrating diversity and individuality. I know her platform focuses on body positivity, but it means so much more than that. If you watch her, the way she presents herself, the way she speaks, her personality, she is secure in herself both mentally and physically. She is breaking the boundaries in both beauty standards and in overall acceptance. She isn't scared to be herself. I know she didn't place in Miss Universe 2021, but I still think Thailand did an amazing job choosing a Queen! She continues to be an amazing role model for people around the world. I hope she continues to share her experiences and advocatsy to the world.
These Queens have helped me embrace who I am. They continue to influence the decisions I personally make. Because of them, I am more confident and secure in my multicultural background and existence. I hope to one day be able to also make a positive impact like these Queens.
I am not writing this to invalidate anyone's feelings, thoughts or concerns. I am writing this to explain myself. I will always agree with an individual's freedom to form their own opinions. I do not expect everyone to support me and agree with my opinions. I simply just want to open up a civil discussion to educate people on the diverse outlooks on the global environment. There are billions of people on this planet and there are going to be people who do not believe in me, and that’s okay. I believe in myself.
After reflecting on the final Miss Universe 2021 question, I would just love to tell young girls “I know. I understand you. I know societal pressures make life feel impossible sometimes. You might think giving up is the easiest way. And that’s okay to feel that way. I’ve felt that way. But I personally want to encourage you to get up and try again. Get up and find your happiness. Don’t you ever give up. Your body and mind are amazing and they do amazing things. I am proud of you. No matter where you are in life, I am proud of everything you have become and everything you will become.”
My Personal Honorable Dual Citizenship Pageant Queen Mentions:
Chloè Mortaud - Miss France 2009, French and America
Anea Garcia - Miss Rhode Island USA 2015, Miss Grand Dominican Republic 2015 (resigned)
Maria Venus Bayonito Raj - Miss Indiana Teen USA 2006, Miss Indiana USA 2009, Binibining Pilipinas Universe, Miss Universe Philippines 2010