Mia Kang is not your average swimsuit model.
Kang isn’t stereotypically skinny, but instead possesses the build of an athlete. That suits her other career as a professional Muay Thai fighter just fine.
A stop at Muay Thai showcase Rumble on the River last Thursday in lower Manhattan, during which she hit pads for a demonstration, is nothing new for Kang as she balances combat sports training with modeling commitments.
“I’m doing it all at the same time,” Kang told amNewYork. “I can be multidimensional. I can do whatever I want to do. I’m all about doing both [modeling and fighting]. It’s a lot of hard work, but it can be done.”
Kang, 28, takes great pride in her dual careers. She appeared in this year’s SI swimsuit issue, and in May won her pro Muay Thai debut via third-round TKO.
“They both complement each other very well, in the sense of when I’m fighting and when I’m training,” Kang said. “For me, now, I couldn’t imagine doing one thing without the other. ... It’s been an amazing journey and I’m really thankful that I can do both.”
Kang, a native of Hong Kong who now lives in New York City, has dealt with body issues her entire life. Growing up, she was overweight before body dysmorphia led her to cut her weight in half through unhealthy means, including starvation and anorexia.
Discovering Muay Thai, known as the art of eight limbs, last year was her saving grace. During her martial arts journey, Kang has become a role model for girls who may be dealing with similar body image issues. It’s something that, like her varied careers, she takes immense pride in.
“I’m so happy that I get to do the two things I love to do and the two things that I do are combined together. That’s everything I represent,” she said. “Not only the body issue and learning to love yourself and having that self-confidence and have different body types seen as beautiful or sexy — and embracing that into the [modeling] industry — but also emphasizing that we can be multidimensional.”