BANGKOK — From obscurity in a coastal Thai orphanage, a 13-year-old girl named Pink has become an Internet hero.
All she had to do was say "no" to a life with tabloid queen Kim Kardashian.
Kardashian grew infatuated with the teenage girl while visiting an orphanage called Home and Life on a TV shoot in Thailand.
But the kids had no clue who she was, the manager Bhudit Maneejak tells GlobalPost.
That made Kardashian's offer to adopt Pink — one of 14 girls living at the group home — all the more jarring.
"When Kim Kardashian came, she bluntly asked, 'Pink, you want to come live with me?' " Bhudit says. Kim gushed on camera for her show Keeping Up with the Kardashians: "I literally cannot stop thinking about her."
So goes the story of Pink, the impoverished Southeast Asian girl who rejected a new life of wealth and fame under Kardashian's maternal wing. As the Daily Mail reported it, Pink prefers to stay in her orphanage in lieu of becoming the daughter of Kardashian and eccentric rapper Kanye West.
The full story is a bit more complicated.
Pink is not an abandoned urchin desperate for a rich family to spirit her away to America.
For Pink, Kardashian's proposal was not so hard to turn down. Imagine a billionaire (who can't speak English) dropping by a U.S. group home, selecting his favorite teen and offering to become the child's dad. He might not find so many takers.
Kardashian's adoption offer was never taken all that seriously by the orphanage or by Pink herself, Bhudit says.
For starters, Pink is not an orphan. Pink's mother placed her at Home and Life after her father left the family, nudging them into poverty. But Pink's mom lives nearby and visits frequently.
Even if her mother were absent, Bhudit says, Pink simply isn't up for adoption. He also notes that outsiders like Kardashian aren't allowed to spend time with children unsupervised.
"Say adoption was an option. She still wouldn't live with Kim even for tons of money. Because her happiness will be greater here," Bhudit says. "I don't think she'd do well. A young kid going from Asia to America, that's too big of a change."
While filming their TV show, Kardashian and her family seemed to regard the group home's conditions as impoverished. (They were also staying at an $18,000-a-night resort at the time.)
But Pink's foster group home, established in the aftermath of a devastating 2004 tsunami, is not at all bleak. Housing 25 kids, it offers a quality of life common for kids across Thailand. They study and play by day. They sleep on mats under whirring fans at night. There's even an in-house coffee shop where Pink is training as a barista.
"The concept of our orphanage is, it's like a home," Bhudit says. "They grow up like kids in a normal family: studying, activities around the house, learning to be good people in the Thai way."
"When Kim came, it's not like she announced she's from a family of millionaires. The kids found out later," Bhudit says. "Later, when Pink realized Kim's a millionaire, she was indifferent. She was just happy to have met someone who's famous around the world."
This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.