Winter Swan - Chapter 147
Two years later at a TV studio for the show “One” Norway.
“Hello, everyone. We are here today to interview the world-famous model Silje Kim. Oh, there she is, walking out. Do you see her? She has arrived right on time for her interview. The audience is turning around to get a glimpse of her. Yes, that’s right. Beautiful long black hair, calm black eyes, exotic features, and a gorgeous body. She was one of the top Asian models in New York until recently when she retired after getting married. She wrote an autobiography titled ‘The Swan’ which is receiving enormous attention from the public. In her book, Silje Kim talks about the terrible racism she experienced in her youth, going through an abortion as a teenager, and moving to New York to become a successful model. Her candidness has captured her audience’s attention and ‘The Swan’ is currently the number one bestseller in Norway. Her writing is considered to be excellent and sensitive, to her fans’ delight. The public is very impressed with Silje Kim’s courage and honesty. So here comes the author…”
All the cameras shone on her as she sat down on the chair calmly.
“Hello, nice to meet you. I am Silje Kim.”
She spoke in perfect Norwegian and the interviewer studied her carefully. Today, Silje was wearing a clean-cut white blouse and a black skirt. She looked elegant yet strong at the same time.
Her eyes looked determined and the interviewer asked his first question.
“Thank you for agreeing to this interview today. You are the talk of the town throughout all of Norway. Your new book, ‘The Swan’ is known to be an autobiography. Is this correct?”
“Yes. ‘The Swan’ is a true story based on my life.”
“Your book talks about sensitive subjects. People are shocked to hear that such severe racism and bullying occurred, especially in Norway. Is it really true that you experienced what you wrote in your book?”
“I agree that Norwegians are peace-loving, logical, and fair people.”
Silje started her answer tactfully before emphasizing the next words.
“But I think that there are always exceptions. There is no such thing as 100% and making such an assumption would be a huge mistake. Even now, you cannot presume that what I went through as a youth isn’t still happening elsewhere in this country. I would like to take this opportunity to show my condolences to the terrible shooting that occurred in Norway recently. I realize that my book may cause pain to some people, but I wrote it hoping that people would become more aware.”
Silje’s voice was serene and the interview nodded as he asked, “You were working as a successful model in her prime in New York when you suddenly announced your retirement. What made you end your career and write this book?”
“There wasn’t anything special that made me do it. I put everything I had as a model in my career, and one day, I realized that I wanted to start the next chapter of my life.”
“And writing was your next passion? Have you always wanted to write about yourself? Even when you were modeling?”
“No. While I was modeling all over the world, I was so busy that it never occurred to me that I wanted to write. But when I decided to retire, I started to look for what else I could do with my life. Instinctively, writing came to my mind. I remembered that a teacher in high school once told me that I should write about my story someday. So one snowy day in New York, I started to write.”
“And that writing turned into ‘The Swan’. In your book, you disclosed that you were adopted from Korea and when you were still in high school, a terrible thing happened and you had to leave Norway. You ended up going to New York. Was it because that is where your adoptive parents’ relative lives?”
“Yes. Aunt Skina. She is a relative of my adoptive parents. I worked at Aunt Skina’s vegetable store for almost two years.”
“You sold vegetables and flowers? So were you street-casted like that famous model from Russia?”
“Not flowers. I worked at Saint Mark’s Place where only vegetables were sold. I worked 365 days a year with no days off. We opened early in the morning every day. I did get street casted once in a nightclub, but I didn’t take it seriously at the time. I actually became a model by starting from the bottom.”
At her honest words, the interviewer laughed, and they talked a bit more about her modeling career. Afterword, he asked her another question, “In your book, you mentioned that you wanted to meet your birth mother in Korea. Have you met her yet?”
After a deep breath, Silje answered slowly, “No. Unfortunately, I never got to meet her. I found out that she has a family with children, and she didn’t wish to meet me. I, of course, had to respect her wishes. So, I am fine with it.”
The interviewer asked curiously, “Don’t you feel disappointed? Don’t you want to meet your birthmother, even if it’s just once?”
“Of course I do, but my birthmother has her own family that she wants to focus on. I understand and respect her, and I agree that this is the best decision. Besides, I already have a mother. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my adoptive mother in Norway. She never abandoned me, even in the worst situation. I don’t feel hurt anymore because my adoptive parents never gave up on me. I like to think that I am a very blessed person. I have a wonderful family, a good modeling career, and a new life as writer Silje Kim.”
As the interview continued, it was finally time to talk about the most scandalous subject in her book.
“The most controversial topic in your book was your high school life. The violent bullying has shocked everyone who read your story. And the story about falling in love with an heir to a powerful family and being forced to have an abortion… Is it really true?”
“Yes, it’s all true.”
Silje answered calmly, but the audience gasped in shock.
The interviewer, the cameramen, and even the directors seemed stunned at her honesty, but ignoring their shock, Silje continued quietly.
“Until I wrote this book, I felt like I was living in a dark place with a terrible secret. Now that I have revealed it to the world, I feel free. I no longer feel the burden, and I finally am happy. I see the world differently now and I feel much braver. I think I will now be able to live my life to the fullest.”
“So you are happy that your secret is no longer a secret?”
“Yes. I have done so many interviews in my life as a model, and every time I did, I always talked about the same thing. Being adopted from Korea and becoming a successful model. That was it and I never talked about what really mattered. The terrible part of my life… I felt like I was always lying, and I didn’t like that. Hiding never was my way. I like to face things head on.”
Silje laughed playfully, and the interviewer smiled and nodded.
“I agree. Being truthful, especially to yourself, is very important. Living in the darkness… You can never find happiness that way.”
“Now, may I ask if you have found a special someone for yourself? The rumor has it that you are dating a business tycoon…”
When the interviewer asked curiously, Silje smiled but answered firmly, “There isn’t anything I need to report from my personal life. When I do have good news, I will share it with everyone. As I have done before, I have no intention of hiding anything.”
“Oh, I see. Then I look forward to hearing them in the future. When you do have something to share, please come back for another interview! Now, I believe you are still living in New York, right? Will you ever come back to live in Norway?”
“With my book ‘The Swan’, I have reconciled with my painful past, but I am not ready to come back to Norway yet. I need to be honest with myself and the truth is that I am still not perfectly fine with that happened to me. My emotional scars haven’t healed yet so I do not want to return to Norway at this point in my life. Perhaps after more time has passed, I will be able to return.”
“Then let me ask you this: do you forgive those who caused you such pain?”
After a short silence, Silje smiled faintly and shook her head.
“No, and I am not ready to face them yet either. I refuse to, and I think I have every right to. I am no longer a little girl. I am a capable woman now. I was too young at the time, but now, I have choices. I am content with the way things are at this moment.”
She smiled gently, and everyone could see that Silje Kim was genuinely happy.