The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MoCST) has stated that it had never announced to withdraw the Miss Vietnam title of Mai Phuong Thuy.
The Ministry said that it would assign a specialized agency to check Thuy’s photos before making the final decision.
The Ministry said that the photo shoot featuring Mai Phuong Thuy in ao dai are controversial works. Many people said that the Vietnamese traditional ao dai was abused to inappropriately show off the beauty of woman body. However, many photographers said that the photo shoot is “sexy,” not “erotic” and “it is unnecessary to restrict the creativeness of artists.”
The Ministry seems to be sympathetic with the Miss Vietnam 2006 because she took the photo shoot when she was only 20. However, the MoCST’s spokesperson, Mr. To Van Dong, said that the beauty queen should not make public these photos.
According to the Ministry, the “scandal” is a valuable lesson for beauty queens in using ao dai in photo shoots.
Mai Phuong Thuy’s ao dai photo shoots, which were taken four years ago, appeared on an online newspaper on February 3. The photo collection captured Thuy donning a sleek and transparent white ao dai in different sexy poses.
The shoot, 10 black and white photos of Thuy, accessorized with Vietnamese “non la” (cone hat) and symbolic lotus flowers, was done by photographer Quoc Huy.
A number of netizens have strongly criticized the photos, saying Thuy’s too erotic poses damaged the traditional and beautiful image of ao dai. Some said she only used the dress to show off her body’s curves.
However, another group of commentators praise Thuy’s body, arguing that the photos have captured the delicate, gentle and fragile image of Vietnamese women.
Thuy on February 8 sent an official apology to her fans for the controversial photo shoot. Thuy, in her apology letter, wrote that she was too young when she modeled for the shoot and her lack of modeling skills have probably sent the wrong message about the purpose of the photos.
“The whole team and I only aimed for aesthetic values in the photos. If we failed to deliver the message, we should really learn from the experience and improve ourselves.
“We certainly do not intend to tarnish the image of traditional ao dai and Vietnamese women. I apologized for all the inconveniences caused when you see these photos. I hope to have your sympathy and another chance to contribute to the community,” she wrote.
Mai Phuong Thuy in the controversial photo shoot: