By The Nation
HALF-SWEDISH, half-Thai actress-model Praya Nataya “Poo” Lundberg is a bombshell, looks-wise, but she’s also a book that refuses to be judged by its cover.
A recent speech she made at the NIST International School in Bangkok for a TED event, posted on YouTube, is what can only be called “inspiring” and is being duly shared around the social media.
Some of those doing the sharing admit they’ve never heard of Poo before. Others explain that she’s occasionally appeared on TV but is more frequently seen showing plenty of skin in magazines made for both men and women.
That “back story” turns out to be a mere fraction of the big story. Poo has been working very, very hard since she was 14, even while still attending school. She describes her high-school years as lonely and stressful. “Looking back, though, I can’t help feeling thankful, because it taught me to be disciplined.”
As for her modelling jobs, she says, you basically have to be dying if you expect to get any time off. “You always have to be on the set on time.”
Poo furthered her schooling in Britain, the only time she never had to work while studying at the same time. But college years can be the best, she says, urging her high-school audience to enjoy them once they get there.
Since her return to Thailand, Poo says, she’s become more positive about her career. You have to love what you do and be grateful for it, she says, and by doing so you’ll achieve much more in life.
Poo talks about visiting a temple in Saraburi recently where people dealing with HIV and Aids are earning some tender loving. Almost in tears, she recalls approaching a terminally ill man and touching his hand. “I said, ‘Sorry to disturb you,’ but he replied, ‘Not at all, your smile has made my day!’” It was one of those life-changing moments. “So many of the things we consider important come down to nothing,” she says.
Poo acknowledges that she’s done “many things” in life about which she and her parents aren’t proud. “You know if you read the tabloids.” What’s more important, she adds, is that your goal in life shouldn’t involve chasing financial success. On the contrary, you should be looking for ways to give something to society. “Be compassionate, be kind to your neighbours and help your community.”
Being an actress gives her the chance to share her thoughts and her passion for life, Poo says. “Find your voice and make it strong and make it kind and gentle and change the world. Let your voice change the world.” Tapping into another source of inspiration, she ends with a quote from Mitch Albom’s best-selling memoir “Tuesdays with Morrie”.
The loud applause from the students has rippled outward to top 41,000 views on YouTube and countless more shares on the social networks. Poo’s talk reminds us even as gorgeous a book as she is has much more of value inside it.