Sunny Burns
Chitchat with Sunny
The Piyawan Interview
Friday, June 17 | Explore

Piyawan Chitsamran (ปิยวรรณ จิตสำราญ)หนึ่งในสาวไทยที่ประสบความสำเร็จมากที่สุดคนหนึ่งในวงการนางแบบระดับสากล และปัจจุบันใช้ชีวิตอยู่ในมหานครนิวยอร์กกับชีวิตที่เธอใฝ่ฝัน เมื่อเร็วๆนี้ผมได้มีโอกาสพบกับเธอที่ European company มันทำให้ผมคิดว่าช่างเป็นโอกาสที่ดีมากๆ ที่ได้พูดคุยกับเธอเกี่ยวกับประสบการณ์ต่างๆของเธอ ไม่ว่าจะเป็นวัฒนธรรมไทย การมีแฟนเป็นชาวต่างชาติ และแน่นอนการพูดภาษาอังกฤษของเธอ


Sunny: What inspired you to go to New York?
Piyawan: I was scouted by an agency in Los Angeles. After working there for some time I eventually decided to move to New York because there is so much opportunity here. The freedom is great as well. I can really do anything I want! Also, there are people here from all over the world. It’s so inspiring to be surrounded with so many different kinds of people.

SB: Many Thai girls are scared to leave Thailand. Were you scared?

PC: I was never scared to leave my home. I knew it was going to be very difficult to speak the language, and surviving here is very different  from surviving in other places. I went to stay in Australia for almost a year and Hong Kong for a while as well. It’s tougher here to get established and take care of yourself.


SB: Many Thai girls are not allowed to go overseas because of their family. What would your advice be?

PC: Yeah, that’s normal. My family never wanted me to go anywhere alone. I never stayed over night at my friend’s house when I was young. The way that I convinced them to let me come here is by telling them the plan that I had, how I was going survive, and what I would be able to accomplish. Tell them why you want to go overseas, if it’s good and useful enough I believe your family will let you do that. Tell them and make them believe that you will do what you intend. Normally Thai parents what you to be an accountant, engineer, doctor or work for the family business.


SB: What does your family think about you becoming a successful international model and was there any obstacles you had to overcome?
PC: I understand why parents tell us to have these kinds of jobs. They want us to have a stable life , a stable job, and good money. I know I can study and become a doctor if I want. I will have a good life and good money but the truth is I don’t want to be doctor. I have my dream career and I’m happy to do what I like. I show them the job I’m doing and that I can make money and survive without them being worried. Of course it’s not a stable job if you compare it with a Doctor or accountant. Everyday I’m improving my career by having my model school and I’m teaching in university. I have a lot of experience now and can make that work for me.

SB: How has living in New York helped your English?

PC: A lot! I think because I use it everyday. I still talk or FaceTime in Thai with my family in Thailand but everyday that you leave your apartment you have to talk in English. They won’t understand if you talk in Thai 5555. I try to do as much as I can in New York. Going out and meeting new friends or watching films - that helps a lot.

SB: What was your biggest problem with your English? How did you overcome it?

PC: I think biggest problem Thai people have is that they are shy to use English. If you don’t use English a lot its difficult to improve your pronunciation. We don’t use it all the time in Thailand. Sometimes I went to visit my family for a few months, and when I return back to New York, my English is not as good. The way I overcame this is just to push through my fears of saying things wrong. English speakers don’t care about your pronunciation as much as you think. They look up to people who learn such a different language. I always tell my close friends that If I say something wrong, please correct me. I really want to speak English better. I have so many stories about this. Sometimes I have to say things a few times until they understand but they don’t mind!

SB: Why are you so confident?

PC: I'm actually a shy person, but I try to break the ice and be friendly. I told myself all the time If I’m not confident, it will be more difficult. So I do the opposite!

SB: Has living overseas changed you as a person?

PC: Yes! A lot! I learned about being responsible. I have to cook, I have wash, and I have to stand on my own two feet. I can’t just give up and run home to see my mom and have her console me. Its too far to go back home. Takes about 20 hrs to get here. I came so far so I won’t give up.

SB: I see you have a faring boyfriend. Is there a big different between dating a farang and Thai?
PC: Yes there is. Mostly the difference in language and culture. For example, sometimes he doesn’t understand why we have to do so much for our parents, but he always supports these parts of Thai culture. Sometimes I use simple words in the wrong way, and can upset him since I don’t know another softer way to say it. Sometimes he uses words that I think are so strong but he doesn’t mean them in that way. We just have to make sure that we talk and don’t react to some words that might be a mistake. I don’t know if all farang guys are like this, but mine is just easy to get along with. He is very understanding of my culture and patient with me.

SB: How different in the fashion industry compared to Bangkok and New York?
PC: It’s a huge industry here. So many models and so many clients. Everyone has a lot of choices. We have to be very professional. In Thailand I see people come late to jobs and the clients are unprofessional sometimes as well. And they don’t want to change it!

SB: What's been your proudest moment as a model?

PC: Actually, I am proud of all the jobs I work even though they’re not all big brands. People do their best no matter what in New York. My proudest moment is when the client is happy with my work.

SB: What would be your advice for people wanting to go overseas for a different experience?
PC: I think it is all about preparation. Don’t think too much! Open your mind. Learn and plan as much as you can. Focus on what you came here for. Don’t be scared about using English because people don’t care as much as you think.

SB: What do you miss about Thailand?

PC: I miss family. My mom, my Dad, and my Brother. My friends too. Thai food and the beach! I would also like to be able to do my modelling class more often as well, but at least I am there once a year for that.

You can find Piyawan Chitsamran on instagram @themodelmodel

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