Weak with starvation and weighing simply 98 kilos, frail mannequin Mia Kang collapsed into the arms of a stranger after a pervert adopted her by means of the streets of Milan.
The creep, who had been pleasuring himself throughout the pursuit, backed off when the great Samaritan yelled at him in Italian. However the 2006 incident left Kang a wreck.
“I simply needed to go house, lock the door, get in mattress and keep there,” remembers the 5-foot-9 Sports activities Illustrated magnificence in her memoir “Knockout” (Abrams Books, out Oct. 20).
Fourteen years later, if the identical factor occurred, the intercourse pest would possibly effectively be sipping his meals by means of a straw. A a lot more healthy Kang is a power to be reckoned with now that she combines modeling with skilled Thai preventing.
“I wouldn’t advise charging at a person who’s making an attempt to come back after you, however I might be much more confrontational,” the 31-year-old advised The Publish. “I don’t take s–t and I’m not intimidated.
“I stroll round with a confidence that makes me really feel like a distinct particular person.”
The truth is, recovering anorexic Kang credit Muay Thai with saving her life.
“With out it, I feel I might have spiraled additional down into my consuming issues and despair,” mentioned the Hong Kong-born Manhattan resident, who was bullied for being chubby as a toddler. “It opened a door for me and threw me a lifeline.”
Kang found the game in 2016 — the identical yr she received the Sports activities Illustrated Swimsuit mannequin search contest — at a time when she was ravenous herself to suit into dimension 2 garments for high-profile vogue purchasers.
A succession of liquid-only diets plus the misuse of laxatives, diuretics and cigarettes took a toll on her thoughts and physique. In her e book, she admits to “suicidal ideas,” questioning whether or not killing herself was the one escape from the “vicious cycle” of proscribing and bingeing.
Fortunately, a 10-day trip in Thailand altered Kang’s trajectory. She was intrigued after watching a bunch of Muay Thai fighters in motion. She tried it for herself, main her to remain on Koh Samui for six months understanding at a no-frills gymnasium on the island.
“The way you look when you’re coaching is the very last thing on anyone’s thoughts,” mentioned Kang, who was determined for a break from her appearance-led business. “It’s all about ability and data. You test your ego on the door.”
One other bonus: She discovered it unimaginable to search out the power to struggle with out altering her harmful consuming habits. Her weight stabilized after she ate “balanced meals” that have been “in accordance to the bodily exercise I used to be doing every single day.” Consequently, she grew right into a extra sustainable dimension four to six.
Explaining the lure of preventing, Kang added: “After I’m modeling, I really feel like I’m handled so preciously and delicately. Individuals say: ‘Simply sit within the chair and no person contact her.’ With martial arts, it’s the exact opposite as you undergo the journey of getting crushed up after which choosing your self again up once more.”
Not surprisingly, the bigwigs at Kang’s modeling company discovered it tough to simply accept her newfound obsession with Muay Thai. Kang’s face was her fortune, and the danger of harm was excessive.
Nonetheless, in Could 2017, they allowed her to compete professionally within the ring in opposition to skilled Thai fighter Nong B. Regardless of a pounding, throughout which she suffered a deep reduce beneath her eye, the mannequin emerged victorious.
“I didn’t work for about three to 4 weeks, however I factored that into my scheduling once I took the struggle,” Kang mentioned. “I used to be mentally ready for extra critical accidents like a damaged limb or concussion, so I used to be fairly happy with my post-fight situation.”
She identified that, since modeling is usually such a short-lived profession, she feels she shouldn’t ever flip down jobs in favor of martial arts. However she added, “A large a part of my coronary heart needs to be within the ring. It’s robust!”
So far as the mentality of a fighter is anxious, Kang mentioned that the inclination to outlive in any respect prices is “primal.”
“Intuition kicks in, as a result of [the opponent] is actually making an attempt to take your head off and there’s this realization of: ‘OK, she’s making an attempt to kill me. I have to kill her,’ ” she mentioned.
Now a dimension eight to 10 and weighing round 170 kilos, the singleton is briefly residing on Phuket and coaching in a jujitsu program. Her Muay Thai profession and modeling assignments are on maintain due to COVID-19 and the ensuing worldwide journey bans.
But Kang stays optimistic a few future she as soon as feared she may not see. “There have been occasions within the midst of my consuming issues once I thought, ‘That is how life goes to be, and it’s exhausting.’ But it surely’s now not this all-consuming factor,” she mentioned.
“I’m so fortunate to nonetheless be modeling on the age of 31 whereas working towards martial arts. I need everyone to know there’s gentle on the finish of the tunnel.”
Sharing hope with others was her key motivation for writing her e book. She selected to publish it this fall because the body-positivity motion grows and her social-media attain is way, with 296,000 followers on Instagram.
“There isn’t a higher feeling than being a robust and assured girl at any dimension,” Kang writes. “I need to assist different girls entry their interior badass.”