Sun Srey Mom didn’t win the Miss World 2006 competition held in Warsaw, Poland, last month.
But the native of Kompong Cham province did meet the president of Poland, travel with women from 103 other countries, and befriend a Cambodian living in Warsaw.
For 22-year-old Sun Srey Mom, entering the beauty pageant was not about winning, but about having an once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“I feel more confident than before. I’m not so shy anymore,” she said in an interview Thursday.
Sun Srey Mom returned to Cambodia on Monday after spending more than a month participating in the televised pageant.
The model, management student and volleyball teacher said she is still in touch with several other contestants, such as Miss Malta and Miss Singapore, by e-mail. She has already made albums of photos chronicling her time in Poland and is eager to show them off.
Sun Srey Mom said that making sure she always looked camera-ready for media and spectators in Poland was easier than adjusting to the European diet.
“In Poland, there was no rice,” she said.
A Cambodian man living in Po-land contacted the hotel where Miss World contestants were staying when he learned Sun Srey Mom was among them, she said. His family cooked Cambodian food for her, and she was able to speak Khmer for the first time in days.
Sun Srey Mom shared a hotel room with Miss Vietnam—who was a finalist for the Asia-Pacific region along with Miss Australia and Miss India. The Miss World 2006 title finally went to Miss Czech Republic.