Mia Kang’s life could look picture-perfect, however the mannequin had privately endured an ongoing battle together with her well being earlier than she fought again with Muay Thai.
The sought-after pinup, who received Sports activities Illustrated’s 2016 Mannequin Search, first pursued modeling at age 13 when she almost “halved” her weight by not consuming to really feel extra comfortable together with her physique.
She left behind the trade in her later years to tackle an unlikely gig as a commodities dealer, adopted by derivatives consultancy. She would ultimately strike poses for the cameras once more, however her profession got here at a screeching halt.
“By the point I used to be 27, I had a whole breakdown,” the 30-year-old lately informed Into The Gloss. “I had been residing with consuming issues, insecurity and anxiousness for therefore lengthy that I didn’t understand how sick I used to be.
“My breaking level was after I was requested to go on a liquids-only weight-reduction plan for 10 days so I may shrink down – sadly, that’s regular in our trade, and I’d finished that many instances earlier than.”
Nonetheless, the Hong Kong native mentioned she wasn’t able to tackle the acute weight-reduction plan methodology simply to look good in entrance of cameras.
“This time, for some cause, I used to be an emotional wreck,” she defined. “I made a decision I wanted a while off. I went to Thailand for a 10-day trip and ended up transferring right into a Thai battle camp for 9 months.”
At first, martial arts was only a type of train that made Kang really feel stunning inside and outside. But it surely shortly turned an obsession.
“I began coaching every single day, twice a day,” mentioned Kang. “I gave up all my materials possessions. I forgot about this condo, I forgot about, you realize, needing the latest Gucci bag — I forgot about all of it.”
Kang insisted it was her coaching as a fighter that compelled her to mannequin once more.
“Leaving Thailand was terrifying, particularly as a result of I had this entire new physique,” mentioned Kang. “However I used to be so comfy with myself, it was bizarre — I simply went forth with confidence. I got here again to the trade with the intention of fixing it. I really feel prefer it’s my accountability. If folks don’t pay attention, not less than I gave it my all.”
Kang credited Sports activities Illustrated for not solely sticking by her facet however embracing the brand new physique she developed after coaching in Thailand.
“After I received again Sports activities Illustrated known as once more, and so they had been so supportive,” she mentioned. “They made me really feel that what was most vital was the girl that I’m, and never what I appeared like. Not many individuals get to actually be themselves and be within the public like that.”
Nonetheless, not everybody within the trend trade has embraced Kang with open arms.
“There are nonetheless two totally different industries — Plus is a complete separate trade,” she mentioned. “I’m bang within the center [right now] — I’m like a dimension eight or 10, so I get informed on a regular basis, ‘You could both acquire or shed weight.’ Why? Precisely.
“That is my entire level. Nobody’s ‘too’ something. Range doesn’t simply imply having 5 dimension zero women after which one dimension 14 woman on the quilt of — that’s not variety.”
Again in 2016, Kang informed Fox Information she was shocked to study the information that she was formally going to be in Sports activities Illustrated Swimsuit.
“I received a cellphone name from my agent,” mentioned Kang on the time. “I used to be in Thailand on the time remoted on an island, fairly disconnected from the world. She known as me and mentioned, ‘Are you sitting down?’ And I believed, ‘Oh God, I’m fired.’ Or ‘I’ve finished one thing unsuitable.’”
However in fact, Kang wasn’t fired — in actual fact, her modeling profession was safer than ever.
“She informed me I received the competitors,” Kang recalled. “… I used to be fairly shocked. I actually can’t imagine that I’m part of the Sports activities Illustrated Swimsuit household. It’s an unbelievable feeling and achievement for me. I’m getting a little bit bit emotional speaking about it. It means the world to me.”
And whereas Kang is a Muay Thai fighter and an professional in finance and monetary regulation, the one factor she isn’t, nevertheless, is “simply impressed.”
“I feel I’m fairly a troublesome cookie,” she defined on what it might take to wow a girl like her.
“I feel an important high quality in a person for me is intelligence. I’m actually drawn to brilliance… and second would undoubtedly should be humorousness. I by no means need a day to be boring. I wish to snort every single day. So put together some jokes, and we’ll see if I’m impressed.”