Slim and beautiful, Myat Noe Wai never thought she’d be modeling. Besides, she considers herself to be an introvert and on the shy side. Her career started when she was scouted to do a TV advertisement for Yangon Directory in 2005, but she won’t tell me how old she is, although she hints that she’s almost 30.

“In Myanmar, they focus so much on the age, and they don’t focus on what the person does. I want to be known for taking care of my body, myself and my creativity,” she says.

She has done runways, catwalks, magazine shoots, including in-flight magazine covers, TV commercials and even music videos.

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Originally from Eastern Shan state, she gets mistaken to be Chinese, and actually speaks the language. “I love to learn new languages,” she says and mastered Thai when she went to college there five years ago to do her bachelor’s in business administration. If she wasn’t a model, she’d be focusing on a business in skin care or clothing, although that’s still in the radar.

Creativity seems to run in her blood. When she’s bored, she likes to draw with iPad’s
line brush. “I’m not a professional. I draw whatever, especially when I’m stressed out.”

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So, how did she feel about the photoshoot where she is depicted as a painter? “That felt good. I felt like a painter,” Myat Noe says with a big smile. Her most memorable drawing is the one of her rabbit that she lost a year ago when it found a way out of the house and never came back.

She also does crocheting, a skill she learned from her grandmother and by watching tutorials on YouTube. She doesn’t sell her work, however, but instead gifts it because it makes her feel good.

Photography is another hobby that she cherishes. “I like to think I have an eye for photography,” she says, although most of her photos are taken by iPhone because her professional camera is too heavy to carry.

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Fitness is also something she takes very seriously. “When people tell me that I look thin, I feel like I would like to look rather t than thin. ” says Myat Noe. She does some form of exercise everyday, focusing on strength training rather than weight loss. “If I feel good, I look good.”

And from the getgo, that’s the message Myat Noe wants others to understand. “To stay fit, I think the main thing is to eat healthy food and work out regularly. ”

Myat Noe is very food conscious too and mostly cooks at home. She avoids oily food and eats a lot of greens, fruits and drinks a lot of water. She avoids eating too much in the evenings and doesn’t eat that much rice because it makes her gain weight. “In modeling, people say there is pressure to be thin, but for me, the pressure is more to be fit.”

Her favorite fitness tip is juicing with apple and carrot juice. “I have a book on different types of juices that are good for different parts of the body. Like carrot, ginger and lemon are good for the eyes,” she says.

She avoids sprite or coke, and limits her sugar intake, although sometimes she indulges in cake, but is quick to add,”just a little.”

Does she share her life with a special someone? “No, not right now. To be single is more cool. You can go out, hang out with friends and don’t need to report to your boyfriend,” she says, adding that children is in the future, but her priority right now is work, friends and traveling.

screen-shot-2016-10-07-at-7-56-06-pmHer all-time favorite place is Rih Lake, a heart-shaped lake located in Chin State. “There are so many places in Myanmar and abroad that I want to travel,” she says.

At the moment, she is learning English, but it hasn’t been easy. “I try, but it’s hard,” she says, giggling.

Originally published on Balance Magazine (in print only) in July 2016

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