More and more Filipinos are joining those who are identifying themselves as fans of Miss Universe 2018 Top 5 finalist H’Hen Nie of Vietnam. This is even before they found out that the Vietnamese beauty queen was trained by Filipino pageant coaches.
The head coach of Nie was Anjo Santos, who is friends with the Miss Universe Vietnam national director. Santos told PEP that he has been training Vietnamese beauty queens since 2014 and for Nie, he was helped by his Filipino friends in Ho Chi Minh City namely Gerard Ruivivar and Kim Rocafor, who are both from Quezon.
“I handled her for a month,” Santos told the publication. “I covered poise, stance, and catwalk, and make-up tutorial. Then I designed a pasarela fit for her and the gown she will wear.”
Ruvivar also told the publication that Nie is a fast learner who was focused and quick to absorb the techniques they taught her during their training. He and Rocafor prepared her for the question-and-answer portion.
According to some netizens, the interpreter provided for Nie at the Miss Universe 2018 coronation night did not do justice to the translation of her answer in the Top 5 round. Asked when she thought the #MeToo movement has gone too far, the Vietnamese beauty queen said through her translator that the movement is on the right track and women need protection and freedom.
In an interview with the GMA Network show “Unang Balita,” Santos said Nie was very determined. She effectively absorbed the instructions such as the hand movements, he said.
Hailing from Bicol, Santos is not affiliated with any beauty pageant camp. An independent trainer, he has been giving modelling and grooming training to children, teens and beauty queens under a program called Modelo Bikolano.
Among the beauty queens who have trained under the tutelage of Santos were Miss Philippines Earth-Water 2007 Joycie Nocomura and Miss Universe 2010 fourth runner-up Venus Raj. Born to an Indian father and Filipino mother in Doha, Qatar but raised in Camarines Sur, Raj is also from Bicol.
Meanwhile, like Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray of the Philippines, Nie also loves singing. Jump to the 34:55 mark to hear her sing in Vietnamese here: