|For the first time in history, a Mongolian beauty pageant qualified in the Top 11 finalists of Miss World 2016, held last December at the Theater MGM National Harbor in Maryland, USA.
26-year-old A.Bayartsetseg, who represented Mongolia in the biggest global beauty pageant event, received the most votes from thousands of people from across the world and won the Best Video Introduction nomination and People’s Choice Award, which earned her direct entry in the Top 11. She then won Miss Talent award at the grand finale for her magic and calligraphy art performance.
Miss Mongolia 2016 A.Bayartsetseg goes in depth about Miss World 2016 and her plans to build an acting career in the interview below.
Congratulations on making a historic success at Miss World 2016.
Thank you. I returned to Mongolia on February 3. There’s no place like home. I’m able to rest quite well here.
Can you share your feelings right after being announced as one of the Top 11 finalists at Miss World 2016?
As you might expect, my heart was racing until the moment they called out my name. I felt quite queasy when they announced Miss Korea as the 10th finalists. But I tried to calm myself thinking that there’s still the 11th place left. I felt like bursting in tears when I heard the host call out “Mongolia”. I was extremely moved since I received votes from thousands of people.
You stayed with beautiful women from across the globe for over a month. Have you made many friends during the event?
I was with beauty pageants from 130 countries while preparing for the contest. I learned many things and made many good friends. I became quite close with everyone except, Miss Kenya, who became the top fifth contestant. Miss Indonesia and I hit it off very well – maybe because we shared a room. I became friends with Miss Dominican Republic as soon as I arrived at our accommodation.
I have to say that 19-year-old Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Del Valle, who was crowned Miss World, is a really talented woman.
Before we talk about your time at Miss World, there’s something we need to clarify. Is it true that you were asked to audition for the role of Mulan in Walt Disney’s live-action adaptation of “Mulan”? Will you audition for the role?
Catching the eyes of such a large agency and being invited to audition is such a rare occurrence. After the contest ended, I went to the interview as asked. I’m sure they’ll take their time choosing the lead actress. I plan to focus on acting and spend more time improving my skills from now on.
Mongolia and the Philippines got similar scores for the Miss Talent contest. What was the contest like?
That’s right. Since the beginning of Miss World 2016, Miss Philippines and I worked as a team. We’re really good friends now. She told me that she was really impressed with my performance for Miss Talent. It’s probably because around 50 contestants sang as their talent. My performance was different from theirs. It was the first time someone did a magic trick at the Miss World beauty pageant. This might be why a lot of people paid attention to my performance. Using this opportunity, I’d like to express my gratitude to everyone in my team and everyone who voted for me.
How did you feel when you were announced Miss Talent?
Miss Talent is announced a day before the grand finale and whoever is selected as Miss Talent secures a place in the Top 25. It was really amazing when they actually announced me as Miss Talent.
The population of the Philippines is nearly 100 million. It is the home of many beautiful beauty pageants. Compared to the Philippines, Mongolia has fewer people, yet we were able to work really efficiently. This is a huge opportunity. My success is proof that Mongolians are strongest when we are together. The girl who represented the Philippines became a runner-up because she sang like many other contestants. On the other hand, I was able to impress the audience and judges by doing something different – by combining dance with calligraphy and a magic performance. I also wanted to show something different and I’m glad I was able to do that.
…I’m always proud to be a Mongolian no matter when or where I am. My recent success was all thanks to my team. I experienced and learned many things while participating in Miss World. People can’t succeed alone. I managed to go into the grand finale thanks to a strong team united under a single goal…
You posted on social media that a gift from People’s Artist N.Suvd bolstered your luck during the Miss Talent event. Can you tell us more about this?
Yes, People’s Artist N.Suvd, whom I respect tremendously, gave me the hair accessory she wore for “Mandukhai Tsetsen Khatan” film. I wore it for the second round of the talent show. I felt much better and luckier while wearing it at a decisive moment.
You celebrated your birthday while participating in Miss World. How did you spend your birthday?
My 26th birthday happened during Miss World 2016. It was really spectacular because I got to celebrate it with gorgeous women representing every corner of the world. It was a really unforgettable birthday. The Mongolian Embassy even sent a cake. The organizers had planned a very interesting event and sang the Mongolian version of “Happy Birthday”. A lot of girls told me that I was able to get more attention since that day. I kind of agree with this because I’m sure more people became aware of me as so many people prepared for my birthday.
People with different personalities from different cultures gather for the Miss World beauty pageants. Who would you say was the most entertaining out of all those people?
Countless fun things happened during the month we stayed together. I made many friends as well. I would say the funniest person was Miss Guine-Bissau. She spoke in Portuguese and never left my side because we became really good friends. Whenever something happened, she would ask me to translate for her. I spoke in Spanish but she spoke in Portuguese. Sometimes, there were really difficult things to translate but I tried my best to help her understand. Then, we asked Miss Brazil to help us out and all sorts of funny things happened.
What’s the secret to your success?
I’m always proud to be a Mongolian no matter when or where I am. My recent success was all thanks to my team. I experienced and learned many things while participating in Miss World. People can’t succeed alone. I managed to go into the grand finale thanks to a strong team united under a single goal. I didn’t have that many staff, but as the contest progressed, our fellow Mongolians showed how strong we can be. It was absolutely amazing. The secret to my success this time was truly my amazing team.
American actor Steven Seagal openly supported you during the contest. What was it like to meet him in person?
I got the chance to meet Steven Seagal when I was in Los Angeles. He gave me tons of useful advice. I’m sure everyone knows but Seagal’s wife B.Erdenetuya, also known as Elle, actively supported me during Miss World 2016. I feel like every Mongolian likes to encourage and support other Mongolians no matter where we are.
You directed “Yazguur Lugaa” (Back to Roots) film. When will it be released?
I have a full list of things I’d like to try. One of them is traveling. I started traveling after I got a scholarship from the European Union during my sophomore year in university. My parents found it hard to allow their only daughter to go abroad all of a sudden. I started challenging myself more since then. After thinking about the things I’d like to try, I ended up filming “Back to Roots” documentary film with my friend. Right now, I need to fix some things. I didn’t have the time to work on this documentary last year so I intend to finish it this year.
The filming took place at herder N.Munkhuu’s ger in Erdenemandal soum of Arkhangai Province. I lived at a herder’s home for two months to film “Back to Roots”. I plan to make short films with my friends.
When do you plan to marry?
I don’t want to speak about my boyfriend at the moment. I hope you understand this. I don’t plan to make drastic changes in my life, especially when it comes to starting a family. First, I want to pour all my efforts into achieving my goals.
You posted about your travel to Myanmar on Facebook last year. Did you plan to go to Myanmar for a long time?
I shared a room with a beauty pageant from Myanmar for a month during Miss Earth 2015. We became really close friends and kept in touch since. Then, I got the opportunity to judge Miss Myanmar contest and travel so I shared it with my Facebook friends. I came along several historic and interesting places connected to Chinggis Khaan. I felt really proud when the tour guide shared histories related to Chinggis Khaan throughout the tour. My trips to so many Asian countries with rich history and culture are making me stronger.
Is it true that you’re going to the Philippines this month?
I managed to do a lot of things during my stay in the USA after Miss World 2016. Though I haven’t been back for long, I’m planning to go abroad again. I’m going to the Philippines on February 26 because I have to give a presentation at an international youth meeting.
“BACK TO ROOTS” is a creative feature documentary film about saving cultural identity among young people who are losing their our own cultural core value day by day in that fast pacing world. Here is the location scouting trip the team had in Arkhangai Province in January, 2015.