YANGON, Myanmar – A dethroned beauty queen from Myanmar said Tuesday she won’t return her bejeweled $100,000 crown until pageant organizers apologize for calling her a liar and a thief.
May Myat Noe – the country’s first winner of an international beauty contest – lashed back at her accusers at a tightly packed news conference.
She denied accepting breast implants, as claimed by David Kim, director of media for the South Korea-based Miss Asia Pacific World. He said the surgery was provided free, part of efforts to boost the teen into super-stardom.
Kim said Noe was stripped of her title last week because she was dishonest and unappreciative, and that she ran off with her tiara after learning of the decision.
Noe said she boarded a plane for Myanmar before getting word.
She said she did not intend to steal the crown, but also wasn’t going to give it back without a “sorry,” not just to her, but also to Myanmar.
“I’m not even proud of this crown,” she said after opening a blue box and placing the tiara on the table in front of her. “I don’t want a crown from an organization with such a bad reputation.”
Her mother, who accompanied Noe on the trip to South Korea, cried when asked about the experience.
Myanmar, which only recently emerged from a half century of military rule and self-imposed isolation, started sending contestants to international pageants again in 2012. Noe’s win was widely covered in local media.