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Miss Teen International: 'I came here with confidence'

July 09, 2024 21:59 IST
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The host announced, 'Cambooooooodia!' and with that 11th grader Ly Muyleang strode up to claim her crown...

IMAGE Left to right: Mexico’s Regina González, Namibia’s Oriana Ribeiro, Cambodia’s Ly Muyleang, Annette Moreno Viu from Cuba and Botswana’s Onkatlile Koolatotse pose for shutterbugs after the grand finale of Miss Teen International 2024. Photograph: Kind courtesy Miss Teen International Pageant/Instagram

Neither Zee Studios, Jaipur, nor the city either, had probably seen so much young nubile beauty under one roof, like they did July 7.

Indeed Miss Teen International 2024, that took place last week in the Pink City, was a truly international spectacle of glamour and talent.

A total of 28 participants, between the ages of 14 and 19, from across the world, including USA, Dominican Republic, The Netherlands, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Vietnam, Bangladesh, among others, competed for the crown through a series of rounds that tested their charm, grace, and confidence.

Interestingly, the 2024 edition marked the debut of Bangladesh, England, Fiji, Germany, Japan, Lithuania, South Africa, Spain, Uganda in the contest.

What was most surprising was to see these youngsters, still in their tender teens, own the stage with effortless elegance and winner’s attitude. Wow!

It was, as expected, a nail-biting finish when Cambodia’s Ly Muyleang, 17, outpaced other contestants to take the crown. The crowd erupted as Muyleang stole the Miss Teen International 2024 title, the first-ever win for her home country at this pageant.

Participant Annette Moreno Viu from Cuba secured the first runner-up position. The second, third, and fourth runner-ups were Oriana Ribeiro from Namibia, Onkatlile Koolatotse from Botswana, Regina González from Mexico.

Sejal Gupta, the 15-year-old girl from Chandigarh representing India, sadly bowed out, and could not make it beyong the Top 8, leaving her fans in her home turf disappointed. Better luck, Sejal, in your road ahead! 

IMAGE: Ly Muyleang is Miss Teen International 2024. Her beauty is as classic as one of the calm faces of those statues at Angkor Wat.  Photograph: Kind courtesy Miss Teen International Pageant/Instagram

Just before the Top 15 out of 28 were selected, there was an introduction round. Each teen put her most shapely foot forward and showcased bewilderingly beguiling skills -- some even danced their way into the hearts of the judges!

The event was hosted by Filipino actor Lance Raymundo and Ngo Ngọc Gia Han, Miss Teen International 2022 from Vietnam.

From a segment packed with carefree beach vibes, when the contestants pirouetted about in swimsuits, the evening moved to the gown parade. Each showed off breathtakingly exquisite gowns, their sequins nearly blinding.

Only India, Mexico, Indonesia, Botswana, Namibia, Cuba, United States, and Cambodia made it through to the Top 8 round. At this juncture things began to get a bit heated up as the lucky eight had to field a bunch of questions put to them in this classic QnA round.

Each contestant picked a question from a fish bowl. Topics ranged from the power of social media to woman representation, and the responses were to test intelligence and confidence of contestants.

Sejal was asked: How do you manage your emotions during challenging situations?

In reply, Sejal spoke, with not a lot of conviction, about believing in one's self and how that helped her to navigate through, further adding that her firm belief in god and support from her family also aided her while facing difficulties. Her answer did lack confidence.

IMAGE: Tears, joy and love: The young women celebrated the culmination of their journey together as they cried, cheered, smiled and hugged each other at the end of the crowning ceremony. All photographs: Mayur Sanap/

I was rooting for Miss Teen Namibia. Her question was about what success meant to her and when can one consider oneself successful.

Her response was graceful and well articulated: "Today I stand in front of you all as young Namibian lady who made it to the Top 8 at Miss Teen International. To me success is when you have found contentment in yourself. I believe you have reached the pinnacle of success when you're able to look at yourself and say 'This is who I am, this is where I am and I know where I am going'. And today I can tell you all that I'm in fact already successful because I'm content about who i am and where I'm going."

Then Cambodia’s Ly Muyleang had her turn and was queried, “In what ways do you perceive the loss of humanity in today’s society?”

She responded with a good deal of self-assurance, “People are using violence and war in today’s world. We must stop that. I want to inspire my generation to stand up, speak up for themselves and not be scared of the people in the society.”

Miss Namibia answered thoughtfully, but Muyleang was brimming with spunk.

From there, the field was quickly and excitingly slashed to the Top 5, with three contestants exiting. The background score was of a beating heart that added dramatic punch and fun to the tense moment.

And then within minutes, it was Muyleang’s victory moment, as she took the crown home to her native Cambodia for the first time. Confidence was Muyleang's trump card, as she later told me, “I came here with confidence; I really believed I would win this crown.”

Watch the definitive moment of the Miss Teen International 2024

VIDEO: Afsar Dayatar/


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