Choi Han-bit, a transgender contender in the Super Model Contest 2009, says she was at first afraid and worried because she got so much public attention, but now she has decided to cherish the warm support she got and take everything else one step at a time. The 23-year old is a graduate of the School of Dance at the Korean National University of Arts.
Choi passed the preliminaries of the Super Model Contest 2009 at the SBS Hall in Seoul on Tuesday and now competes in the final round on Sept. 25. The final round brings awards for the top finishers, but all finalists qualify as professional models. In a telephone interview with the Chosun Ilbo on Wednesday, she said, "I dreamt of becoming a model from when I was very young. The message on the screen of my cell phone reads, 'I am a model,' and after the operation I started preparing to become one. I thought it was a dream that could never come true, but I'm very happy about where I stand at the moment."
Her biggest supporters have been her parents. When Choi decided to undergo gender reassignment surgery, they encouraged her, saying it is better to live with confidence than to hide from your nature and end up with regrets. "When I called my parents after the contest, they told me I did very well but I should stay humble as bigger obstacles are yet to come," she said.
"I don't want to be center of pure gossip and media hype," she said. "I will try my best to be a true professional model. If I can make a contribution to fighting prejudice against transgender individuals, that is the most I can ask for."