Welcome to Soko Secret! Here, we shine a light on the people living in Korea who inspire us. Straight from the streets of Seoul, their approach to beauty and style will impress you. Here we shine a light on Toekyung Ko in our GoToe interview.
Pharmaceutical researcher by day and influencer by night, 28-year-old Toekyung Ko is well-known in Korea for his viral videos. Internationally known as GoToe, Toekyung has accrued a large fan base of 770K subscribers on YouTube and 370K followers on Instagram for his hilarious videos.
To give you a taste of how unique he is, here is Toekyung on a normal day:
And his cover of the infamous Pen Pineapple Apple Pen:
In this exclusive interview, Toekyung shares the secrets to his success as well as skin care tips as a pharmaceutical expert.
When did you start making videos?
When I was still in college, there was a big boom of viral videos called UCC’s in Korea. My friends and I made a few videos then for fun, and I really felt like it fit in with my interests. I’ve been making videos since then.
You work in pharmaceuticals during the day. How do you find time to make videos?
I graduated from pharmacy graduate program the beginning of 2017. I worked as a pharmacist for several months after that, but it was tiring and I wanted to spend more time making videos. I also decided pharmacy work was something I can go back to later. Right now, I work at a research center during the day and make videos at night.
Your videos are always unexpected in the best way. How do you choose your topics?
Making videos is all I think about 24/7. What I’ll film next, what new videos would be exciting and fun. I’m always thinking about that nonstop.
What do you think Korean people look for in videos?
I would say something stimulating or exciting. Korean culture tends to be conservative, so people want to see other people do something crazy. It’s like living vicariously through others.
I heard that you love fashion and buy a lot of new clothes for your videos. Where do you shop?
I buy everything online. Since I do dance covers of K-pop artists, who are very fashionable, I look up what they were actually wearing and buy that. I try to buy from the same brand, but there are also a lot of third party sites selling the same exact clothes.
You go on so many shows and events. What’s your everyday skin care routine like?
First, I cleanse my face with the Lab Series Multi-Action Face Wash and tone with the Rescue Water-Lotion from the same brand. There’s really not that many skin care lines made for men. I’m not in love with Lab Series, but it’s not bad, so I keep using it.
For moisturizer, depending on my mood, I alternate between the Physiogel Daily Moisture Therapy Cream and the Algologie Crème des Vagues, which I bought in France when I visited. I have oily to combination skin, but my skin feels dry and tight if I skip moisturizer.
For sunscreen, I’ve been using The Face Shop Clean Face Oil-Free Sun Cream for the past four to five years. I’ve probably gone through 10 tubes of it. It can flake a bit, but it absorbs very well. This is the only product I would repurchase—with toners and moisturizers, I like to switch them up when I run out.
Do you like to get any facial treatments or procedures done for special occasions?
No, but I sheet mask at home twice a week. I like the Mediheal Aquaring Ampoule Mask, but I don’t feel particularly bound to it. It’s not about which sheet mask you use but how regularly you use one. I buy them in bulk when they’re on sale.
What else do you do for special occasions?
I’m usually low-maintenance and don’t like to do my hair or my brows. But on days I have a special event, I like to use the Iope Air Cushion for Men. I find that my skin much looks better on camera with it.
As a pharmaceutical researcher, what’s one skin care tip you have for our readers?
This is probably an odd thing to say, but when it comes to improving your skin, I personally find that medication works the best. In high school, I had acne all over my face and suffered from breakouts into my early 20s. But after I saw a dermatologist and took Isotretinoin for about half a year, I stopped getting any breakouts, except for days when I’m really sleep-deprived.
What Isotretinoin does is that it essentially sucks up all the excess oil from your face. It’s really good for oily skin types. I’ve used products like SK-II, but expensive products, facial treatments and procedures all cost you a couple thousand dollars a month. But with medication, you only need to spend fifty dollars at a time to see results. But of course, taking medication isn’t for everyone—I’m just speaking from personal experience and as a researcher.
Let’s talk about your future goals. Is your dream to get into comedy?
Actually, no. I want to get into the music industry, especially for dancing. Korea isn’t a big country, so the market for my video content is limited. But K-pop is much bigger than Korea, and I hope that one day I can contribute to K-pop’s success around the world.
Also, so far I’ve been in a fried chicken commercial in Korea. A lot of food-related companies now like to use influencers like me to promote their businesses. But my dream is to be in a car commercial, which is reserved for A-list celebrities. That would be awesome.
Sounds great. Lastly, what’s your advice for people who want to become social media famous?
Right now, there’s a trend in Korea of people trying to become celebrities through social media. Some of their content clearly crosses the line because it’s made only to attract attention. I think that’s really unfortunate. To become famous on social media, all you need are passion for making videos and diligence to put out content on a regular basis. Don’t be impatient with your growth. If you have the passion, people will eventually recognize your work.