CROWNED “Miss Fitness” by the Cambodian Body Building and Fitness Federation, 26-year-old Ang Sokunthea, will travel to Bangkok next month as part of the first Cambodian team to compete in the Asian Championships and the Latchford Classic.
What’’s it like being the only girl training and competing overseas with Cambodian muscle men?
It feels wonderful being the only girl. I don’t feel scared at all. I know I have to be strong in order to keep going, as I am a representative of Cambodia and this is the first time the kingdom is competing in this contest.
Are you nervous about the championships?
The candidates from other countries are pretty experienced, but it really is a new one for me. The contest is going to require us to show off our bodies with sexy clothes. Even though I may not win, I still feel very pleased to be the Cambodian showpiece girl.
How are you preparing for the competition?
It’s not a muscle competition, it’s a fitness challenge, so I’m exercising gently to gain muscle and reduce fat. I started training with a female Swedish instructor every Saturday, and I exercise by myself on Monday and Wednesday, for an hour to an hour and a half.
How did you become associated with the federation?
You know, at first I didn’t even know there was a federation. I was just a model, who recently won SA SA Magazine’s Miss Sabay Sabay title. But because I love to exercise and work out at Diamond Gym, I got to know Rasmey Sokmongkol, the president of the Cambodian Body Building and Fitness Federation. He asked me to join because he saw how much I love to exercise.
Besides exercise, how do you maintain your health?
My instructor taught me all about rational sleep theory. She said I have to sleep sufficiently – between seven and eight hours – and I have to eat fresh vegetables. Personally, I think the best way to do it is not to worry so much. If you’re feeling bad, then your health and beauty also suffer.
What is your history?
I was born in Samrorng Meanchey village in the province of Takeo. My father was a farmer and my mother was a housewife, but my father died in 1998 and my mother passed away in 2003. Now I only have a younger sister. But we are happy living by ourselves – we are not sad as orphans. I left school in the tenth grade when my father became seriously ill. At first I didn’t go to Phnom Penh. I tried to run a small business in front of my house, but it didn’t go well, so I decided to work in a garment factory in Phnom Penh with my friends.
And where are you now?
Nowdays I am a model for Rore Promotion, I have signed a year-long contract with Sa Sa Magazine, and I am also the one of three shareholders in Sapphire’s, a restaurant near Riverside which opened in August.
What are your future plans?
In the future, I want to run my own business. Looking back at my past, I’ve had a very fruitful career, and I hope that will continue to improve. However I still regret that my education was not completed. Recently, I have started taking a part-time class in English, so I can communicate with foreigners when I have to compete abroad.
What do you have to say to the next generation of young girls?
I would like to say, and this is especially to orphans like me and my sister, do not think of yourselves are worthles. Be optimistic, strive to get a good job, don’t get caught up in illegal activities, and one day you will reach your goal.