TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Lina Zhytielieva, a Ukrainian model who moved to Taiwan at a young age, recently shared the story behind her mother sending her to a foreign country by herself.
During an interview with the Taiwanese YouTube channel "Stop Kiddin' Studio" (不要鬧), the former resident of the Ukrainian city of Donetsk said she remembered seeing tanks and soldiers outside her windows when she was little. After Zhytielieva's father left the family when she was seven, her mother started working two jobs to support her and her sister, she explained.
Zhytielieva said her mother advised them to leave Ukraine if they got the chance. One day, her mother learned there was a job opportunity for models in Taiwan and decided to send her there, alone, despite her protests.
She said that she was very scared of moving to a foreign country and that her mother tried to convince her by promising Taiwan was safe and friendly toward foreigners. "You might hate me for doing this, but you will thank me later," she recalled her mother saying.
Although she cried a lot during the first few months in Taiwan, Zhytielieva said she was surprised to find that she could "walk on the streets without fear, and sleep without hearing sounds of gunshots." She added that Taiwan is exactly how her mother described it and that she now understands her mother's decision.
Zhytielieva said she often sends her paychecks from IMI Model Agency back to her family in Ukraine, whom she misses tremendously. She also promised to stay strong in a message to her mother, while stressing how much she loves her.