As the saying goes, behind every successful man, there’s a woman. Except in Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Thamanat Prompow’s case, there are two – the woman he is legally married to and his common-law wife.
Thamanat’s legal spouse Arisara Prompow is far richer than his other wife, Tanaporn Srivirach, but it is the latter who is making headlines after following in his footsteps to enter the field of politics.
Crowned Miss Thailand in 2016, the now 25-year-old Tanaporn was handed a job in the Secretariat of the Prime Minister on November 10. Critics were dismayed by her appointment, seeing it as a simple case of nepotism and more evidence of a lack of transparency in government. Thamanat has managed to keep his job in government despite records suggesting he spent four years in an Australian jail for heroin smuggling in the 1990s.
However, many other observers are eager to know more about the woman herself.
Former beauty queen Tanaporn is better known by her cute-sounding nickname, “Jubjib”, and is about 30 years younger than Arisara. However, the older woman is far wealthier – worth Bt189 million according to the assets declaration Thamanat filed last year when he became an MP. She has also had several children with Thamanat.
Tanaporn, meanwhile, has declared about Bt63.6 million in assets and has just one son with Thamanat.
Love or Money?
Thamanat himself is worth a whopping Bt886 million, and is at least 30 years older than Tanaporn. Though the couple have not spoken about their romance, it is thought to have blossomed before Thamanat was elected MP for the northern province of Phayao under the ruling party Palang Pracharath’s banner.
Tanaporn hails from Phayao, where her father Kajornsak Srivirach has been an adviser to local politicians and her mother Rungnnapa Srivirach runs a rubber plantation.
Growing up, Tanaporn was keen to make a name for herself in beauty contests. Her first big success was at the Miss Teen 2012 pageant, where she emerged as second runner-up.
In 2016, she clinched the Miss Thailand crown after being named Miss Popular Vote and Miss Smile in the same contest. She won the audience’s hearts with the simple answer: “I will always choose love over money.”
But Tanaporn took a different path to most of her beauty-queen predecessors. Instead of entering showbusiness, she opted to stick with studying Chinese medicine at Phayao University before eventually picking up a bachelor’s at Ramkhamhaeng University’s Political Science Faculty.
She may have first crossed paths with Thamanat while studying in Phayao, but it wasn’t until early 2018 that rumours surfaced of an engagement ceremony.
In early 2019, she accompanied Thamanat on his election campaign, and people began referring to her as not just his secretary, but his confidante.
Thamanat finally confirmed his relationship with the beauty queen in March 2019, when he informed the National Anti-Corruption Commission that he had two wives.
Though polygamy has been abolished in Thailand and “second wives” are not recognised by law, they are still generally accepted in Thai society.
Little is known about Tanaporn’s professional experience, except that she is a stakeholder and director of two firms – Signature Siam and DNA 2002.
Far more is known about her shopping habits.
Tanaporn boasts a long list of luxury handbags in her collection. Thamanat’s asset declaration list reveals she is the proud owner of at least 42 ultra-expensive designer bags.
Her lavish collection features a Hermès Kelly 28 in black croc worth nearly Bt2 million, a shiny Hermès Constance in alligator leather worth Bt1.4 million, and a Chanel 2017 rocket worth Bt680,000, among others.
She apparently developed the expensive bag habit between 2016 and 2019.
Along with high-end designer bags, Tanaporn also has a taste for luxury cars: her garage reportedly houses a Mercedes-Benz worth Bt5.8 million and a Bt8.9-million Porsche.
Perhaps surprisingly, Tanaporn is not the first beauty queen to have entered the political scene this year. In May, Miss Thailand 2008 Panprapa Yongtrakul was named assistant spokesperson of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.
Tanaporn is among a quota of 20 government staff who must be nominated and endorsed by the premier.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)