Rern Sinat, Miss Cambodia, competes in the evening gown competition during the 2018 Miss Universe pageant in Bangkok on Thursday. Lillian SUWANRUMPHA/AFP
Twenty-three-year-old Rern Sinat from Kampong Cham province, only the second Miss Cambodia to compete in the Miss Universe beauty pageant, is said to be "a little disappointed but in good spirits" after not ranking in the 2018 Miss Universe contest in Bangkok, Thailand.
"The weakest part of the performance was her communication and English .?.?. we probably would have done better if that wasn`t such a big deal," said The Post`s anonymous source close to the competition."
Sinat and Miss Vietnam H`Hen Nie found themselves in the eye of a social media storm after comments from Miss USA Sarah Rose Summers went viral online.
"[Nie`s] so cute and she pretends to know so much English," said Summers. "Then you ask her a question after having a whole conversation with her and she goes [Summers imitates a smiling vacant expression]."
Later in the same live broadcast, Summers turned her attention towards Sinat, or "poor Cambodia".
"Miss Cambodia is here and doesn`t speak any English, and not a single other person speaks her language, could you imagine?" Summers said.
But The Post`s source said: "Actually, [Sinat] can understand English, she just has difficulty speaking. Of course, she needs to learn more ... but it takes time."
Before returning to Cambodia, Sinat told The Post that help in translation would not have necessarily made that much difference for her in the competition.
"It`s always great to have translators by your side to accurately convey the message that you want to share .?.?. but I think that it doesn`t necessarily make the competition easier for candidates," she said.
Sinat grew up "planting jasmine rice with her grandmother" and had not completed much formal education before vying for this Miss Universe crown. She is due to return to Phnom Penh this afternoon.
The Post`s insider said that the controversy surrounding Miss USA`s comments may actually have helped raise Sinat`s profile.
"It helped [Sinat] gain more supporters than before because the attention of fans was on the top-runners. After the video came out, we saw that it went viral and it was very good for us. We had so many people say that they love us and support us."
Catriona Gray from the Philippines ultimately won the competition. The 24-year-old is the fourth Filipina to win the title.
For her part, Sinat will return to Cambodia and continue to work with HIV victims and at-risk teenagers.
"All of my Miss Universe 2018 sisters are very dear to me. We shared an amazing experience together and I will always be grateful knowing that I now have friends from different parts of the world," Sinat said. https://www.phnompenhpost.com/post-life/cambodias-miss-universe-contestant-return-home
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