Miss Thailand Maria Poonlertlarp made it to the Top 5 of Miss Universe 2017, but struggled during the Q&A portion of the pageant, which proved to have cost her the crown.
This is the closest a candidate from Thailand has come to winning the competition since 1988, when Phonthip Nakhirunkanok was crowned.
Poonlertlarp’s Top 5 finish is still the highest from any country from the Asia-Pacific this year, with the Philippines’ Rachel Peters bowing out after the evening gown competition.
Peters had been the frontrunner of the online polls, along with Poonlertlarp and Miss Indonesia Bunga Jelitha. Online votes are among the factors in choosing a wild card candidate.
Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, who represented South Africa, won the Miss Universe crown.
Ninety-two women from around the world participated in the decades-old competition. This year’s edition had the most contestants ever, including the first representatives in its history of Cambodia, Laos, and Nepal.