At the age of 12, Phajaranat Nobantao was sent to temple school. He spent the next six years of his life as a Buddhist monk.
It was during his time as a monk that he “started to act like a girl, talk like a girl and become more interested in girlie stuff like make-up.” Although he lived under strict rules, he secretly met with four other friends and did ‘girlie’ things together. This group of friends even started to take contraceptive pills together to develop breasts.
Inspired by the supermodel Yui Phetkanha, Nobantao decided to pursue a career in modeling. After 12 meetings with Yui, he finally convinced her to help him to teach her how to model. He was mentored for three months before going out into the modeling industry on his own.
Now, she goes by Mimi Tao and is a regular star on the red carpet. She is considered one of the most successful and in-demand fashion and lingerie models in Thailand.
Although she was met with rejection after rejection, she continued to strive for her dreams and build up her name. Eventually, after landing smaller shows and commercials, her name spread and she landed her first job.
Since then, her career has taken off. However, modeling is not something Mimi wants to do for the rest of her life. She started modeling to pay off all her mother’s debt.
She said, “No one knows the future. I might go back to being a monk once I don’t have anything else to worry about… Sometimes I think that was the ideal life for me.”