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Men On The Top – Kim Won Joong, Kim Tae Hwan, Park Sung Jin, Park Hyung Seop

Marie-Claire-July-2014

Kim Won Joong – Sid Vicious

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Although his filmography isn’t long, no one would deny he’s a top model. I thought he was living halfway in some kind of unreality. I mean, I thought he’d be one to even cut himself with a razor like Sid Vicious did on the way to a show. Yet, the real him doodles on his sneakers when he’s bored. His weirdness shows when he can listen to a song he likes more than 200 times a day, but he wants to get married soon and his dream is to have a stable life.

You seem very busy these days. Is right now the most shining moment of your youth?

I don’t know what I will go through in the future, but it does seem I’m going through the most interesting phase of my life. However, if I have fun even when I’m 30, even when I’m 40, won’t it be the most shining moment of life, regardless of my age?

You said in one interview that you didn’t think about being an entertainer in the future.

Many people seem to think that models are also entertainers. However, I have no desire to become a model turned actor or musician. I have this old fashioned fixed concept that a model must do modelling.

You seem to have a “ddolkki” [t/n: it's someone who struggle to follow common social rules to interact with others. I guess "unconventional" would fit in this context] side somehow. It seems that funky music would suit you better than classical or slow music.

My mind and my taste often change every now and then. And it’s the same when it comes to music. I listen to jazz, then at some point I listen to rock music. I have absolutely no knowledge about movies or music or arts, so I pick an album just by looking at the visual [used for the jacket]. So aren’t there moments when people think of me as “a weirdo”?

What have you been fascinating with lately?

“Helena” by My Chemical Romance. When I come across a song, I just keep replaying it and I listen to nothing else. What’s funny is that I can’t memorize the lyrics or the melody, even if I listen to it 200 times. It’s just background music.

Book, music, movie, if you were to choose one out of these three?

I really hate books. However, I hate reading on my smartphone when I’m all by myself or when I’m in a taxi or the subway, so I started reading books these days.

Which book are you reading right now?

I don’t know if you’ll laugh and ask me if I really read it, but it’s "상실의 시대" [t/n: the title in Korean means "Era of Loss". I assume he's talking about "Norwegian Wood" by Haruki Murakami]

Has being a model always been your dream?

My dream always changed. I think it changed more than ten times between being the President of ROK, a scientist, a math teacher, a designer. Before I became a model, my last dream was to be an architect.

Aren’t you majoring in modelling this year?

I had a few reasons to go to college and one of them was because I wanted to have a college diploma. When I was a kid, the fact that my parents didn’t have a big educational background was a bit embarrassing. I [?] even wrote fake student records once. It might be because of that that I wanted to go to college. I want to be dignified in front of my children later.

Do you want to get married?

I want to get married fast if it’s possible. The most important thing in my life is stability first and foremost.

Do you have a girlfriend right now?

I don’t.

What do you look at when you look at a woman?

At first, I do a full scan from head to toes. Then, as we keep seeing each other, I find out about her personality and what she likes. I like mature and calm women.

If you want to get married fast, you need to hurry up to meet someone. Women with younger men are the trend these days, what do you think?

My second girlfriend was five years older than me. I was 21 at that time, so I was okay with a woman being five years older than me. However, I’m 28 now, so I don’t think a woman five years older than me will do.

Well, the age gap between Yoo Ah In and Kim Hee Ae was more than ten years.

That’s because these two were special. I don’t think I’d be able to do it.

What was the best divergence of your life?

I stole once when I was in elementary school. I kept a lookout while my friend took coins out of a car. I was a kid, so I didn’t know, but it turned out that this place was a rental car company. When my friend took out the coins, we were caught by a man at this very moment. There was no scolding or screaming. Yet, this man told us to never do it again and gave us 2000 won. Of course, I never did it again.

What would you do if the friend you were supposed to meet say he/she will be 2 hours late?

What? What would I do? I’d go to a coffee shop or a DVDbang. When people hear the word “DVDbang”, a lot of them think it’s a dirty place, but there are many DVD-bangs that are clean and nice places. I watched the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” in a DVD-bang lately. The owner of the DVD-bang I go on a regular basis gives me movie recommendations.

How do you see yourself in 10 years?

I think I’ll have my family. And I’ll have a little baby. I don’t know where I’ll be, but I want to earn money to feed the people I love and protect them. While doing a job that I like.

Are you an adult now?

I feel like I’m an adult. I think I’m someone who knows the compromises being an adult means. In the movie “The Dreamers“, realistic people and unrealistic people become friends and all of them become dreamers, then something happens and the realistic one ends up going back to reality. Instead of being someone who only dreams, I’m someone who goes back to reality.

Kim Tae Hwan – River Phoenix

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Doing 13 shows during the 2014 S/S Paris and Milano collection is an amazing feat. A the 2014 F/W Milan collection, Kim Tae Hwan was the first Asian model to walk down the runway for Dsquared2. He’s at the blooming age of 23. Kim Tae Hwan was asked to portray River Phoenix because of his “blooming beauty”. Yet, there are many similar things about them. Like River Phoenix who said “Music is a whole oasis in my head”, he also loves music. Unlinke his peers who are immature and full of energy, he’s also a serious person.

For you, what being a “model” is about?

More than taking part actively into doing something, I think being a model is more about lending your body for someone to use it like a mannequin. If a model is excessively assertive, things won’t work out because everybody can’t be the boss.

Why did you become a model?

I wanted to find out how fashionable I can be. People are different according to the way they dress. I was curious of how fashionable I could be based on what I wear.

A model is someone who poses for pictures. Don’t you have any interest in photography?

I don’t. I’m not even good at taking pictures with my phone. I don’t use SNS. I created an account because they say it’s necessary for my job, but I don’t use it. Uploading pictures that must be pretty is something quite annoying for me.

You’re 23. It’s the blooming age. You still have a lot of time left, but is there something you’d like to achieve before the end of your 20′s?

I think I want to maintain a calm lifestyle. I’m living a shining moment of my life, so I’m not thinking about “burning” my youth or things like that. More than achieving something as a model, what I want to try is to establish my own company and create my brand. Also, I’ve been obsessed with music since middle school. I wanted to study music, but I had to give up on this dream because I became a model. However, I’ve started studying music composing again these days. I do it on my own.

Are you a good singer?

I can’t sing at all. I’m more interested in creating songs.

The song you’ve been obsessed with lately?

I like calm music based on a electronic sound. I like “Sky and Sand” by Paul Kalkbrenner these days. This song was played during the “Ami” show during the overseas collection last year I couldn’t hope to do even up to the moment I did the fitting session [?].

What do you do to have fun?

I partied a lot right after starting working as a model. When I don’t work these days, I just rest. Partying has become less fun for me. Working is more entertaining.

What do you do when you’re by yourself?

I listen to music. I’m a nocturnal person, so I can listen to music all night.

Don’t you watch movies?

I don’t like it. If I see something unpleasant, even if it’s just one thing, I can’t bear it. When I watch a movie or a drama, if there’s a scene I don’t like, I can’t watch it to the end.

You must love shopping since you’re a model.

It’s been a long time since I did some shopping. There’s nothing I really like. I don’t find that many things that I like in this world, so be it clothes or furniture, I want to create them myself.

It seems that you’re not the type to really express your feelings when you date someone.

I like protecting the other person more than being understood. More than being understood, I want to be understanding.

Body, hair, face, what’s the first thing you look when you see a woman?

Body, then her face.

So what kind of man are you?

I don’t really have mood swings. I don’t have things that make me very happy or that are too hard to handle. Instead of trying to change in vain the course of my life, I like living quietly. Instead of bottling up my emotions, I’d rather express them right away, so I can come off aggressive sometimes. I don’t know if it will be a bit embarrassing to say this, but I’m like the sea. I may look as still and quiet as the sea, but I can be scarily aggressive.

Park Sung Jin – James Dean

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Being the first Korean model to rank 27 on the models.com international list, Park Sung Jin has amazing activities. He was in New York as he was a model for the worldwide Calvin Klein campaign. He came back to Korea to spend the summer after being away for a long time. This summer, he’s living his passion for music. He’s the Asian model who did the most shows overseas and worked without taking a break, so it seems that he wants to relax a little . Following his heart with honesty, without reserve, just like James Dean.

I heard you came back from the US not long ago.

I’ve been working in the US for the past two years. I think my life has changed a lot since then. I mean, I was the first Asian model on the top models list and I even ranked 27th. I feel like these past two years are the most shining period of my life. After I started working overseas, my confidence went up as much as I felt like my life was the greatest in the world. I want to become someone who represents urban culture someday [t/n: techinally, he says "city's culture"]. It’s not a dream, it’s what my image will be.

You said urban culture?

I want to become someone who doesn’t just represent the fashion. I want to become someone who embraces and represents culture. I started working with a group called the Cohort. It’s a group made of artists who are producers, composers, and rappers. I worked with them on a song that should be released some time around next month.

Have you always been so interested in music?

While I’m sleeping, I can’t watch movies or dramas. These moments disappear of my life. However, I can always be with music when I’m washing up or when I’m sleeping. I even thought that I’d like to be a singer in my next life. Meeting people who think the same way made me start making music for real.

You like being a singer more than being a model these days?

I’m always proud to be a model, but being forced to wait over someone else’s choice is the frustrating part of this job. When it comes to music, there are many things that I can decide. I mean I can write the lyrics, I can choose the melody, I can do the rap.

What did you want to do before becoming a model?

I didn’t have a precise dream. I had this vague idea that I wanted to become a great person. Me getting a connection through an agency was by chance. After that, I started working more and more. At first, I hated being a model. Being judged on my face and body through pictures made me feel like I was a prostitute. However, my vision changed as time went by. Having a wonderful youth, wearing amazing clothes and having famous photographers capturing these moments… I think about how great it will be to show tnese pictures to my kid someday.

What do you think makes a good model?

Being good-looking and tall isn’t everything. Before that, it must be someone with charisma and who has a great aura. Like Park Hyeokgeose [t/n: the king who founded the Silla kingdom]. That’s how I feel.

You mean you were born from an egg?

No. I was a premature baby, but this is how I grew up. I’ve been studying arts and loving music since I was young. I’m someone who embraces any form of culture.

Do you have a girlfriend?

Don’t men usually have an ideal type when they’re young? I met a woman who is totally my ideal type. It was great how she was exactly like my ideal. However, I don’t want to reveal precisely what my ideal type is. I don’t want to give a description of my girlfriend’s looks.

What do you like so much about your girlfriend?

She’s good-hearted and she thinks exactly like me. We respect and admire each other. And it seems that my girlfriend doesn’t have much experience in dating.

You smoke a lot. Which one would you choose between alcohol, cigarettes and women?

If the woman is the girlfriend I’m dating right now, I’d choose the girlfriend. I want to spend my life with her. I don’t really care about alcohol.

What is the thing do you definitely want to achieve before the end of your 20′s?

Earning 10 billion won.

Is it possible?

Maybe. If I keep the same mindset I have today.

What do you want do with so much money?

I must feed my family. I’ll probably be a father in ten years and have a family to take care of. I want us to have a great life.

If you were suddenly able to have an hour of free time once your schedule is over, what would you do?

I’d go to a coffee shop nearby and write lyrics. When I have free time these days, I write lyrics. I put the things I want to say into lyrics. More than love stories, I want to talk about how I’ve come this far. I also want to swear at the people I hate.

Isn’t it dangerous?

I’m used to people gossing about me. People who like me will keep liking me anyway. Those who can relate to what I say about the people I don’t like might find some comfort. I don’t want to live by making compromises. There must also be stubborn people like me in this world, right?

To be honest, I’ve been curious about something since the moment you walked into the studio. Why do you wear a leather jacket in summer?

I don’t like wearing short sleeves even in summer. It’s like… I hate what doesn’t look formal.

Park Hyung Seop – Elvis Presley

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Park Hyung Seop, the first Korean model and the second Asian one to be a model fo the Neil Barret global campaign. Him being liked by foreign designers is the result of his efforts. He clenched his teeth and created this body in order to develop his small frame and become a model. Even today, he’s still making efforts to become a good model. This is the most shining time of his life. Park Hyung Seop who has expectations about his future will keep on striving forward. Just like Elvis Presley’s music, quick and fresh.

Why did you become a model?

Some time when I was in my third year of middle school, I thought models like Lee Soo Hyuk, Kim Young Kwang, Whee Hwang were very charismatic. That’s why I attended a model academy and I debuted when I was 19. I remained unknown for about 3 or 4 years and it’s only been two years since things really took off.

The time you spent as an unknown model was quite long.

Why was it so long? Because I was ugly. With this height, my weight can be nothing but 58kg. I was born with a small bone structure. When I went to the fitting sessions for the Seoul Collection, tight clothes were too large for me, so I wasn’t able to participate at one show. That’s why I worked out for a year. I ate 8 meals a day and I took 5 packs of proteins supplements each day. I built some muscles and I weighted up to 70kg. This time, the clothes were too small for me. So I had to lose weight again. The body I have today is something only created through efforts.

Do you feel like your face is changing a little as you’re getting older?

Each year is different. I feel like my face is ciseled like the face of a statue and I like it. I wanted to be this way. I feel like I’m changing according to what I had imagined and dreamed of.

You recently became the main model of the Neil Barrett campaign. It’s the second time for an Asian model and it’s the first time for a Korean model. What did they like about you?

I can tell you precisely what worked at my advantage. I think there’s no other face like mine. When I was a rookie, I was told a lot that I looked like Lee Soo Hyuk-sunbaenim. Since I have shown my own style, I don’t hear this that much now. I’m not good-looking. My looks are special. There’s no image like mine, so that’s why I have no rival.

I heard you were cast because Neil Barrett saw you on SNS.

That’s why I’m more active on social networks. Many designers and foreign celebrities that could help me follow me. SNS allow me to promote myself.

What do you when you’re not working?

My lifestyle is quite boring. Lately, I’ve been studying English to work overseas. What I had on my schedule before our meeting finished early, so I had the time to do some crossfit. Ah, and I really love watching movies. I’ve seen almost every movie playing right now. Movies are a small pleasure of my life.

Do you like alcohol, cigarettes?

I drink beer. To be honest, I don’t really know a lot about alcohol. I’m still uncomfortable with drinking wine and liquors. I’ve already smoked cigarettes, but I’m not a smoker.

What do you do when you go on a date?

Instead of going to a special place to do something, I simply like the fact of us being together. Spending the day at home, cleaning together, doing grocery shopping, cooking and eating together, I like this kind of dates. I don’t really like spending energy and traveling around.

What kind of women do you find sexy?

A woman with a brain is sexy. Someone with charisma is sexy.

Which physical feature in a woman is the most important for you?

Hips! I like a woman with a nice backside. Of course, she must also have a pretty face, though.

What is the thing you want to do the most before the end of your 20′s?

I want to be crazy in love. I don’t want a love that cools down right away. I think you can only experience this kind of passionate love when you’re in your 20′s.


Original article: Marie Claire
Translation: @onesunnylady – www.thesunnytown.com
Tags: interview, model
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