Just about a week ago, news came out that popular lakorn (Thai word for television drama) and movie actress-model Urassaya “Yaya” Sperbund would be coming to Manila in ties with the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) current campaign called “Open To The New Shades”. The campaign’s goal is basically to make Thailand a country that fully embraces all cultures, diversities, genders, and equality amongst both the locals and its visitors. Ms. Sperbund is also currently TAT’s global ambassador chosen, according to TAT’s chairman, due to her immensely growing popularity especially among Filipinos.

A press conference, held last June 13, had TAT’s chairman and Yaya herself make an appearance both to promote the campaign and to answer a few questions during a brief Q&A. The chairman, again, mentioned how great it is to have a celebrity-figure like Yaya be their ambassador as well as mentioned his own love for the Philippines, saying that it is like his second home already, which is why he truly wants to further promote his own country to the Filipino people who hopefully can see the many great things Thailand has to offer. He also mentioned how it is a great time to make more Filipinos aware of TAT’s campaign since this year is the Philippines and Thailand’s 70th year of diplomatic ties with one another.

Afterwards, Yaya took on the rest of the conference as she poisedly sat listening and answering the questions laid out to her. She said that she hoped to promote Thailand in terms of its hidden gems and more relatively unknown islands or beaches since Thailand, much like the Philippines, is also made up of several different ethnicities which is something all tourists visiting the country should be able to wholly experience. She also mentioned how this was her first time in the Philippines and that she really wants to explore our beaches the next time she can visit during her own leisure time (placing Cebu at the top of her list of places to visit). The Thai-Norwegian actress also told those at the presscon how she has, so far, learned one Filipino word upon her first day being in the archipelagic country and that was “Mabuhay”.

Yaya wore a green and black patterned sleeveless wrap dress that was tied to the waste with a ribbon of the same style akin to that of a sleeveless trench coat. The dress which accentuated her slim, tall frame was partnered with a pair of stylish black slim ankle boots. For accessories, she simply wore one long statement earring on her right ear. On top of all that, with her long sleek black hair neatly styled as she wore minimal makeup and sporting that natural glowy look, Yaya was the epitome of a graceful and sophisticated beauty normally seen in people of royalty.

Ironically enough, the 26 year-old did play a crown princess, Princess Alice, in the popular lakorn “The Crown Princess” which aired last year in Thailand and is currently being aired here in the Philippines. The rom-com movie “Brother of the Year” in which she was part of the three main cast of actors was also released in Philippine cinemas just last year.

Yaya’s visit to Manila ultimately resulted in a fashion show gala last June 14th in which she participated in to showcase the best of Thailand’s culture and fashion. The gala was a highly anticipated event for local Philippine stars, media, trade partners and, most especially, LGBTQ advocates. A meet-and-greet also happened on June 15th at the Ayala Mall Circuit in Makati for the actress’s fans to get a chance to see “The Crown Princess” star up close and personal.

Photo Credit: Urassaya Sperbund’s Official Instagram