Miss Universe Thailand Honors Her “Garbage Collector” Parents With a Gown Made of Pull Tabs

Anna Sueangam-iam, Miss Universe Thailand, wore an upcycled dress made from the pull tabs of drink cans and Swarovski diamonds during the Miss Universe pageant.

Miss Universe Thailand Honors Her “Garbage Collector” Parents With a Gown Made of Pull Tabs
Cover Image Source: Miss Thailand, Anna Sueangam-iam at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

Thailand's Anna Sueangam-iam amazed everyone on January 14 during the Miss Universe 2022 competition when she flaunted a recycled dress made from the pull tabs of drink cans. The gown, called "Hidden Precious Diamond Dress," was bedazzled with Swarovski diamonds and designed by the fashion brand Manirat. This dress holds a special meaning for the beauty queen, as her father is a garbage collector and her mother is a street sweeper. Despite getting called "garbage beauty queen," Anna said that it never stopped her from "shining bright as a precious gem."

"'You must not get stuck with murky surroundings you were born into, but do believe you have the power to change your own life for the better,' the inspirational quote by 'Anna Sueangam-iam,' Miss Universe Thailand 2022, precisely reflects and self-defines her own significant characteristic," the official account of the Miss Universe Thailand wrote on Instagram.


"Persistence, tenaciousness and optimism within her have led her to great success in life. It is the result of being brought up by a father who is a garbage collector, a street-sweeper mother, and a virtuous nun who was Anna’s great-grandmother. Although she was called by some as 'The garbage beauty queen,' that never stops her from shining bright as a precious gem," the post added.

It continued: "From her empowering life story, the message is conveyed through this 'Hidden Precious Diamond Dress.' Meticulously created from used aluminum pull-tabs of drink cans and Swarovski combined, this unique upcycled dress designed by 'MANIRAT' is at its most prompt to be found on the universal stage."


The dress has also won the hearts of many social media users. "Spectacular. I fell in love with it. It's like for a museum. My respects,” commented one Instagram user. "Congratulations on Anna winning the hearts of Thai people and the audience around the world. Very awesome," another wrote. "How to explain this woman? @annasnga_1o She deserves the world, a spectacular and impactful woman who really deserved to win and today to be MU 2022! Her story will be marked for the rest of her life. I love this queen," a third commented.


Anna herself shared some words about her stunning dress, writing in an Instagram post: "Growing up with garbage collector parents, my life as a child was among piles of garbage and recyclables. This unique gown was purposefully tailored-made with discarded and recycled materials, namely the 'Can Tab' to present to the UNIVERSE that what's considered worthless by many actually possesses its own value and beauty. Thank you all for seeing it, hearing it, and hopefully being that message of self-worth."


According to PEOPLE, Anna was raised in Bangkok, Thailand with her father before she was sent to a Buddhist temple where she was raised by nuns. Since she came from a humble background, she reportedly had to collect merit points, donate blood every semester, collect plastic waste bottles and clean bathrooms to make money for her school tuition. As Miss Universe Thailand, she advocated for equal access to education for all Thai children and worked with non-profits like Smile Train Thailand to connect children with educational means.