First of all, I'd just like to say WOW! Can't believe I got a chance to interview Mia Kang! I've been following her for a while now, and when I found out she was chosen for a chance to be featured in the 2017 Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated, I thought this would be a great chance to reach out to her for an interview. Her look is elegant & seductive with a side of badass, and it makes her work stand out! For some strange reason, I always find myself staring at her lips. When you see her photos, you'll see what I mean! Be sure to vote for her in Sports Illustrated's Model Search here, and here is her interview:
OTC: What’s your name?
MK: Mia Kang
OTC: Where are you from originally?
MK: I am half South Korean, and half British, but I was born and raised in Hong Kong.
OTC: Have you ever been to Korea or Britain?
MK: Yes. I was based in London for 5 years and have been to Korea many times. I have family in both places.
OTC: Which one is your favorite and why?
MK: Neither is better than the other. They are both so different and amazing, and both have shaped me to be who I am.
OTC: How long did you live in Hong Kong?
MK: I was born and raised in Hong Kong until I was 17. I lived there on and off until I moved to the States last year.
OTC: What do you miss most about living in Hong Kong?
MK: My friends, the heat, the convenience, being close to a beach and the mountains, and the food!
OTC: How often do you travel?
MK: It depends. Sometimes I'm on the go doing back to back trips non stop for a month. Sometimes I have one trip per month.
OTC: What is your favorite country and why?
MK: I don't have a favorite anything! There are too many great things in the world to have just one favorite. However, I do think my favorite part of the world that I've been to so far is the Caribbean. I haven't been everywhere yet, so I can't judge.
OTC: If you could travel anywhere in the world, for free, where would you go, and why?
MK: I have been really lucky to have travelled a lot in my life. Some places I am dying to go to are Jamaica, Hawaii, Brazil and Istanbul. I've also always wanted to take the Trans Siberian train. And it is also my dream to swim with dolphins - I'll do that anywhere!
OTC: How did you get into modeling?
MK: When I was a kid I took dance classes once a week. When I was 13, my dance teacher told me I should go into a modeling agency that her friend owned. I didn't have a clue what I was doing, or getting myself into, but I started working straight away and it never stopped since then!
OTC: How long have you been modeling?
MK: 14 years
OTC: Are you signed? With whom?
OTC: What’s it like living in New York?
MK: New York is amazing. It's very similar to Hong Kong, and it's easy for me to live here because I am a big city girl. When I first moved to New York I was like, "Wow! There's so much space!" Hong Kong is much denser - the buildings are taller, the streets are more crowded, and the apartments are smaller. So it was an easy adjustment. New York has an amazing energy that is so inspiring. The people are vibrant, there is so much culture, and everyone is hustling! I love it!
OTC: Would you rather be based somewhere else? Like LA?
MK: No. Even though I love the heat and the sunshine, no. New York is much more me.
OTC: How long have you been working with Sports Illustrated Swimsuit?
MK: This year is my first year.
OTC: What would you do if you win the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Search 2016?
MK: Freak out. Cry. Scream. Dance. FaceTime everyone I know. In that order. And repeat nonstop probably for about a month.
OTC: How would you celebrate winning the Model Search 2016?
MK: I would love to have my closest friends and family around one big dinner table and break bread together. I would thank each and every one of them for helping to shape me and for supporting me get to that point. Throw in some champaign, a bottle of tequila, and some gangster rap too ;)!
I would definitely like to involve myself in an organisation or charity that helps to mentor adolescents and youths. If I win I would pass on my struggle, journey, and success to the next generation, and motivate them to chase their dreams. No dream is too big, and if I won, I would be living proof of that. It's tough being a kid and a teenager, and I want to help people (especially young girls) to get rid of their insecurities and the pressures the world puts on them. That would be the best celebration I could ask for.
OTC: Can I come?
MK: Absolutely! :)
OTC: Other than yourself, who would you want to win the Model Search?
MK: Any of the girls deserve to win. They are all stunning, both inside and out. We all got along really well, and it was a pleasure to make new friends. In fact I think in many ways we have all already won! We are all in Sports Illustrated 2016, and that in itself is a dream come true.
OTC: What’s the most memorable shot from the Model Search photoshoot?
MK: Because I never have favorites I'll give you my top 2:
1. In the emerald green Ola Vida bikini. This was the first time I ever took a photo without a top on!
2. In the pink Tori Praver bikini. So I have the biggest phobia of butterflies ever. It started when I was a child. They are so unpredictable, and I find them super creepy. When one flutters near me, I run. So I was sitting on that sharp rock, trying to be so sexual, in the blazing sun, with waves crashing over me from behind, and to top it all off, I was sitting in some sort of butterfly nest! There were just hundreds of butterflies all up in my face! I had to massively apologise to the whole crew because 99% of the photos were of me freaking out making weird faces!
OTC: What message are you trying to send to the aspiring models that look up to you?
MK: This applies to everyone, not just aspiring models: LOVE YOURSELF! You are pretty effing awesome, so own it. You have nothing to be insecure about, so get rid of them because they do nothing but stop you from shining. You do not need to fit into any sort of box. You can be anyone you want to be, and do anything you want to do. Be confident, be happy, and love yourself.
OTC: Is there any advice you would give to someone trying to get into the modeling industry?
MK: It is not as glamorous as everyone thinks it is. It's hard work, and you have to work your way up. People think modeling is flying around the world on private jets, sipping champagne, and having your picture taken effortlessly rolling around on an exotic beach. Realistically, we go to castings, and line up with hundreds of other girls. We deal with so much rejection, criticism and feedback. You need to be thick-skinned and strong, and can't take things personally. You need to know yourself and love yourself.
OTC: Is having a good connection with the photographer important to you?
MK: For me, it's the key to a great photo.
OTC: Do you have a special ritual you do before or after a photoshoot?
MK: Face masks! This must be the Korean inside of me, but before a big shoot I like to be alone for a few days, mentally and physically preparing myself, and relaxing. I do face masks all the time. When I sleep, when I watch TV, and when I'm on the plane. They are my fav!
OTC: Do you practice poses or do they just come naturally to you?
MK: They come naturally. Every time you get on set, the factors around you are different. Different hair, makeup, lighting, clothing, photographer, camera, direction, and inspiration. I take all these factors and see and feel what works best then and there to achieve the desired outcome.
OTC: In a previous interview, you touched a little on the subject of you being obese at a young age. How did you overcome obesity and channel your inner-confidence?
MK: Unfortunately, I overcame my obesity in an unhealthy way - I suffered from eating disorders which lead to years of struggle and battling insecurity. I was so ridden with insecurities it really held me back in achieving my potential. It took me years to overcome my disorders and I still have insecurities, and will have to deal with it for the rest of my life. I just want to encourage and inspire everyone to be more confident with themselves. Life is too short. Every day of your life should be spent with a big fat smile on your face!
OTC: What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
MK: Reach for my phone and turn off my alarm. I always set an alarm. I don't like over sleeping because I think it wastes the day. Sadly, this normally leads to checking emails, Instagram, snapchat etc... I try to take at least 20 minutes every morning to reply back to fans and supporters as well.
OTC: What superpower would you have and why?
MK: Time travel! Because the opportunities are literally endless. Think about it...
OTC: Are you an early bird, or a night owl?
MK: Both. I love getting up early, and I love staying up late. And I love sleeping. I am a walking contradiction!
OTC: Sun or snow?
OTC: Boats or jet skis?
MK: Jet skis scare me a little! I've never tried to drive one by myself though. Maybe I just haven't been on one with the right person ;)
OTC: Hugs or kisses?
MK: Depends on whom I'm hugging/kissing ;)
OTC: Silver or gold?
MK: Both. At the same time.
OTC: Singing or dancing?
OTC: Tattoos or piercings?
OTC: Money or fame?
OTC: Washing dishes or doing laundry?
MK: Love both! I find it so stress relieving and therapeutic.
OTC: Cooking or eating?
OTC: Spicy or mild?
MK: The spicier the better!
OTC: Grammy or Oscar?
OTC: Netflix or chill?
MK: Fun fact - I've never watched Netflix before.
OTC: Wine or beer?
OTC: What’s your favorite drink?
MK: Wine! Haha!
OTC: Do you go clubbing a lot?
OTC: What’s your favorite shot and why?
MK: I don't like doing shots, but if I have to, then Tequila.
OTC: Would you ever buy a guy a drink at a club/bar?
MK: Of course. I have no issue hitting on a guy ;).
OTC: Have you ever been skinny dipping?
OTC: Are you single?
OTC: What does your dream date night consist of?
MK: It doesn't matter what you do, it's only matters who you're with. You can eat dinner in the most expensive restaurant, be given diamonds and be flown around in a helicopter. It won't beat chillin' on the couch with someone you're really, really into.
OTC: Describe your dream man
MK: He's creative. He protects me. He makes me feel safe. He makes me laugh. A lot! He appreciates me. He gives me compliments. He inspires and motivates me to be the best I can be. He is kind and generous. He challenges me intellectually. He loves travelling as much as I do. He sweeps me off my feet sometimes. He lets me be independent, but he's always watching. He thinks it's cute when I dance around to hip hop music. Maybe he even dances with me sometimes.
OTC: Where can people find you?