Miss Hong Kong 2021 participant “Buddha Belle” Kirsten Li caused an uproar when she supposedly passed the first round of interviews. However, to the surprise of many, Kirsten did not appear for the second round on 16th June. It was then discovered that she had been eliminated.
Although she hadn’t made it far into the competition, Kirsten had attracted a lot of attention. Curious to know more, she accepted an exclusive interview with Hong Kong News, and exposed some surprising information.
Initially, all that was known about Kirsten was that she was 19 years old and that her Chinese name was Huo Yunxuan (霍韻璇). The information was supplied by her nominator Lin Zuo (林作). However, Kirsten revealed during the interview that she was in fact 22 years old and her real name is Li Ai’an (利爱安). She is of Chinese, Filipino and Spanish descent. What was even more surprising was that she denied knowing Lin Zuo, saying he was not her nominator. Her real nominator was actually her brother Lenar.
Her supposed nominator Lin Zuo had been the one to announce her advancement to the second round of interviews. When it was clear she had been eliminated, Lin Zuo had proposed a crowdfunding to help Kirsten enter the competition. Kirsten stated she was not angry about the matter, however, she disliked her name being used to cheat people of their money. “I don’t know Lin Zuo personally, but I want to thank him for (publicising me),” she said. “I don’t hate him, but I don’t like other people using my name to cheat others (of their) money.”
Lin Zuo was quick to respond to Kirsten’s statement. He explained that the “Buddha Belle” would not have become as popular without him. His “flattery” has succeeded in getting her noticed among netizens. According to him, he was merely supporting her sincerely. As for the crowdfund, he stated that it was a joke. “In English, this is called trolling,” he said. “No one is interested in the crowdfund and I have never invited Kirsten to cooperate with me (on the matter).” Lin Zuo added that he hopes to meet her someday.
Kirsten stated that she has always dreamed of participating in the beauty pageant since she was a child. Her family and friends encouraged her to try out for Miss Hong Kong 2021. During the competition, she was immediately noticed for her figure and peaceful temperament and dubbed, “Buddha Belle”. Kirsten doesn’t mind the nickname, and is rather pleased with it. “Buddha is (known for being) peaceful and other people think I was born peaceful,” she said. “I am happy (with that).”
Others however have criticised her looks, ceaselessly comparing her to the other competitors. Disregarding the criticism, Kirsten made it clear that she was confident in both her looks and her figure. “Everyone is beautiful and unique, so I am beautiful, and my figure is fine. According to the height and body mass index, it is a normal ratio,” she said. “For (those) who say that I (look) old after wearing makeup, I think people in Hong Kong and other countries have different opinions.”
The 22-year-old truly lives up to her “Buddha Belle” nickname. Coupled with her confidence and warm nature, she surprisingly does bring peace to those around her. Although it is unfortunate she did not make it far in the competition, Kirsten is satisfied with her experience. She may still make her name elsewhere.