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Vietnam’s Next Top Model show hits controversy

September 19, 2013

Vietnam's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism singled out the reality TV show after transsexual models were discriminate against.


VIETNAM: There was plenty of controversy surrounding the story behind 23-year old Jenna Talackova when she was disqualified for being a contestant in last year’s Miss Universe pageant for not being a “natural born woman”.

Now, Vietnam is facing its own controversy, as casting for Vietnam’s Next Top Model is catching heat for violating its own regulations about not allowing transgender contestants.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism singled out the reality TV show after transsexual models were discriminate against and had to go through further steps in the audition process.

The reality show put transgender people under the scope for disqualification and even sent their regulations to the ministry saying the participants who underwent transgender operations were not eligible to participate.

According to Le Thi Quynnh Trang, production director of Vietnam’s Next Top Model, the contest is gearing more towards “natural” beauty, and that “sensitive cultural factors” were included in discriminatory regulation.

Vietnam’s Next Top Model has just started its 4th season, and with its new freshness, it has made a change.

Men too are now allowed to audition and because of this, there has been a large influx of them, along with transsexuals, transvestites and even “men with girly styles” according to the organizer.

Pham Dinh Thang, deputy director of the ministry’s Performing Arts Department, said that although transsexuals do not violate any laws when applying for the contest, they would still have to follow the show’s rules.

Thuy Nga, the directory of a leading model agency in Ho Chi Minh City, said that the word “model” has become ambiguous to many people.

“It’s the same about sexual orientation. It’s not important that you’re male, female or transgender, but that you can transfer the designers’ message.” Said Thuy.

Vietnam’s society is rather progressive when it comes to voicing up for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights.

Just last yeat the Minister of Justice Ha Hung Cuong denounced discrimination against gays.

As years pass, rules banning such people participating in just about anything will slowly disappear.

This report first appeared in


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