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 feature 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.