They show chemistry with clothes during photo shoots or fashion shows. And they wear clothes for any gender, they’re asexual. Women aren’t the only ones who can be muses. We met four fascinating male models.
Nam Ju Hyeok
Nam Ju Hyeok legally became an adult last year. It’s been 4 months since his debut. He’s a rookie who politely greets anyone walking into the studio. His face looks young, but his body of 187cm built through exercising makes him already a strong man. Don’t judge him only on his shy expression, his cute and pretty face. When he wants to say something, he knows how to break it down and speak neutrally about himself. As he did the things he wanted such as taking part in famous designers’ shows and exclusive photo shoots for licensed magazines, it seemed that he was floating above the clouds and he was serene. He was down-to-earth. Still, you can often get fooled by his face. Like should we have prepared candies or chocolate instead of coffee? The regrets can’t be helped.
You debuted through the SONGZIO Homme show not long ago.
The hyungs I saw in the magazines looked so charismatic. If it wasn’t for me growing suddenly taller by 30 centimeters when I was in middle school, I wouldn’t have dreamed of being a model. After living in Busan, I moved to Sowon in Kyunggi-do when I was in high school and I went to a modeling academy. In the end, I debuted. For my first show, my mind was nearly filled with excitement and anxiety. I was so out of my mind that I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. Even now, I still feel stress and fear. I think these feelings will never disappear, so I don’t dwell on it too much. I got a lot of work since the beginning, so I keep the “let’s work hard” mindset because I don’t want to bring any harm to those who believed in me.
I heard from your stylist-sunbae that you came to the set 1 hour early.
It’s not like that every time. I live in Kyunggi-do, when I hurry because I don’t want to be late, I arrive a little bit early. The photo shoot can absolutely not go on when the model is late. I only try my best to do the basics such as being on time or taking care of my body and my skin.
You’re probably always the youngest on a set. Aren’t you afraid to face people?
It’s probably because we get to meet new people each season, but I’m not afraid and I actually enjoy meeting new people. I like how I can express my personality when I work alone. When I work with other models, I get to learn different kind of things, so it’s a useful experience.
What do you when you’re not working?
This year, I’m preparing to take the college entrance exame. When I have time, I watch movies. I saw “About Time” recently and I thought that I should live every moment to its fullest. I debuted not long ago and I often heard that male models’ careers don’t last long. I want to experience everything while I’m working as a model.
You don’t talk about dating, so it seems that you don’t have a girlfriend.
When I’m asked what my ideal type is, I always answer “it’s about the first feeling”. It’s definitely not about the face or the body. It’s hard to explain, but it’s about the impression I get from the signals she gives me.
Is there something you’d like to try?
There are people I don’t know in the fashion world. There are people who don’t know me. I wans to work with all of them.
Kim Tae Hwan
Anyone has their moments when they want to go back to their dens. However, Kim Tae Hwan said that he never felt overwhelmed. He feels no stress in front of the camera or on the runway. It’s not because he’s confident or because he’s used to it. It’s because he can control his feelings. He has an ideal, but he doesn’t have a role model. Although he only wants to be himself and not become like someone else, he has many dreams. He wants to be an international model and he wants to be a composer and a designer. He seemed strong like the lead character of Hong Kong Noir, but he was boiling through this cool temperature.
Didn’t you want to become an idol in a big agency?
I was 185cm-tall when I was in my third year of middle school. It was probably because I was slim, but my interest for fashion was natural. Models seemed more beautiful than actors or singers, so I wanted to try that. I did taekwondo when I was young and I keep my body in shape with fitness now. I maintain the proper balance between my bone structure and my muscles so I don’t look too thin. I’ve been doing this job on a full-scale for 2 years, but I still feel that taking care of my body is important.
You were a part of the 2014 S/S and F/W collections shows in Paris and Milan. How was it?
Compared to the fashion shows in Korea, the atmosphere was flexible. I remember of every show I took part in, but I’m especially happy about the fact that I was the first Asian model to walk the runway for the Dsquared2 show in Milan. Twins designers Dean and Dan were friendly to me, so I wasn’t shy and I had a great time. Except for that, what I specifically remember is that Asian models have a big interest in fashion and they express their own style. On the contrary, Western models are more focused on the “show” rather than the “fashion”. The way they dress is more of an ordinary style than I thought it would be. It was a valuable time for me to evaluate what my potential is.
A few years ago, “Infinite Challenge” had the special calendar episode and models stood out like high-priced accessoiries. Not long ago, there was the “Milan vs. Jamaica” episode and they were personally on the model side of things. I think that being a model is a job with various aspects.
They said they needed models who have experience in working overseas, so Kim Young Kwang-sunbae and I who are in the same agency filmed an episode of “Infinite Challenge”. I don’t think modeling is something you can do just because of your body proportions. If someone can show their own personality, anyone can be a model. The “Infinite Challenge” members, Noh Hong Chul included, didn’t win their challenge, but didn’t this help people to understand our job? I don’t know if it’s a passive existence to be judged only on your appearance. I hope the concern will be on models who have their own style and their own voice.
I studied all your pictures and there’s absolutely no picture where you smile.
When I’m expressionless, I feel that I know how to make it work for the picture to come out well no matter the angle. However, I have no confidence about smiling for pictures. To be honest, even when I’m surprised to the point my heart would stopped, it wouldn’t show on my face. People around me say that my face doesn’t betray any of my feelings. Being clumsy in the way I express my emotions is a worry for me. It’s nothing to complain about for my personal life, but it’s not good for my job. Even if it’s just acting, I must show an expression that reveals humanity.
What is your ultimate goal?
You might be sick of hearing it, but I want to say it. I want to become the best model ever.
Jang Ki Yong
A young boy giving a cold impression opens the door and walks in. He doesn’t speak much during a first meeting. When left alone, he listens to music or sit by himself which doesn’t seem to bother him. However, when you talk to him, his friendly personality allows him to keep up with the discussion and show a lot of aegyo. It seems that he’d also be a good actor because his face shows nuances and expressiveness. In real life, he’s actually very interested in acting and singing. Being a model was the starting point for his desire to broaden his expression spectrum. A gem that wants to shine through its own ability and not through clothes, this is Jang Ki Yong who has been a model for two years.
You received the fashion model award at the 9th Asia Model Festival Awards ceremony in 2014.
I was very happy. When I first heard about this award, I asked my agency CEO what I should do to get this award. Isn’t this by doing various activities? It’s a priceless reward for me. There might be an exception, but being a fashion model is a job with an expiration date, so I wonder if this is an award I would have been able to receive if it wasn’t for now?
Are you majoring in acting?
I’m really interested in singing, dancing and acting. My college major is about things related to musicals. I’m changing path to get into acting. As I was thinking about what expressing yourself through your body was, I thought modeling was a suitable answer. When I moved from Ulsan to Seoul, I was determined and I looked for an agency. The first time I walked the runway, I was so nervous that all I could think about was “do not fall!”. The stage was longer than I thought it was. I felt like that whole world was looking at me. I still get nervous, but I’m able to enjoy the lighting or the music now.
When people say Jang Ki Yong, the first thing that comes to mind is the photo shoot(s) with you smiling while you had braces.
It was when I was getting my teeth straightened. I wondered if it would be okay and I just went. I’m relatively okay with smiling in front of a camera. I think it brings out this feeling that only I can give.
You smiled a lot in IU’s music videos for “The Red Shoes” and “Friday”. Did IU choose you to be the lead actor?
I also thought it was strange, so I asked IU why she chose me. She said they needed a face that would bring out a fresh feeling. It was fair enough since I have this bright and cheerful image, just like you see it for the photoshoot where I have my braces. Shooting a video is different from modeling. It was a new and interesting experience. I found myself thinking that I’d like to do some acting on any kind of stage or for any genre. Not long ago, my agency organized a collab with musicians Lovelybut and Eyekiss and we recorded a song together. I realized how much fun it was.
The weather is stil cold. Aren’t you cold with what you’re wearing?
So does it mean I look like I am? I wear layers of clothes, even long johns. I have a lot of clothes, but I’m not really interested in the way to wear them. My summer uniform is usually a t-shirt with skinny jeans. If my outfit can express fairly how my body is, it’s enough for me. I don’t even wear accessoiries. I hope people would see me more than the fashion I wear.
Is there something you’d like to accomplish this year?
More of “me”. I want to show more a good image of “me”. I want a big opportunity to do it.
Park Hyeong Seop
When he’s sitting on a chair and speaks, he’s a regular man in his early 20’s, but when the music flows and the lighting goes dim, he’s the model who flirts with the camera. His poses and his attitude overflow with confidence. Being a model is a job made for him just like wearing a piece of clothes. It’s his dream and his future. He doesn’t know about tomorrow. However, even 10 years from now, there will definitely be something for him. Right now, in this moment, he’s living his life to its fullest.
I heard you went on a special trip not so long ago.
I spent a month in France for the 2014 F/W Paris Fashion shows. It was my first time working overseas, it was my first trip overseas, so it was meaningful in many ways. I remember the shows for Dries Van Noten and Berluti. Closing the Kenzo show is an unforgettable memory. I worked for 15 days. For the remaining days, I visited Paris and the suburbs. Working over there was similar to working in Seoul, but I feel like I got to experience something different. I want to build my career and take part in every collection in Paris and Milan next season.
You seem to have a bright personality and have good social skills.
When I was a kid, I somehow had a big interest in the entertainment industry. Thankfully, I grew a lot when I was in high school. And modeling caught my attention. I went to a model academy. Doing photo shoots and being on runway made me figure out step by step what being a model is about. I went to Paris and the fashion market is growing fast for Chinese models who are receiving attention. I want to be recognized for “me”, regardless of my nationality. Modeling is a challenge of consciousness I can do.
When I first saw you, I thought you were 1m90. It might be because your face is small, but you seem taller than other models.
I’m 1m86, but a lot of people see me taller than this. My weight is 64kg and I want to reach 70kg. I’m naturally thin and that doesn’t please me. One must be thin in a moderate way. I think giving off a manly vibe is a good thing. These days, I mostly work out to train my muscles. I think I must work on my body to show more diversity in the way I express myself.
When you walked into the studio, you had a bling bling “rock chic” style. Do you usually dress like this?
I like the hip-hop denim style which my jacket shows. I also like wearing big accessoiries. It’s fun to mix and match clothes that give off a complete different vibe separately. As I mix different genres, I’m finding my own style. Although I’m a model now, but I want to be a creator in the future. Since I like fashion, I’m interested in designing.
What are you interested in these days?
I’m improving my English so I’ll be able to talk more than a hour with foreigners because I’m preparing to stand on the international stage.
Original article: Nylon