“From nothing, here I am. I can do it so you can do it too!”
It was a historic night for Vietnam as Nie became its first candidate to reach the top five in Miss Universe.
Her impressive accomplishment in the pageant was highlighted by her life’s success story, which has earned her fans around the world.
Among the pageant’s early fan-favorites, 26-year-old Nie captured everyone’s attention with her stunning looks and elegant style. She received positive response for wearing trousers at an event which usually sees the contestants donning long gowns.
However, what endeared Nie most to her fans was her incredible backstory, which netizens from different parts of the globe have found inspiring. Nie, who hails from the Rade ethnic minority, was born to a poor family with six children in rural Vietnam.
While it was a tradition in her ethnic group to get married at age 14, she was able to reject this and pursued an education instead. By working as a domestic helper, she was able to support her own education, studying finance in a college in Ho Chi Minh City.
Later on, she pursued a modeling career and eventually joined the sixth season of “Vietnam’s Next Top Model” in 2015. She placed ninth in the competition.
When Nie became Miss Universe Vietnam, she donated her entire $10,000 cash prize to scholarships. It was reportedly her mother’s suggestion to donate the amount in full after she initially thought to donate 70% of it.
In an interview shared on the Miss Universe Vietnam page, Nie revealed that it was also her mom who helped her to avoid marriage when she was young.
As the global ambassador of non-profit organisation Room to Read, she now advocates for girls’ literacy and education in Asia, Inquirer reports. To support schoolgirls living in poverty, the NGO prioritizes building ore libraries in rural areas.
After making it to the final Top 5 in Miss Universe 2018, Nie received a $43,000 prize from various sponsors and her managing company. Again, she decided to donate 100% of her prize to provide scholarships for poor students and complete her social project Room to Read.
Before the Miss Universe finals, Sash Factor Vietnam released a video of Nie’s visit to her old village in Vietnam.
In the video, Nie is seen greeting the villagers, helping out with the chores, and warmly greeting people on the street with hugs.
Touched by the beauty queen’s humble gestures, netizens used the comments section to express their love and support.
“One of the greatest love is the love you receive from your people. When you have this love, no crowns nor riches can ever steal that from you,” commenter Joylyne Pascual wrote. “I have been here in Vietnam for more than a decade now, and I see how beautiful Vietnam is- the people, the land and the culture. Only people who have received so much love can give much. Miss Vietnam is indeed blessed with beauty inside and out.”
The clip, which was captioned as a homecoming visit, has received over eight million views as of this writing.
After her Miss Universe top five win, she returned to Vietnam for her actual homecoming on Tuesday, in which her countrymen gave her a warm welcome at the airport.