Once a garbage collector, now a Thai beauty queen

A beauty queen from Thailand has emerged the winner in a national beauty pageant competition and has admitted to one thing - she used to be a garbage collector.

17-year-old Mint Kanistha has been helping her mother to collect garbage in order to support themselves, according to a report in Shin Min Daily News. She also had to give up her studies after her sixth year in high school, as her mother couldn't afford her school fees.

With her mother's encouragement, Ms Kanistha decided to join the Miss Uncensored News Thailand beauty pageant competition in an attempt to get back to school and help support her family.

Thai media reports have said that she is not ashamed that she used to be a garbage collector and is thankful for her mother's sacrifices. It was also reported that her mother's hard-earned money made it possible for her to enter the competition.

According to Shin Min Daily News, Ms Kanistha immediately paid her respects and showed her gratitute to her mother by kneeling at her feet while still wearing her crown, sash and dress from the competition when she returned home.

She said: "I will still help my mother to collect garbage when I'm free even though she is unwilling to let me do it."

Ms Kanistha has reportedly already received a job offer as an actress.

"I didn't believe that I will win. It's like a dream. Everyone relies on their own efforts to support themselves. To be able to achieve success today is due to that hard work and effort," she added about her success.

Many people in Thailand have praised Ms Kanistha for her filial ways, saying that she is not only beautiful but is also a "girl with a good heart".

stephluo@sph.com.sg