A contestant in the latest edition of Vietnam’s Next Top Model television series has sparked a health debate after she appeared on live TV looking extremely thin.
Cao Ngan, who made it to the top five of the reality show for aspiring models, made her return on Saturday along with other contestants to perform on the competition’s finale.
Ngan’s appearance stole the spotlight from the night’s winners, as the model – known for her fun-loving and humorous nature – strode down the runway to roaring applause from fans in the audience.
However, she became an Internet sensation shortly after the show’s conclusion, with social media users pointing out her super-thin appearance, which was broadcast live.
The 1.78-meter-tall model weighed a mere 40 kilograms, and wore a strapless dress that highlighted her bony arms and legs.
Many left body-shaming comments on the model’s look, calling her “a walking skeleton” and “lifeless."
Others expressed their concern that her appearance on national TV, intended for general viewers, would encourage children to adopt the unhealthy look as their own beauty standard.
Ngan later took to social media to explain her super-thin appearance, saying health problems were to blame for that.
“I’m pretty sick right now so that’s why I was so bony,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “I will regain my weight very soon everyone!”
Khanh Hung, a Tuoi Tre (Youth) reader, expressed his opinion that people should not be judged and criticized for their appearance.
“If all we focus on is how skinny [Cao Ngan] is, then we will never be able to see the beauty in her,” Hung wrote. “Instead, why don’t we look into her sparkling eyes and her smile that night as she walked and made the heart-shaped gesture at the audience. [She knows] how to respect herself and value her own body.”