Arayha “Coco” Suparurk has just won Miss Grand International Thailand 2019, advancing her to the Miss Grand International 2019 pagent in Venezuela this October, and people are not happy about it. 

Her win comes after she recently shared a photo on her Instagram account that described the current Miss Universe, Catriona Gray, as “fat” compared to Miss Grand International 2018 Clara Sosa, who she described as “fit”.

Filipino netizens, who are among Australian-Filipino Gray's top supporters, were particularly outraged by the post (which appeared in Coco's Instagram account but has since been taken down). The sentiment, however, was shared by many here in Thailand. 

"When we turn to praise and applaud the success of one person who has been a bully, what is the message that we pass to the children within society? It turns out that this is normal," wrote Met 107 radio host DJ Pani in a public post. "I'm just so embarrassed for our country." 


Last night, Catriona Gray held her own question-and-answer session with fans, during which she addressed Coco's post. 

Thailand has a long history unrealistic beauty standards, promoted by an advertising industry that frequently shames people for the shape of their body or color of their skin.

When in 2018 Britain’s Cosmopolitan magazine put plus-size model Tess Holliday on the cover, the fashion editor for Thai Vogue described the model as “nasty” in social media posts that have since been deleted. 

Recently, Gray was in Thailand as a special guest for Miss Universe Thailand 2019, where she addressed the importance of body positivity in her farewell speech: “I experienced an increase in body bashing from so many in the online community. It’s easy to tell someone to have a ‘thick skin’ but it hurts,” she shared. “There were days I really struggled reading comments online. And it was definitely a process. But I had to grow to accept and love my unique shape and appreciate my body for its strength and capabilities.”

A report by Khaosod English in 2017 highlighted just how few cases of bulimia go reported in Thailand, with both doctors and academics unable to point to any statistics on eating disorders among Thai women.