Miss Universe Laos Visits Hmong Community in Minnesota

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Miss Universe Laos, Payengxa Lor, visited the Twin Cities Hmong community ahead of her upcoming appearance at the Miss Universe competition in New Orleans (photo: Abdirahman Mohamed)

Miss Universe Laos, Payengxa Lor, was in Minnesota’s twin cities to visit family members and supporters who would be cheering her on as the first person of Hmong descent to participate in the Miss Universe pageant this month. 

During her visit, she also made a trip to the Community School of Excellence in St. Paul. The educational institution was founded in 2007 by members of the Hmong community in the area to ensure that their language and cultural knowledge were passed on to future generations.

Upon her arrival, Ms. Lor received a warm welcome, applause, and cheer from students who gathered at the entryway, anticipating her visit.

Some students dressed in traditional Hmong costumes, and many also took the opportunity to take selfies with the 21-year-old beauty queen.

The school’s chief administrative officer, Ms. Kazoua Kong-Thao took Ms. Lor on a tour around the institution, showing her the hard work and effort put into promoting and preserving Hmong culture at the Community School of Excellence.

Miss Universe Laos, Payengxa Lor, left, took a selfie with students and faculty of the Community School of Excellence during her December 2022 visit to the Twin Cities (photo: Abdirahman Mohamed)

While giving an interview, Ms. Lor expressed her delight at being welcomed by students wearing traditional clothes.

“It feels like home”, she said, “I feel so impressed that wherever they are, they remain who they are. They still always remember where they come from and who they are. They still keep all the culture, the language. I feel very happy seeing them love who they are and be proud of who they are.”

Ms. Lor told FOX 9 Minneapolis-St. Paul during the meet-and-greet session how she wanted to inspire the little girls at the school as well.

“So, I always say to myself that whatever you have in your mind, you can have them in your hands, “I want to prove to all of those little girls that they can do it. They can be the person that they want to be,” said the Lao beauty queen who was also excited to see snow during her first trip to the United States.

Payengxa Lor will be competing for the Miss Universe Crown on 14 January in Louisiana’s New Orleans. She is also keen on pursuing her higher studies in the US.

Before her arrival in Minnesota, the Lao model gave an interview to Las Vegas’ KSNV News 3 Today, telling host Kim Wagner about the cultural significance of winning the crown. She was also seen shooting in a studio for an American movie in some intense action scenes.