Update: On 24 October, Anchilee was crowned Miss Universe Thailand 2021! NIST student Lara (Year 13) was also named one of the 15 finalists in the competition. Congratulations to both NISTies!
My name is Anchilee Scott-Kemmis, but I was known as Ann at NIST. I am proud that I was a NISTie from Year 1 to Year 13 before graduating class with the Class of 2017. I then graduated from the University of Sydney, where I majored in sociology. I made the decision to come back to Thailand during COVID-19 and decided to figure it out from here. That led to stumbling into work as a curve model here in Bangkok. This was something I initially wanted to do temporarily but then found a passion in the industry to advocate for the gaps within it.
I cannot thank NIST enough for preparing me for university and my career. The learning I received at NIST truly encouraged and influenced me to be a free thinker, to find space to voice my opinion, particularly in societal injustices. It taught be how to be resilient, to continuously challenge myself and to find the beauty in staying curious. However, the best thing NIST taught me, which has become the core of my best memories at the school, is the warmth of having a supportive community. NIST truly provides a safe and diverse space for you to follow your passion, because you understand that your chosen path will be supported and encouraged by not only your teachers, but also your peers. It was demonstrated so clearly as a senior when we walked through the school and heard every single year level clap for us. I hold that memory very dear to my heart.
In terms of my career, NIST has had a massive influence on my courage to step into the modeling and pageant industry. The life lessons I gained at the school allowed me to not be afraid to shake things up and call out what I believe is to be incorrect (of course, if supported by empirical evidence) in whatever career choice you make. These were characteristics that were developed from growing up at NIST and I personally believe are valuable ones. Another massive influence the school had on me was developed through my sports participation. The importance of teamwork and the strength of having a stable foundation within a team. It really teaches you how to communicate effectively, work with various people and to bring out each other’s potential. Learning that at NIST was I think, an enormous reason we won so many SEASAC’s back-to-back. It is also something I carry into work with me now.
Based on my own experiences at NIST, the advice I would give to our NISTies now would be enjoy it and take it all in. Learn as much as you can and listen to what your teachers have to say but don’t be afraid to come up with your own opinion. Your purpose there is grow and to develop so you can advance in life beyond NIST, try new things and cherish it. NIST provides you with so many immense opportunities to take advantage of the freedom to immerse yourself into everything, so definitely do that.
My journey to Road to Miss Universe Thailand 2021 came along after I found my passion in advocating for our current constructed beauty standards. I never fit into those standards, but it never affected me because I played a lot of sports at NIST. How I looked, particularly my body, was never a thought. I only thought about my performance and how I could be better. I remember when I was the captain of the volleyball team, the younger girls would talk about how they disliked their bodies and thought they would be more physically attractive because of it. I cannot deny that it broke me. I still carry that moral responsibility until today, except now it goes beyond the realm of the volleyball team. That was how my passion truly emerged. I cannot deny that I was also lucky to meet my team, the Feline Agency team (and Khun Tin).
They accepted me for me, and therefore provided me with a safe space to encourage those to accept themselves for who they are. They truly are the backbone of everything. I told them I had always wanted to compete in Miss Universe Thailand, and their belief in me allowed me to follow my dreams. I guess it came about because I found my passion and purpose, as well as a wonderful team that supports and embraces diversity and difference. Finding a group of people where our values, principles and beliefs align was how it came about.