According to certain data estimates from January 2019*, the number of internet users in Laos is somewhere between 1.26 to 2.7 million. While Google serves as the gateway to the internet for many users in western societies, the majority of local language content in Laos resides within Facebook. Sparked by the mass diffusion of affordable mobile phones and data rates, Facebook has become for many Lao, as it has for many people in developing countries, their first experience of the internet. In light of this, it is no surprise that Facebook is currently unchallenged in the social media space, taking its crown as somewhat of a mini internet for Laos.
Every day, hundreds and thousands of pictures and videos flood Facebook as both individuals and companies hungrily generate and consume content, both personal and commercial. As the social media giant’s algorithms are designed to drive the most engagement-worthy content, Lao users have responded accordingly and some have made their mark on the Facebook scene a lot more effectively than others. Models, singers, and other influencers put on their best smiles and attire and adjust their camera filters as they put on an online performance, simultaneously garnering adoration and envy. These A-list “net idols”, as they are called in Laos, have amassed huge digital followings in the process.
Posting regularly on Facebook has more often than not earned these celebrities advertising and sponsorship opportunities from big brand names. Whether it’s an energy drink or a new line of cosmetics, these net idols are purveyors of brand awareness and inspire the attention of impressionable youth and adults, evident in the sheer number of their followers which hover in the hundreds of thousands and some in the millions. Here’s a look at the most followed Lao Facebook celebrities.
Falang Seu Somchan (followed by 355,811 people)
Undeniably the most famous Laos-based foreign online celebrity, Somchan became a super social media phenomenon when he posted his legendary “Falang Bo Ho Nyang Leuy Va” video in which he recounts a hilarious encounter with a vendor in Luang Prabang. His fluent use of Lao, with his iconic Luang Prabang accent in particular, has won the adoration of thousands.
Thidalat “Louknum” Vongsili (followed by 358,235 people)
Upon winning the 2011 Miss Laos Pageant, Louknum became an instant social media celebrity for her beauty. After excelling at modeling and appearing on multiple magazine covers, Louknum made her debut in the acting industry in both Lao and Thai films. Her adorableness and sex appeal have caught the attention of big brands like Samsung, foodpanda, and Nam Kat Yorlapa.
Ther Una (followed by 393,196 people)
As the owner and admin of Laos’ most followed Facebook Page, Una Studio, Ther Una hails from the country’s most populous province, Savannakhet, and is of Phu Tai ethnic origin. Ther Una is known for the witty and subtle humor that permeates all of his social commentary videos on Facebook and YouTube.
Keota Pornprasert (followed by 414,559 people)
This Savannakhet native rose to the scene for her fresh look and dazzlingly sexy selfies on Facebook. She has appeared in many music videos and recently in a very popular movie, Huk Mayom Mayem, directed by Jear Pacific.
Alexandra Bounxouei (followed by 433,191 people)
Super famous half-Bulgarian, half-Lao singer, actress, model, and entrepreneur Alexandra Bounxouei was born to a family with music in their blood. Often referred to as “Sandra,” this gifted girl was among the first musicians in Laos to truly go international, making waves and acquiring fans in Thailand, Australia, Japan, Europe, and America. Alexandra was the first Lao actress to star in a modern-day Thai soap opera, Rim Fung Kong, alongside Thai celebrity Sukollawat “Weir” Kanarot. Since then, she’s appeared on stage singing both Lao, Thai, Japanese and English songs, representing Laos at countless high profile national and international events.
Larnoy Phorjai (followed by 469,109 people)
This Savannakhet native was one of the first social media accounts to be granted a blue verification check from Facebook. Famous for her completely authentic, unfiltered, and raw posts and videos, Larnoy manages a gold/jewelry shop and often posts about her family and shop clients.
Annita Thivaphone Chanthasomboun (followed by 570,984 people)
Multitalented singer, model, and businesswoman Annita Thivaphone is one of the original Lao fashion celebrities. She’s appeared on numerous magazine covers and released a number of hit singles like Sexy Boy and Bod Hien Laka Pheng. She’s also been the product ambassador for international brands like Coca Cola and Huawei. Annita’s family is the owner of Viengkham Jewelry.
Apple Miniberry Sisangien (followed by 659,012 people)
Apple has been having an illustrious celebrity career in show business in Thailand and quickly rose to be among the country’s top celebrities amassing both Thai and Lao followers. She is married to Thai star Fluke Jira of the band C-Quint, with whom she has a child.
Noony Koumphonpakdee (followed by 663,277 people)
Noony rose to fame appearing as a contestant in Thailand’s hit dating television show Take Me Out Thailand, in which she won the hearts of viewers and the show’s bachelor protagonist, Aoff, with her witty use of the Lao language. The predominantly Thai audience was delightfully impressed, and so was Aoff. The two are now married, becoming one of the few couples from the show to have a viable relationship. Since then, Noony has received numerous product ambassador deals for several brands, even co-hosting the television show, The Price is Right Thailand, iconically exchanging banter in Lao with the Thai-speaking host.
Boualai (followed by 1,136,278 people)
Last year, the Laotian Times reported that Boualai had the most followers on Facebook in Laos with a little over 600,000 followers. Since then, his following has almost doubled in size. Boualai has been able to reign supreme in the social media sphere by posting candid videos of himself unabashedly eating in the most mouthwatering manner imaginable. The food dishes that he himself prepares and eats in his videos are gloriously delicious – oftentimes seasonally exotic – sour, unripe mango and tamarind dipped in sweet and salty fish sauce, spicy larb with live ants and eggs, long bean salad, grilled frog and squid, dried fish, boiled clams, blue crab, and many more. His extremely popular videos, which are typically set in his Paksé home or in a scenic location where he is seen with his latest wild catch, showcases the humble lifestyle of farmers and foragers in rural Laos. As a result of his mass following, he has received many corporate deals, the latest of which is Oishi.