By: Visith Teppalath, Vientiane Times, October 10, 2016
Ms Boutsaba Saengpan (centre) is flanked by other finalists after winning the contest.
Miss Laos 2016 concluded on Saturday night in Vientiane with Ms Boutsaba Saengpan from Xayaboury province announced as the winner and Ms Khitsamay Bountivoravong as the runner up.
The contest final took place at Landmark Mekong Riverside Hotel and featured 20 contestants chosen from the semi-final round and was broadcast live on TV Lao.
The event was attended by Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Mr Savankhone Razmountry, Secretary of Lao People's Revolutionary Youth Union, Dr Sonethanou Thammavong, head of the event organising committee and President of Television Lao (TV Lao) Dr Hongkham Souvannavong along with other officials and members of the public.
The event began with colourful cultural performances and traditional dance.
Before selection of the contest top 10, all finalists paraded in traditional costumes for the panel of judges and audience so they could decide on their favourites.
Then special prizes were presented for Best Smooth and Healthy skin, Miss Charming, Best Friendship, Best Physical Appearance, Best Smooth and Healthy Face, Most Popular with Photographers, and Most Popular from public votes.
The contest whittled down the top 10 to the last five finalists who then particpated in a Q&A session before announcement of the overall winner.
Fifth place belonged to M6 Ms Satiew Saengsoulith from Xieng Khuang province while in fourth place was M13 Ms Maykham Vilayvanh from Vientiane with M18 Ms Phonevilay Luanglath from Vientiane coming third.
Second place was announced as M20 Ms Khitsamay Bountivoravong from Savannakhet province with M19 Ms Boutsaba Saengpan from Xayaboury province being crowned as Miss Laos 2016.
Flowers, sashes and prizes were presented to all winners and the diamond crown was officially presented to Miss Laos 2016 by Miss Laos 2015, Ms Soutilack Inthavong.
This year's contest was organised in collaboration by TV Lao and the Lao People's Revolutionary Youth Union with support from many firms.
According to the organising committee, the annual Miss Laos contest served to raise awareness among young people of the need to preserve Lao culture and encourage young women to display their beauty, character, knowledge, abilities, and special talents.
The Miss Laos title is seen as a badge of honour for Lao women nationwide and is something coveted by every woman.
The event is also seen as a stepping stone with the contest winner representing Laos on regional and international stages.
The year's competition featured additional activities for contestants and a more luxurious crown.
The 20 contestants at this year's final consisted of eight contestants from Vientiane; plus three from Champassak, two from Xayaboury, and one each from Oudomxay, Huaphan, Xieng Khuang, Luang Prabang, Khammuan, Savannakhet and Attapeu provinces.