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Korea's next top model targets New York Fashion Week

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<span>Jung Ho-yeon hits the runway during the 2015 Fall/Winter Seoul Fashion Week at Dongdaemun Design<br />Plaza, in March last year. / Courtesy of Esteem</span><br /><br />
Jung Ho-yeon hits the runway during the 2015 Fall/Winter Seoul Fashion Week at Dongdaemun Design
Plaza, in March last year. / Courtesy of Esteem

This is the fifth in a series of interviews on Korea's leading models. ― ED.

By Kim Jae-heun

A positive attitude and persistent efforts are considered the most important factors to meet success in any field. But 22-year old fashion model Jung Ho-yeon has a gifted physique and the talents of an entertainer to make her undoubtedly Korea's next top model, as cited last year by renowned fashion website,

Jung debuted six years ago as a freelance model, not knowing much about the fashion industry. She had no agency representing her to cast meetings with fashion designers but managed to find them herself and distribute enough profile photos and contact numbers to appear in an average three to four shows at Seoul Fashion Week for two years.

"I was only proud of myself that I made it to the catwalk on the country's top fashion stages among many models," said Jung during an interview with The Korea Times last Dec. 19, while she was preparing for her New York fashion show this year. "Whether it's a big job or a small job, I worked indiscriminately to build my career so that when the chance comes, I can grab it firmly. I've done photo shoots for fashion brand catalogues and participated in graduation shows for fashion colleges."

Jung, soon, tried out for audition at one of the country's biggest fashion agencies, Esteem, and signed a contract on the spot. The young modeling talent did not depend on the agencies to find her work and built on her own portfolio with photographers and hairstylists who wanted to work with her.

Model Jung Ho-yeon during a photo shoot for fashion magazine
Model Jung Ho-yeon during a photo shoot for fashion magazine "Grazia." / Courtesy of Grazia

Jung's exposure rapidly grew to the point where she would walk 10 shows on average at the biannual Seoul Fashion Week by 2013. However, she did not confine herself to her comfort zone and turned her eye to broadcasting, appearing on OnStyle's reality fashion-survival show, "Korea's Next Top Model 4." It was a show where many new models appeared to promote themselves and Jung, whose name was already well known in the field, would only lose if she did not win.

"I applied for Korea's Next Top Model 2 when I was a freelance model, but I dropped out right after making it to the top 30. It left a resentment in my heart," said Jung.

The young model did not win the show but finished runner-up to gain more public recognition, whereas she had only been known in the fashion industry before. Jung shot photos with K-pop idol Taeyang of Big Bang and cover photos for popular fashion magazines such as Vogue and W. Her challenge has paved a new path for her.

"I am 176 centimeters tall, which is considered average for models," Jung said. "If I were taller, I would've been active in the high-end fashion industry and if I were shorter, I would be a popular commercial model appearing on magazine and TV shows. But I realized with my height I can do both high-end and commercial fashion and I am surprised that I have become the model that I dreamed of."

Now, she is planning the next phase of her life in New York. Jung wanted to debut on international stage as fast as possible when she was young, but with all the knowhow she has accumulated, she can perform better as a debuting veteran.

"Normally, when models do well in the local market, they do not want to go abroad because there is no guarantee that they will succeed and when they come back, they can lose everything they have accomplished," Jung said. "I am cautious about becoming lazy. When I debuted, new people and new environments made me nervous and pushed me to the limit. But now I am starting to find myself in a comfort zone again."

Jung hopes to join giant fashion agencies in New York like IMG or Elite and advance to the Paris or Milano Fashion Week. She prefers high-end fashion to commercial, which is why her ultimate destination is Europe. New York is a steppingstone to her dream. Then, she wants to become a supermodel like Karlie Kloss, who is very strong in visual works.

"Kloss was a modern dancer, which made her a distinguished model with dynamic poses. I am also a model with active and dynamic poses, and I learned a lot from her," she said.

Kim Jae-heun


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