Mia Kang – Model and Muay Thai Fighter
Mia Kang entered modeling at 13 and quickly achieved success, from magazine covers to winning Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Search 2016. Although she enjoyed such fame, however, Mia nonetheless struggled with disordered eating habits that often kept her away from modeling opportunities.
Muay Thai became her way out, helping her gain self-acceptance and body positivity. This book chronicles this journey.
Mia Kang’s Modeling Career
Mia Kang, now known for being both a model and Muay Thai fighter, wasn’t always as successful in life as she appears today. Starting modeling at 13, Mia traveled the world before succumbing to unrealistic beauty standards and body complexes in this ego-driven industry. After experiencing a mental breakdown she resolved to find an alternative path forward, and Muay Thai training became her answer; giving her newfound confidence which has seen her become an advocate for women as well as a force to be reckoned with in both fashion and fighting worlds alike!
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Nikki Bell opens up about her struggles with eating disorders, drug addiction, and mental health in her new memoir Knockout (Abrams Books, Oct 2022). The half-Korean, half-British beauty recalls being bullied at Discovery Bay International School due to the Asian food in her lunchbox as a child and later struggling with bulimia as an adult, drinking kefir water to curb binging episodes. She writes of several traumatic experiences which left her feeling suicidal while her relationship with her mother was severely diminished as a result of her unhealthy habits.
Mia graduated from Hunter College at the City University of New York and currently studies Art History at Yale. As a powerful spokesperson for diversity, she has graced magazine covers like Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue; has made appearances on television programs including Wild ‘N Out and Nick Cannon’s Megyn Kelly Today; additionally she hosts Bravo’s Spy Games.
Photographed by Lara Jade at Studio A in Hong Kong, model Mia wears designs by Versace, Victor Glemaud, and Oma The Label among others. With hair and makeup done by Yukiko Tajima and Aya Tariq to enhance her curves in form-fitting silhouettes that emphasize her natural beauty, Mia completes her look by donning Hayabusa T3 shin guards and boxing gloves from Hayabusa T3.
Muay Thai Fighter Mia Kang
Mia Kang has established herself as an international model, Muay Thai fighter, and body-positivity advocate since she started modeling at 13. Her modeling career expanded across Asia and Europe during high school and college; after briefly trading commodities she returned to modeling winning Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue’s 2016 Model Search then being featured as their 2017 Rookie Model. Knockout, Mia’s memoir chronicles her past struggles with bullying, anorexia, and bulimia while also providing insight into how Muay Thai helped redefine her sense of self-worth while also giving insight into how redefined her sense of self-worth through it.
Kang’s latest venture is an Iris and Lilly collaboration with Amazon’s private-label European lingerie brand Iris and Lilly, spearheaded by Cass Bird. The shoot honored friendship and authenticity through intimate images showcasing Kang in intimate settings wearing Iris and Lilly pieces such as delicate lace separates to athleisure-inspired sets in key hues such as soft blush pink, deep royal blue, and classic black.
Kang was interviewed by MMA journalist Shelwani about her path from modeling to Muay Thai, detailing how her struggle with anorexia and bulimia led her to take drastic measures to try to lose weight, only for these actions to cause more harm than good. A trip to Thailand altered this trajectory, and she decided to give Muay Thai a try at one of its local gyms.
She began training and soon won her debut professional fight in Thailand – marking a significant step toward feeling healthy and secure with herself and her body positivity advocacy. Since then she has accepted herself, accepting both natural curves and muscular physique in equal measure while using her platform to promote body positivity and women’s rights advocacy.
Kang’s recent partnership with Iris and Lilly serves as proof of her ongoing dedication to female empowerment. Moving forward, she plans on continuing her MMA journey while inspiring other women to love themselves regardless of size or shape.
Mia Kang’s Personal Life
Mia Kang is a fashion model, Muay Thai fighter, and body positivity advocate from Hong Kong. After being bullied at school as an overweight student, she successfully lost over 40 lbs at age 13 to quickly be discovered as a model in Asia and Europe through both high school and college years – even winning Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue model search competition as an amateur before returning as a rookie model in 2017.
After her modeling career ended, she decided to learn to fight. Enticed by its brutal and physical nature, she started training with Phil Nurse at The Wat and Hollywood Hino at Church Street Boxing in New York. Through these courses she found new discipline which helped her love and respect her body more – eventually leading her into body positivity activism as she opened “Killa Girl Gang”, an all-female boxing gym located in NYC; as well as hosting a Muay Thai retreat on Koh Samui through travel agency 109 World.
Kang credits her ever-increasing platform with helping her overcome eating disorder and mental health struggles, having been open about her past battle with bulimia and anorexia as an encouragement for others seeking treatment when struggling. Furthermore, she strives to work with at least one charity in each country she models in; being particularly involved with Wor Watthana Muay Thai gym in northern Thailand as well as raising funds for anti-sex trafficking causes has helped.
Kang was encouraged by her father to pursue higher education despite her early success, as modeling could only last so long. She attended Bristol University for her bachelor’s degree, while the School of Oriental and African Studies granted her a master’s in finance and financial law.
Her education has taught her that it is vitally important to think creatively and be adaptable, both at work and in life. Cornell’s approach to academics encourages students to experiment with ideas and find their paths – this has greatly shaped her modeling career, as she embraces discovering herself rather than following any predefined roadmap.
Mia Kang is a fashion model, Muay Thai fighter, and body-confidence advocate. Recently she released Knockout: My Journey With Bullying, Eating Disorders & Body Dysmorphia on Amazon Prime Video. Additionally, she hosts Bravo’s Spy Games series as host. Born and raised in Hong Kong with dual citizenship due to both of her parent’s backgrounds – British for her father and South Korean for her mother; Mia now resides across four different parts of the world along with four half-siblings from her father’s previous marriages plus an uncle from her mother’s previous marriage which she shares.
Kang first started modeling at 13 and quickly rose through the ranks, appearing in campaigns for Christian Siriano and Kith as well as covering magazines such as Glamour. Unfortunately, she also struggled with an eating disorder and anxiety – reaching a low point where she weighed 99 pounds and was bulimic – which she attributed to family alcoholism as well as growing up in an international school where Asian kids socialized amongst themselves as well as Westerners socializing with each other.
Mia Kang found inspiration in Tyra Banks as she struggled to maintain her weight as a child and used this poster on her bedroom wall to shed pounds at age 13. Soon afterward she was discovered by modeling agencies across Asia and Europe before eventually earning a master’s degree in finance from England University before transitioning back into modeling in New York City.
Kang describes in her new book how the pressures of modeling led her down the path toward an eating disorder. While at first, she felt ashamed about what she ate, eventually, agents told her she needed to shed extra weight – prompting attempts at losing further through liquid diets or laxatives and diuretics which proved dangerous for her health.
At her lowest point, Kang found a pervert pursuing her through Milan streets. Exhausted and hungry, she fell into his arms pleading with him not to continue following her. Since then she has abandoned toxic behaviors and redefined both beauty and life goals for herself.