Miss Universe pageant: How beauty queen represented “garbage collector parents” with her dress

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Miss Thailand Anna Sueangam-iam walked proud and tall literally telling the story of her poor upbringing on stage at the 71st edition of the Miss Universe pageant

She captivated the audience in a Dress Made Out of Soda Tabs on January 11. The beauty queen said the dress represented her upbringing by “garbage collector parents”

Miss Thailand, Anna Sueangam-iam walks onstage during the 71st Miss Universe preliminary competition at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
There are hundreds of looks that come across the Miss Universe pageant stage, but there was one in particular that caught many people’s attention on Saturday night.

Miss Thailand Anna Sueangam-iam, 24, took to the stage in a silver evening gown, but those that looked closely noticed a specific unique detail: it was made up almost entirely of soda tabs.

The dress, dubbed the “Hidden Precious Diamond Dress,” was designed by Thailand-based fashion brand Manirat and was created from hundreds of aluminum soda tabs combined with Swarovski crystals, according to a post on the Miss Thailand Instagram page.

The dress went viral on social media, with an Instagram post Sueangam-iam shared of the look garnering more than 235,000 likes, and a TikTok made about the dress by a Miss Universe fan amassing nearly 125,000 likes.

The dress isn’t just unique in its style, but also in its story. Sueangam-iam wrote on Instagram that her inspiration for the dress came from her upbringing and being called by some a “garbage beauty queen.”

“Growing up with garbage collector parents, my life as a child was among piles of garbage and recyclables,” Sueangam-iam captioned her post of the dress.

“This unique gown was purposefully tailored-made with discarded and recycled materials, namely the ‘Can Tab’ to present to the UNIVERSE that what’s considered worthless by many actually possesses its own value and beauty,” she continued. “Thank you all for seeing it, hearing it, and hopefully being that message of self-worth. 🕊”

Sueangam-iam was raised in Bangkok, Thailand with her father before being sent away to a Bhuddist temple to be raised among nuns, according to her Miss Universe bio. Having been raised in poverty, she had to collect merit points, donate blood every semester, collect plastic waste bottles and clean bathrooms in order to pay tuition for schooling.

Her experiences growing up inspired her to take on the platform of advocating for equal access to education for all Thai children during her reign as Miss Universe Thailand, working with non-profits like Smile Train Thailand to connect children with educational means.


Sueangam-iam failed to make it in the top 16 of the Miss Universe pageant, but walked away with the Impact Wave Leadership award for her advocacy.

Ultimately, Miss USA’s R’Bonney Gabriel took the crown at the Miss Universe pageant, beating out more than 80 other delegations from around the world.

When asked during the final question how she would show that Miss Universe is “an empowering and progressive organization” if she were to win, Gabriel answered that she would “invest in our community and use your unique talent to make a difference.”

“We all have something special, and when we plant those seeds to other people in our life, we transform them, and we use that as a vehicle for change,” she added.

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