This Swimsuit Model Found True Confidence Through Muay Thai

Managing Editor, Life

After the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue launched her to superstardom in the modeling world, Mia Kang decided she needed a break. In 2016, she told her agency that she was headed to Thailand for 10 days. The trip ended up being closer to nine months, with Kang staying in a Muay Thai camp to practice the Thai martial art.

“I do a job that incredibly egocentric,” Kang says of modeling. “When you do martial arts, you have to leave your ego at the door.”

The trip to Thailand allowed Kang to take a newfound ownership over how she looked. Liquid diets and fasting were replaced with an emphasis on strength. As a result, she found her approach to her own appearance shifting.

“I remember the day when I looked in the mirror and felt secure with myself,” she says, “because I was happy and confident for the first time in my life.”

Kang also has a master’s degree in finance and financial law — so clearly she’s not going to let her looks be the only thing that define her. That’s a strong position to be in.

“There’s a difference between a model and a role model,” she says. “All I can do is try to be the role model that I wish that I had.”


Flow 🌊. @firstt_yodyut @yodyutmuaythai

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