Introducing Mia Kang

It’s nearly impossible to label @missmiakang – and that’s the way she wants it. She has a degree in philosophy and economics from the University of Bristol, and a master’s degree in finance and financial law from London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. She fights and models professionally and she’s a body positivity campaigner. Meet the woman who’s rocking our world.

behind the scenes winter 18

Describe yourself in three words?

A strong woman.

Where are you originally from?

I’m born and raised in Hong Kong, I’m half Korean, half British, I have a Swiss passport, and I live between the USA and Thailand.

Can you share a little about your journey?

I grew up as a very overweight and bullied kid. When I was 13 years old I lost a bunch of weight and I was immediately scouted as a model. After working continuously from 13, in 2016 I had a complete mental and physical breakdown. I didn’t realise how much the industry had taken a toll on my life, I’d been living with eating disorders, addiction and depression for years, and it really lead me to hit rock bottom. I knew I had to get away from modelling for a while, so I booked a flight to Thailand for what I thought would be a rejuvenating, 10-day vacation—but turned into the trip that changed my life.

When I was there I drove past a Muay Thai gym on the side of the road and pulled over and went in. I ended up moving into that gym and living breathing Muay Thai for 9 months and I became a professional fighter. I came back to work and back to the industry healthy, happy and confident. For the first time in my life I was eating meals, I had respect for my body that I had learned through sport. So here I am, I’m an advocate for body positivity and for health in the industry.

Why Muay Thai?

For me, it’s so much more than a sport. Every time I train I learn something I can apply to the rest of my life. It’s a great balance because I work in this incredibly inward facing, narcissistic, egocentric job, but when you’re in the ring it’s the exact opposite. What I look like doesn’t matter, it’s the least important thing.

What are the benefits of training for you?

Training is a big one. The strength I’ve gained through that has transferred to all the other parts of my life. I know myself inside and out, and I’m proud of who I am. My weight has nothing to do with that. I feel like I’m comfortable with my insecurities now. They don’t control me; I control them.

Do you have any advice for women trying something new?

Firstly, it’s important to know that at every level it’s still difficult to get yourself out of bed and get yourself to exercise. I can guarantee you that even Serena Williams finds it’s hard to go to training sometimes. I think it’s really important for women to explore their strength because we are capable of so much. I think we just need to break down those barriers and try new things. I keep my training spontaneous because I get bored really quickly, I need to mix it up, it’s all about making it an active lifestyle.

How do you maintain a healthy attitude?

Being unapologetically myself. I wouldn’t have reached this point without Muay Thai.

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?

Call a friend. I really think self-awareness and self-care are so important especially for women today. You have to monitor yourself and catch yourself when you’re falling and bring yourself up when you are down. You should be your own source of happiness, but it’s perfectly fine to have that safety net of support whether it’s friends or family. Being vulnerable is not a weakness. I’ll call a friend and be like “I’m having an off day, I just need a little bit of a pep talk”.

What would you say to your younger self?

Be kind and don’t waste your time trying to fit in. It’s only now I feel I’ve become a woman. I love my thighs, my curves. I love my strength and the fact I can probably whoop your ass.

When do you feel best in yourself?

I feel best in myself when there is balance; when I feel worked but rested. When I have moderation, when I haven’t overindulged but I’ve still treated myself. When you find that stillness and that balance, you’re at peace with yourself and that’s when I feel my best.

Life mantra?

Life is not about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.

What is your morning routine?

When I wake up in the morning, I have a playlist called Mia’s Morning Sunshine and it’s filled with songs that make me really happy like Backstreet Boys, Jackson Five and Spice Girls. I put this on and it takes me to a super happy place. Every day, I also wear a beautiful matching set of lingerie. Not for anybody else and it makes me feel beautiful.

Favourite workout song?

Rihanna – Bitch better have my money.

Guilty pleasure?

Crisps/Chips. If you left me alone I would just eat a different flavour for each meal – I’m obsessed with them I cannot keep them in the house because they will be eaten immediately, the whole bag. I love them!