Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Exclusive Interview - Soo Joo

One model who definitely caught my eye last season was the enigmatic Korean-American newcomer Soo Joo. Represented by Wilhelmina Models in New York, Soo Joo is one of modelling's most dynamic and truly fascinating new inductees. Soo Joo cuts a striking figure with radar sharp cheekbones, almond shaped eyes, a panther-like 178 cm lithe frame, and platinum blonde hair that has drawn inevitable comparisons to the late great Korean model Daul Kim.  Soo Joo's stunning physical traits work in tandem with an enquiring mind, wit and a passion for music, literature, art and film which are chronicled in considerable detail at, her own personal blog. During the Spring/Summer 2013 season, Soo Joo's runway presence was felt at Zero + Maria Cornejo, Wes Gordon, Costello Tagliapietra, Vivienne Westwood and Emporio Armani to name but a few. And this is only the beginning. Inoubliable Model Army has it's eye trained firmly on Soo Joo for the upcoming Fall/Winter 2013 shows and caught up with her in the calm before the storm to discuss meeting Dame Vivienne Westwood, the hazards of sharing toothpaste and the importance of keeping the faith.

Soo Joo Park
Photographer - Unknown
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Inoubliable Model Army: Hi Soo Joo, Happy Holidays! Did you celebrate in New York or in Seoul, and what was your traditional Holiday dinner/meal?
SJ: Happy new year! I spent my holidays in Los Angeles - my family moved there when I was 10. The only holiday tradition I've followed these last few years is going to Christmas Eve dinner  at the Love household (hosted by Lisa, Natalie and Laura), where we start with caviar and champagne, and enjoy the company of friends and family over a beautiful homemade dinner, then open up our secret Santa presents.

Inoubliable Model Army: What is your ethnic background, when did you begin modelling and how were you discovered?
SJ: I'm Korean-American. I started modelling after being approached by an agent whilst shopping at a vintage store in San Francisco, where I was going to school.

Inoubliable Model Army: Congrats on an impressive Spring/Summer 2013 season - appearances at Wes Gordon, Zero + Maria Cornejo, Vivienne Westwood, Ter et Bantine, Alexis Mabille and Emporio Armani amongst others. If you had to name just one, what would be the highlight of the season for you?
SJ: Every experience this season was memorable, but the highlight was meeting Dame Vivienne Westwood and walking in her show in Paris. She's an icon who instigated incorporating punk music and youth into fashion, and she's still going strong! I have tremendous respect for driven creatives and she is one of them.

Inoubliable Model Army: What are your coping mechanisms to deal with the intense rush of fashion week, castings and shows. Did you form any new friendships this past season?
SJ: I'm still developing a coping mechanism for that, haha. But it helped that my friend Sung Hee and I shared a household throughout the circuit. We shared snacks, stories, jokes, casting outfits, toothpaste...

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac - S/S 2013
Photographer - Yannis Vlamos
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Emporio Armani - S/S 2013
Photographer - Filippo Fior
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Vivienne Westwood - S/S 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
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Inoubliable Model Army: A big turning point in your modelling career took place when you dyed your hair blonde. What prompted the change in hair colour and do blondes really have more FUN?
SJ: Last March, my agent approached me about maybe trying something different, like going platinum. I didn't hesitate for a moment before saying yes, because I've always wanted to be more experimental. It's been received positively, and yes, blondes definitely have more fun!

Inoubliable Model Army: You've since appeared in editorials for Grey, Dazed & Confused, Vogue Italia, and Korean Vogue. Do you have a preference for runway or print work, and are there any photographers whose work you particularly admire?
SJ: I love editorials because you can get into character and create lasting images. I love film and photography, and am a big fan of Tim Walker, Solve Sundsbø, and Willy Vanderperre (to name just a few)!

Inoubliable Model Army: Your recent shoot for Dazed & Confused with Terry Tsiolis was pretty way out there! What was the inspiration behind the shoot and how was the experience of working with Terry?
SJ: I loved working with Terry! And Karen, Esther and Yadim too - they're absolutely talented. As a model you don't always participate in the initial artistic inspiration or direction, but when you shoot for a magazine like Dazed & Confused with someone like Terry who has a great eye, you can have fun and experiment. And that's my favourite thing about modelling!

Dazed & Confused - December 2012
Photographer - Terry Tsiolis
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US Glamour - January 2013
Photographer - Patrick Demarchelier
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W Korea - May 2012
Photographer - Joo Jong Kyun
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Inoubliable Model Army: Modelling is a gruelling and competitive industry. What are the biggest challenges you face as a model?
SJ: The biggest challenge in modelling is keeping steady faith in yourself. It's such a subjective profession that can also be fickle at times, you have to patient and ride it out.

Inoubliable Model Army: What are the biggest misconceptions about models and the industry?
SJ: Models sometimes get undermined in their intellectual capacity, and that annoys me. Not all of us are vapid. I have a college degree in architecture!

Inoubliable Model Army: Have you noticed an increasing diversity in modelling? Where do you think modelling/casting trends are headed?
SJ: I think the industry is becoming more diverse, but I still think people can get jaded in their perception of what diversity may be; for instance, the word 'oriental' was deemed outdated and pejorative, but the idea still lingers. I want people to be more open-minded and type-casted less.

Inoubliable Model Army: What is your approach when going into castings and what do you think are the key elements to making a favourable and lasting impression on casting directors and designers?
SJ: I get nervous still, because I get really shy, but I think being at ease and having a lot of confidence is all you can do to make an impression.

Inoubliable Model Army: What makes you "Inoubliable" (Unforgettable)?
SJ: Hopefully my spirit and attitude that comes through!

Pre-Blonde Days
Photographer - Unknown
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Blonde Ambition
Photographer - Unknown
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Dazed & Confused - December 2012
Photographer - Andrew Nuding
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Simon (Nessman) Says
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