Aranya Namwong, wife of famous host and singer Settha Sirachaya, shares her experiences from 45 years in show business.

I dropped out of high school because I wanted to study at the military nursing school which had just opened that year. But I didn’t get in because I was too young, so I went back to high school.

My mom was the one who supported me to enter beauty pageants and the entertainment industry even though I wasn’t quite interested. She really loved watching the national pageant, which back then was called Miss Siam.

I didn’t study singing from any master. I just knew Kru Ue Sunthornsanan, legendary musician, who saw my singing talent and we attended ceremonies together.

The turning point happened when one of my sister’s friends asked permission from my family to send me to the Miss Thailand pageant. They wanted to advertise their business on my shoulder-strap.

Back then, there weren’t that many advertising opportunities like there are today so businesses loved to have their names at a big event like that one. The pageant had just restarted after being suspended for ten years.

I thought I would be eliminated in the first round and everything would be finished and I could go back to studying. But I ended up with the second runner-up title. The winner was Apasara Hongsakul, who later became Miss Universe in 1965.

My father, a military colonel, didn’t like that I had gotten into this. He wanted me to study, which I wanted too, and have a more stable job. But singing and acting jobs kept coming my way.

Another twist in my life happened through my uncle-in-law who was an aspiring filmmaker. He kept asking my mom to convince me to play the leading role with Mitre Chaibancha, the most famous actor at that time. I ducked my uncle’s request for a while because I didn’t want to do something that I felt I wasn’t good at.

My mom finally convinced me to do my first film, Saen Payod. And while I was working on it, His Royal Highness Prince Anusornmongkolkarn, the father of M.C. Chatrichalerm Yukhol, asked me to act in his film, E-Tan. I thought it would be a good opportunity for me because it was one of Thailand’s first 35mm films and the prince had also honored me by asking me to act in it.

Both movies were tremendously successful and I suddenly became a leading actress and remained so for decades.

The process of making movies was more or less the same back then, but the atmosphere was different. It was hard to shoot on location in the city because people always gathered around so we had to shoot in studios or in remote places, which was so inconvenient.

Fans from 20-30 years ago didn’t behave like fans do today. They always went crazy when they saw us and we couldn’t go outside. If we went to rural areas, they would treat us like dignitaries. They would run to us and kiss our hands.

The media in those days were harsh, like today. I think it depends on the morals of individuals in the press. I always had scandalous rumors written about me involving breaking up marriages or having rich boyfriends who paid for me to live with them.

I used a tit for tat philosophy to deal with bad journalists who made their living on other people’s misery. I had to protect my dignity. My parents didn’t raise me to accept this mistreatment, so I sued every newspaper that wrote bad things about me.

In one case, I sued a journalist until he had to go to jail even though he tried to mollify me by paying me a settlement. I wanted to teach him a lesson that you can’t escape your guilt by throwing money at it. After that, the media didn’t want to mess with me anymore.

We can’t blame anyone about today’s entertainment situation. We have lots of newcomers because people accept them easily, no matter how they get in or how scandalous they are.
Society gets used to it and lets bad things happen. So, who can we blame?

My philosophy for staying in this industry is to have fun and be sincere with whomever I work with.

The secret to having a good family is all about understanding which will make your relationships long-lasting.


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