It’s easy to see why Gui Eh Park was one of the most sought-after models at Seoul Fashion Week’s Fall shows. Sure, she’s got the industry standard flawless skin and perfect eyebrows, but there’s more to it than that. The 23-year-old is immediately personable, stylish but not snobbish, and a world-traveler with a curious mind and killer eye. The Klog caught up with the Köln-born, Seoul-based model to dish on everything from the latest and greatest in Korean culture to the best blooms in Seoul.
The Klog: How did you get your start in modeling?
Gui Eh Park: I was always the tallest and skinniest kid in my class. People always jokingly called me ‘Gui Park’ [a reference to Korean supermodel Hye Park]. But I was more interested in acting and musicals.
Then, when I was sixteen, I did an exchange program with Tualatin High School in Oregon. During spring break, I had a chance to visit New York City. I was just so fascinated by the city’s culture, fashion, and energy. A couple of famous Korean models were working in New York at the time, and one of them happened to be the face of an American Eagle ad in Times Square. I saw her on that giant screen, and suddenly realized I wanted to be a model.
After my exchange year, I went back to Korea and wanted to start my modeling career right away, but my parents were totally against it. So we made a deal that I could do whatever I wanted if I got into the university they wanted—and I did! Freshman year, I auditioned for the biggest modeling agency in Korea, Esteem (also my current agency), and walked the runway for the first time.
You do such a great job documenting life in Seoul on your Instagram and your blog “Girl from East Asia.” What’s your favorite thing about living in the city?
All four seasons are distinct in Seoul—you can have so many different experiences. During spring and summer, my friends and I go out picnicking near the Han River and eat chimac [chicken and beer]. Once fall comes, it’s great to walk along the palaces in the center of the city. In the winter, it’s really snowy, so we go ice skating in front of City Hall.
Tell us a secret about Seoul that visitors would never figure out on their own.
Just like the way New York City has Chinatown, Seoul has a Frenchtown and their own Chinatown—they’re just not called that. Seoul’s Chinatown is called “Yeon-nam dong.” Frenchtown is near where I live, a district called “Seo-Rae Mauel.” The neighborhood has the best bakeries and French restaurants in Seoul.
What’s your favorite thing about Korean culture right now that hasn’t been noted internationally yet?
Korean TV shows and movies! I believe the industry here will become as big as Hollywood one day. There are so many strong directors like Chan-Wook Park and Joon-Ho Bong. In television, there are some very talented writers like Hee-Kyung No and Eun-Sook Kim. Lately I’ve been into the show Dear My Friends. It’s a story about grandmas living the last days of their lives well. It touches my heart every single week.
It’s been a great couple of years for Korean beauty. Do you have any favorite lines?
Having perfect skin is a huge phenomenon here. Neogen’s products are the perfect match for my skin type, so I have all my base products from them.
You have a successful modeling career, you’re in school for advertising, and you have a talent for documenting your travels and life. What would you like to do in the future?
Go abroad and become a global Asian model. And I’ll keep sharing my tips on travel and style in an Asian-girly way.
Give us the inside scoop. List out your favorite spots in Seoul.
1. Caron Caron sells only macarons—nothing else. They’re my favorite dessert. I’ve had macarons from famous places in Paris, and Caron Caron’s are at least as good if not better. I go here whenever I’m feeling blue.
2. Summer’s End. It’s the shop and office of florist Young-Shin Kim. She makes the best bouquets—simply gorgeous as hell.
3. Goen.J Showroom is a clothing brand designed by Goen Jong, who won Project Runway Korea. She really knows how to make you look and feel good.
4. Collectionlounge is my favorite cocktail lounge at Garosu-gil. It has cool vibes and tasty cocktails.
5. Independence Cafe is also in Garosu-gil and has the best coffee in Gangnam. My favorite thing to get there is a cup of milk tea.