São Paulo, Brazil
Miss Korea 2013
Miss Earth 2013
(Miss Earth - Fire)
Height: 173 cm
"Water is a major component of all life on Earth; save water, save life."
Catharina Choi Nunes (Hangul: 최송이; born January 24, 1990) is a South Korean model who won the title of Miss Earth Korea 2013. Catharina was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil. Her mother is Korean and her father is Half Spanish and Half Portuguese born in Brazil.
Describe your childhood growing years:
When I was 8 to 13 years old, I was in Brazil. My parents were already separated and I was living only with my mom. She worked all day to assure me a good life and education, and she did! I went to school at mornings and had all other courses during evening. She kept me busy with language courses, swimming lessons, drama classes, and volleyball. During weekends I went to see my dad, we went to the beach, and cooked amazing barbecues. During Sundays, I would go to church with him or with my mom (which I preferred, because all my friends were there too). During summer vacation, half the time I travelled with my mom, and half time I was playing in my uncle’s farm with my dad. I can say I had a really happy childhood.
What lessons did you learn from your childhood?I learned that respect is everything – you need to respect nature, family, friends, and the people around you. Respect attracts respect. I learned that if you want to have a great future, you have to try to be great in whatever you do in the present.
Any special facts or story about your family?My mom is Korean and my dad is Half Spanish and Half Portuguese born in Brazil. I was born and raised in Brazil, and I have a dual nationality.
What is the most unusual thing you have ever done?I never thought about becoming a miss or even modeling. I always thought it was too out of my league. I was a normal student in Brazil, studying and working part time. Never met a Miss before, it was out my reality, too amazing to be true.
What is your most memorable moment?When they called my name in Miss Korea’s stage and I saw my mom’s eyes in tears. She has been through so much, and her only daughter is Miss Korea.
What is your environmental advocacy and why did you choose this?
The garbage patches forming in the oceans. Not only the pieces of plastic that we can see are hurting the marine animals, such as turtles (that often mistake plastic bags for jelly fish), mammals, and birds, which are being strangled with plastic rings. It is also the microplastics (the tiny bits of plastic that can’t always be seen by naked eye) that are blocking the sun from reaching the planktons and algae, hurting the whole marine food web. So I feel duty-bound to speak about this, because a lot of people don’t know how much their habits can harm the marine life, and I know that if they understand and learn how to enjoy nature without leaving waste behind, a lot can be done.
What makes you proud of the country you are representing?
I’m really proud to represent Korea because it is a country that changed from being one of the poorest countries in the world into a major economy in nearly 30 years. This happened even though it is small in size compared to other countries, has almost no natural resources, and has always suffered from overpopulation.
What can you promote about your country?
I think the Korean treasure is its people. We are determined, diligent, hardworking people. We teach the young to respect the elders, we treasure family, we are warmhearted, and good hosts.