H'Hen Niê

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H'Hen Niê
Born (1992-05-15) May 15, 1992 (age 26)
Alma materCollege of Foreign Economic Relations
Height1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
TitleMiss Universe Vietnam 2017
Beauty pageant titleholder
Hair colorBlack
Eye colorBrown
Miss Universe Vietnam 2017
Miss Universe 2018
(Top 5)

H'Hen Niê (pronounced [həːhɛnnie] hə-HEN-nee-EH) (born 15 May 1992) is a Vietnamese model and beauty pageant titleholder who won Miss Universe Vietnam 2017. She represented Vietnam at the Miss Universe 2018.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Early life and education[edit]

H'Hen was born in Đắk Lắk to Y'Krin Êban and H'Ngơn Niê. She is the third oldest out of 6 children. H'Hen used to work on a coffee farm to assist her family's living when she was young. As per the Rade people's matrilineal customs, Rade women tend to start a family at a young age. However, H'Hen refused to follow this tradition and decided to continue her studying at her own expense. She can speak fluently both Rade language and Vietnamese language, although she only picked up the latter (the official working language of Vietnamese people of all ethnic groups) in 8th grade. [2] After graduating from high school, H'Hen studied a year at Nha Trang National Ethnic Community College before moving to Ho Chi Minh City to pursue the Business Finance program at the College of Foreign Economic Relations. She worked as a domestic helper for a year to pay the bills while she was in college. [3] When H'Hen was doing her internship at a bank, she started receiving support to become a model.[4] In 2014, shortly after graduating from college, she was discovered by the Vietnamese designer Đỗ Mạnh Cường at the start of her modelling career. As she gained interest in the industry, she auditioned for season 6 of Vietnam's Next Top Model in 2015 and became a finalist. She ultimately placed 9th in the reality TV competition. At the time, she was 23 years old, making her the oldest contestant in the competition.[5]


Miss Universe Vietnam 2017[edit]

H'Hen entered Miss Universe Vietnam in 2017. During her time at Miss Universe Vietnam, she was recognized for her short hair and tanned skin, a contrast to Vietnamese beauty standard.[6] In the finale, H'Hen Niê went on to win the competition, beating out first runner-up Hoàng Thùy and second runner-up Mâu Thị Thanh Thủy. Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza was a judge at the finale. When asked by a co-judge whom she would pick as the winner, Mendoza chose "the girl with short hair", which was H'Hen.[6]

As a Rade person, H'Hen Niê is currently the first and only Miss Universe Vietnam titleholder to be of an ethnic minority. In an interview, she revealed she had almost paid off all of her family's debts thanks to new opportunities after winning the competition.[7] Understanding her roots and past struggles, H'Hen believes education is a key to break out of poverty.[8] While she initially committed to donate 70% of her prize, she eventually listened to her mother's advice and gave away all of her cash prize worth of $10,000 to providing scholarships to students in her old schools after the competition.[9] She hoped her story could inspire young people to overcome their difficulties and continue to pursue education.[10] Under her Miss Universe Vietnam reign, H'Hen rallies for support for the unfortunate, the elderly as well as HIV/AIDS victims. She became a global ambassador for Room to Read in 2018, a non-profit organization focusing on providing resources for girls' education and literacy programs. As an ambassador, she is fundraising to build a new library in Lam Dong and provide scholarships to girls in Asia and Africa so that they could complete secondary education and develop key life skills.[11]

Miss Universe 2018[edit]

She represented Vietnam at Miss Universe 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand. In the months leading up to the pageant, H'Hen's training and preparation was documented and aired as a YouTube series called Road to Miss Universe 2018.[12]

The Miss Universe Vietnam Organization held a contest to find the Vietnamese national costume that H'Hen would wear for the national costume competition at the pageant. Six designs made it to the final round.[13] After a nationwide vote, the top three designs were selected: Bánh Mì (inspired by the Vietnamese sandwich bánh mì), Phố cổ (inspired by the ancient town of Hội An), and Ngũ hổ (inspired by the classical Hàng Trống painting and Vietnamese opera).[14] In the end, Bánh Mì was selected to be Vietnam's national costume at Miss Universe 2018.[15]

In the finale held at Impact Arena on December 17 in Bangkok, H'Hen finished as a top 5 finalist, the furthest any Vietnamese representative have made and only the second time since 2008 that Vietnam advanced through the first cut.[16] In her top 5 interview, H'Hen received a question about whether the #MeToo movement has gone too far, for which she answered:

“To me, it has not gone too far. Because protecting people’s well-being against sexual abuse, protecting women, that is a precious right. All of us need protection, our lives need freedom as well as protection.” [17]

Alternative translation:

“Personally I do not think that the #metoo movement has gone too far. It is because protecting human’s well-being and protecting women from sexual harassment are extremely fundamental rights. In life, we as human beings all need to be protected because it gives us the right of freedom. Thank you.” [18]


  1. ^ "Cô gái Ê Đê H'Hen Niê đăng quang 'Hoa hậu Hoàn vũ Việt Nam 2017 - H'Hen Niê crowned Miss Universe Vietnam 2018" (in Vietnamese). thanhnien.vn. 6 January 2018.
  2. ^ https://www.24h.com.vn/nguoi-mau-hoa-hau/hhen-nie-tung-lam-giup-viec-no-4-trieu-khi-di-thi-c214a930933.html
  3. ^ "Cận cảnh nơi ở của gia đình Tân Hoa hậu Hoàn vũ H'Hen Niê". Soha.vn. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  4. ^ "H'Hen Niê từng làm giúp việc, nợ 4 triệu khi đi thi". 24h.com.vn. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  5. ^ "H'Hen Nie - Pageant Planet". www.pageantplanet.com. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  6. ^ a b Vân An. "H'Hen Niê - 'viên ngọc đen' gây tranh cãi về nhan sắc hoa hậu". VNExpress (in Vietnamese). Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  7. ^ Hà Thu. "H'Hen Niê: 'Tôi đã trả gần hết nợ cho bố mẹ'". VNExpress (in Vietnamese). Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  8. ^ "H'Hen Niê fundraising page". Room to Read. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  9. ^ Miss Universe Vietnam. "H'Hen Niê về thăm quê hương trước ngày lên đường tham dự Miss Universe 2018". YouTube. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  10. ^ Thúy Diễm. "Hoa hậu H'Hen Niê trích 70% tiền thưởng trao học bổng cho HS nghèo hiếu học". Dân Trí (in Vietnamese). Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  11. ^ "Miss Universe Vietnam H'Hen Niê Announces Philanthropic Commitment to Global Education as Room to Read Ambassador". Room to Read. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  12. ^ "Series: H'Hen Niê - Road to Miss Universe 2018". YouTube. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  13. ^ Miss Universe Vietnam. "Vote for Top 6 Vietnam's National Costumes at Miss Universe 2018". YouTube. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  14. ^ Dạ Ly. "Công bố top 3 trang phục dân tộc cho H'Hen Niê tại Miss Universe". Thanh Niên (in Vietnamese). Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  15. ^ "H'Hen Nie to showcase "Banh Mi" national costume at Miss Universe 2018". Voice of Vietnam. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  16. ^ "Miss Universe 2018 - Pageant Planet". www.pageantplanet.com. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  17. ^ "Top 5 Question time: Watch #MissUniverse Vietnam's answer". Miss Universe on Twitter. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  18. ^ "Translation from Bùi Chi Mai Lê". YouTube. Retrieved 19 December 2018.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Thailand Maria Poonlertlarp
Venezuela Keysi Sayago
Miss Universe Top 5 Finalist
(with Puerto Rico Kiara Ortega)

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Nguyễn Thị Loan
Vietnam's representative at Miss Universe
Succeeded by
Hoàng Thị Thùy
Preceded by
Phạm Hương
Miss Universe Vietnam
Succeeded by