Former sylph wins Jumbo Queen tiara

Associated Press

Thailand, May 1:

A former model who once weighed a mere 52 kg before more than tripling her weight was crowned Jumbo Queen at an annual pageant today where big is beautiful.

Dressed in billowing silks, the 20 big-boned contestants sashayed down a stage and climbed on a weighing scale before showing off talents ranging from Indian dance to lip-synching songs. At 170 kilograms, Bangon Waiyawong was a clear winner, beating the second-placed Sirirat Wongknongwa by 29 kg. Bangon, dressed in a mauve skirt and flowing orange crepe wings attached to the shoulders, got the audience rocking with her performance of a disco dance.

“The way I danced ... I did things the judges didn’t think I could do,” Bangon said after being crowned. A former model who once weighed 52 kilograms, the 34-year-old Bangon is the owner of a beauty shop and trains aspiring contestants to conventional beauty contests.

The Jumbo Queen event was staged at the Samphran Elephant Ground and Zoo, 40 kilometers west of Bangkok, as part of the zoo’s annual Jumbo Banquet elephant feast. The event is aimed at highlighting elephant conservation.