Who is this girl that enchanted not Koreans and Brazilians but the whole world ?
Her name is Catharina Song-ee Choi, a dual citizenship beauty queen that blossomed at Miss Korea 2013 pageant. Half brazilian and half korean, she naturally caught attention, ending up among the 8 winners of the competition.
Let's know a little more about this blend of "samba and Eastern Tradition".
BCBlog: Who’s Catharina? How was your life before joining pageants?
My life was pretty normal, like every girl my age. I went to school at mornings, at afternoons I worked at my moms office, after that I tried to workout and have a healthy life, and at weekends I hanged out with my friends.
BCBlog: How many languages do you speak?
I speak four languages, Portuguese, Korean, English, and a little bit of Spanish. Well, since I can remember I speak Portuguese because I lived in Brazil and my dad is Brazilian, and Korean cause my mom always did her best to teach me the traditions and the language of her country. From the 5th grade I had Spanish in school, and English is a language I chose to study, because since I was five I was traveling all around the world with my mom, and I though it was important to communicate anywhere you go, so I took privet lessons with an American teacher, and I stayed 7 months living with a family in Canada.
BCBlog: Which countries have you been to? Have you ever been in South Korea before becoming Miss Korea Brazil?
I've been to Argentina, America a feel times, Canada, France, Switzerland, England, Hawaii and Korea a feel times too. I always visited my family here, and once I stayed for two months in a school, learning more about korean culture (music, typical food and dance).
BCBlog: Have you always dreamed to be a beauty queen?
I think deep down, every girl wants to be a beauty queen. But I never said it aloud, I never tough I could be one, first because my mom didn't like the idea, and second because they were so beautiful and perfect! Hahahaha it was out of my reality.
For my luck 2013 is the 50th anniversary of Korean immigration to Brazil, so they opened, for the first time in 25 years, a Miss Korea Brazil pageant. And my mom's friends started calling her all the time, telling her to put me in the contest. But she was so against it, it took them 3 months of calling her every day, to finally convince her. So at the last minute of the last day she called me in her office and asked me if I wanted to participate. I didn't think I was going to win, but I was so thankful to my mom's friends, and it was a "once in a life time" opportunity, so I accepted.
(The funny thing is, since I was the only Korean among my friends, they always called me Miss Korea! So I guess you have to be careful with your words!)
BCBlog: So your mother was hesitant about it. However, after your winning, how did she deal with it? Did she support you for Miss Korea pageant?
After we decided to compete she has been very supportive, and she still is. And winning in Brazil changed her into a pageant mom! Hahaha. She said she almost had a heart attack, when I wasn't called until the last time, here in Miss Korea.
BCBlog: Do you think that your mixed background, especially your darker skin, helped or harmed you during Miss Korea 2013 competition?
I was really worried about, since the second I decided to participate until I was crowned here in Korea. Koreans are known to be very traditional, and all past Miss Koreas were really white, and I didn't had time to prepare, since I decided to participate in the last minute, and it was summer in Brazil, I was tanning every day! In Brazil I felt a little prejudice growing up, I was the only "mixed Korean" I knew about. So I didn't know if it was going to help me or not, I just knew it wasn't something they could ignore. At the end I think it helped, my color kind of highlighted me hahaha.
BCBlog: How was this experience for you? What was your favorite moment during this contest?
It all happened so fast! It doesn't fell like reality yet. My favorite moment was when I was crowned, and I could see my mom from the stage, she was so happy! I've never seen her smile like that! It was all I wanted to give her, she was the one who really suffer prejudice for marring a Brazilian.
BCBlog: Many people outside of Korea watched the contest by the internet, and due to not comprehending the language, they did not understand what the title that you received was. Can you tell us about it?
My title is third place "Miss Korea from Overseas", before 2013 this title existed, but it wasn't third place, you didn't get a crown, so you wouldn't be part of the 7 Miss Koreas (now 8). So I guess I was really lucky!
BCBlog: What has changed in your life after Miss Korea?
Everything! Now I'm living by my self in Korea, I have my own apartment, people recognize me on the streets, and my work is to do interviews and take photos! Really fun! Hahaha
BCBlog: Recently, we saw you being interviewed on tv shows. Do you feel comfortable with this new life of interviews, photoshoots and stuffs?
Well to tell you the truth, I get a little nervous when it comes to interviews in Korean, hahaha. But it's all really fun! And I really enjoy taking photos, this is my favorite part. It helps that everyone is so nice with us, it really make us do our best.
BCBlog: How do you feel about becoming a person known and beloved by several people from different corners of the earth?
I fell really honored! During the 20 days of training, it was really hard, and a lot of the times I thought about giving up, and I would receive a message from someone around the world, and I couldn't believe it! I couldn't believe someone I've never seen in my life was cheering for me, and knew about my situation. To feel love and caring from a stranger, it gave me some much strenght! It made me really happy.
BCBlog: To conclude, the question that everyone wants to know: As lots of pageant fans fell in love with you, are you considering re-entering next year Miss Korea (if permitted) or maybe trying Brazilian pageants later?
This year I've learned that you can't really plan your future, but you have to take advantage of the opportunities live gives you. So who knows? I don't think I can re-enter Miss Korea, and I would love to participate in other pageants, but I don't know what other surprises life will give me here. I just hope to make the right choice.
BCBlog: Thank you very much Catharina. We are honored that you have granted us this interview and we wish you the best of luck in any path you choose to take in your life.
Thank you Herbert! And thanks everyone for the support, before, during and after de contest! And for all the cute messages! I won't disappoint you guys! Love you!