By Kassie Gormley
Being a model wasn’t always the dream for ONE Championship ring girl Lee Jina. Coming from the rural outskirts of Andong in South Korea, the then-farm girl saw it ideal for her to find a steady job to support herself and help out her family. She would work at Shinhan Bank right after studying Accounting, Law, and Economics at the Andong National University, but she would later discover something more beyond a desk job.
In 2007, Jina went out on a limb and pursued modeling in a pretty cut-throut Korean environment. She would later slay it, even winning a bikini contest for famed men's magazine Maxim only to land a gorgeous spread there. "At first, my parents hated that I started modeling because a banker is a more steady job and modeling is not sustainable. Now, my parents like it because I’m good at it,” she tells ABS-CBN Lifestyle.
But Jina didn’t stop there. A friend convinced her to try DJ-ing, which she smoothly tried her hand in, too. Now, she is one of the fastest rising female celebrity DJs in South Korea—a superstar on social media too with 570k+ followers on Instagram. “When the crowd cheers for me, I love it! I can’t explain the feeling but it really feels good when people love me. They cheer for me and I cheer for them. It’s a really good energy,” Jina, who looks up to Martin Garrix, explains her glee on the job.
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Jina's best laurel yet would be getting a job as a ring girl for Asia’s largest mixed martial arts promotion, ONE Championship. While others saw it as a badge of honor, she found it as a pivotal career moment. Jina debuted in 2016 even winning that year's Ring Girl Of The Year plum.
“I didn’t expect anything. I was interested in it but I didn’t think I’d be good at it because I’m kind of small,” now one of ONE Championship's most recognized faces recalls.
Jina's job requires her to model for the organizaton's many events, keeping them excited from one round to another. She maintains her ring-ready figure by keeping a healthy mind and body, with the following as her main secret. "I walk a lot! I try to walk at least 30 minutes a day, every day. I meditate every day, too!"
As the Dawn Of Heroes happens on the night of August 2, Jina is keen to be excellent at her job anew.
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Photographs by the author