Photoshoot with Buddha statue  


Many of Thailand’s famed tourist attractions are Buddhist temples or places of worship, where there is clear signage against disrespecting the image of Buddha. In fact, tourists can see multiple large billboards lining the streets around airports that state that Buddha images are not decoration and should be treated respectfully – not to be used as tattoos or furniture. 

With 95% of the population identifying as Buddhist, it’s no surprise that netizens were in an uproar after Ms. Angela Yuriar, ‘Ms. Grand Mexico 2020’ posted a picture of herself in a swimsuit next to a statue of Buddha


Ms. Grand International pageant in Thailand 


The Miss Grand International pageant is supposed to take place in Thailand on 27th March 2021, according to Khaosod English

While there is no official religion in Thailand, a large majority of the nation practices Theravada Buddhism – that’s why there are spirit houses, garland vendors and Buddhist symbols everywhere. Most of the taxis in Thailand even have certain blessings written on the roofs of their car to bring prosperity. 

Ms Mexico Poses with Buddha
Image credit: Powers To Travel

So, it seems that Ms. Yuriar wanted to convey her excitement about visiting the land of smiles by posing next to a Buddha statue in a pool. 

Ms Mexico Poses with Buddha
Image credit: Khaosod English 

So, it seems that Ms. Yuriar wanted to convey her excitement about visiting the land of smiles by posing next to a Buddha statue in a pool. 


Thai netizens react 


The image was then posted on facebook page เบิ่งนางงาม according to Matichon. The comments appear to have mixed reactions – those poking fun while condemning Ms. Yuriar’s actions and those that preach tolerance. 

Ms Mexico Poses with Buddha
Screenshot: เบิ่งนางงาม

Translation: Mistake 555” (the word for five in thailand is ‘ha’)

Ms Mexico Poses with Buddha

Screenshot: เบิ่งนางงาม

Translation: Why is there drama? The pageant host (Thailand) understands that other countries have different religions, I don’t know. 

Ms Mexico Poses with Buddha

Screenshot: เบิ่งนางงาม 

Translation: So good at causing drama. Buddhism in japan is able to conform with modern thinking. With the examples of Buddha shaped snacks, Buddha cosplays and being a monk is just a hobby and being able to disrobe at any time to do whatever they like. Plus with the teachings of Buddha, he never taught anyone to worship statues.

Ms Mexico Poses with Buddha

Screenshot: เบิ่งนางงาม 

Translation: Her intention was to appeal to the host country, but she failed to educate herself. Instead of building a rapport with the people, she may have already ruined her standing in the competition without having to compete. It didn’t lead to a good result. (the word for five in thailand is ‘ha’) 

Matichon also reported that the news made it onto private beauty pageant buzz group GossipMiss Thailand, where many acknowledged the competitor’s tone-deaf shot but also understood that she had good intentions. 


Respect and safety first 


People’s actions don’t always reflect their intention – in the case of Ms. Yuriar, it seems that she meant no malice when she posted the image. While many people understand that we make mistakes, it’s also important to our due diligence in order to ensure we’re not causing any harm.

Read more about pageants and other happenings in Thailand here: 


Featured images adapted from: เบิ่งนางงาม, Pageant Circle

Enjoying The Smart Local Thailand? Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this.