How Mia Kang overcame her insecurities to become a swim model

Mia Kang is a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model whose life story and passions are honestly goals.

She grew up in Hong Kong, broke into the modeling industry and is now using her platform to work on causes that matter to her, such as human trafficking.

Read on for our interview and a gorg shoot in NYC and follow Mia on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

What products do you swear by for your skin?

Disposable sheet masks. There are so many great brands out there but they are a great way to intensively hydrate and reset your skin. I do them on the go too especially on airplanes (IDGAF).

What are your make-up must haves ?

Eyebrow brush (people underestimate how important your brows are, it frames the whole face) and cream highlighter for that pop.

What’s your biggest beauty indulgence?

Spend money on two great moisturizers. One with SPF for the day, one intensive hydration for the night.

Tell us more about your charity and putting an end to sex trafficking.

I recently did a skydive from 18,000ft (the highest in North America) in Santa Barbara for raise money to help put an end to sex trafficking. The charity organization is called 18 for 18 Project Rescue and works at not only rescuing women and children from the sex trafficking industry but also at their rehabilitation and starting their new lives. When I heard about the cause I couldn’t ignore it. 1.2 million women and children are sold into the sex trafficking industry every year, from as young as age 2. It’s the second largest criminal industry in the world. We have rights and control over our bodies to say ‘no’, these women don’t and don’t know what that’s like. I feel it’s our responsibility to try and help them.

How was it shooting the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue?

A dream come true. I truly felt like I got to be myself and that was nurtured, embraced and encouraged. It’s an honour to be apart of such an iconic establishment and be a part of that with some of the most beautiful women in history. SI swim and the lovely people that work there have a way of making you feel like the most beautiful woman in the world, but more importantly in the issue because of the woman that you are and not just for what you look like. You get the travel to the most stunning beaches on the planet, wear the itsy bitsiest bikinis and have fun – it’s the ideal job!

What are your thoughts on diversity in modeling?

I think there is a wave of change that’s happening, but we still have a long way to go until we achieve true diversity. There is a fashion industry of size 0/2 girls, there is a plus size industry, but there is no real representation of anything in between. I stand at a size 6 and although there are many brands that are now starting to use a mixture of different sizes, they are still the minority. Honestly, I believe that there is power in numbers, for real change to happen we need to speak up. Everyone can notice a problem but few have the courage to stand up and try to change it. All I’m trying to do is to be the change that I want to see because I know what it’s like to be a 14-year-old riddled with insecurities and eating disorders, hating myself and wondering why I don’t look like the girls in the magazines. I want to help alleviate some of the pressure that women have on their shoulders, because let me tell you it’s f*cking hard to be a woman these days.

How was life growing up in Asia? 

I loved it. I identify with being more Asian than Caucasian. I’m half Korean but was born and raised in Hong Kong. There are so many things I am thankful for that I got from growing up in Asia — a good worth ethic, a natural priority for education, a diverse taste for food, strong cultural roots. I go back whenever I possibly can.

What tips should every girl live by for the best life?

Your happiness should only come from YOU and no where, no one and nothing else.

Be the best version of yourself that you can be.

Everything is out there ready to be taken.

Don’t let your insecurities weigh you down — embrace them, love them, use them.

Girl power motto?


Who’s your female hero?

I take different qualities from different women and shape myself. Life is about creating yourself not finding yourself. I liked certain things from each Spice Girl, Oprah Winfrey, JLo, Ashley Graham, Joan of Arc, Chrissy Teigen, Cleopatra, Joan Rivers, Beyoncé, and Rihanna, she is the perfect example that sexuality can be powerful once you fully take control of it. There are so many incredible women out there past and present, I’m learning from them every single day.

What emoji best describes you?

Bowl of noodles.

What’s the secret to self-confidence?

Taking ownership and control of yourself and the way you feel.



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