Jung Hyuk (@artistboy_), signed to Esteem Models, identifies firstly as an artist. He's active as both a fashion model and photographer. While grabbing a coffee together in the early autumn of November 2015, Jung Hyuk tells us about what he does during his down time, his style, and his personal pursuit of happiness.
Interview Gissella Ramirez-Valle, Interpretation Monica Kim & Chaereen Pak, Photography Jung Hyun Suk, Edits Sam Cello, Production Assistance Ana Fernandez & Edge Han
Hello! Please introduce yourself. How old are you? Where are you from?
Jung Hyuk: Hello, I'm Jung Hyuk. I am 24 years old and an Esteem model. I’m originally from and currently living in the Jungnang District of Seoul.
I'm always curious about how people fall into modeling as a career. Was becoming a fashion model a childhood dream for you or something you fell into?
Jung Hyuk: Modeling was a job that I dreamed of since I was sixteen. I was a bit heavier back then and my face didn’t really work either, so I took on a different job and subsequently enlisted in the military. When I came back, some acquaintances recommended me to model, so I ended up trying and it worked out well.
It seems that every agency has a distinct mood or image. What is the unique characteristic of Esteem models?
Jung Hyuk: I think Esteem models are different in the fact that each and every one of us have certain colors and individualities. It's not a narrow spectrum.
What is your favorite aspect about working in the industry?
Jung Hyuk: Should I say developing confidence? Working is fun and since I like challenging myself, I tend to be good at doing things that other people can’t or would rather not do.
If you weren’t in the modeling industry, what do you think you would be doing?
Jung Hyuk: After coming back from the military, I worked in a store for two years. I thought that I would continue working there because of my interest in fashion. But living in that kind of society, you get a bit lazy.
What do you do in your spare time?
Jung Hyuk: I really enjoy taking photos, especially scenic ones. On the other hand, since I like clothing, I enjoy making clothes at home or browsing around at neighborhood markets.
Please describe your personal style! What influences your style?
Jung Hyuk: I definitely have my own style. I don’t like to dress too uniquely. These days, I like to dress normally and add a little bit of me here and there. I’m also the type that doesn’t stay put with the same style, so I like to change it up day by day. Some days I like dandy, some days I like workwear, and other days I like modern. I enjoy dressing in different ways, so my style isn’t concrete.
Has your style changed since beginning to work as a fashion model?
Jung Hyuk: It has changed a lot. Before, when I was in the workforce, I would wear the standard shirt, necktie, and slacks combination. Although I had my own style back then, dressing in this uniform fashion every day made me begin to believe that it was actually pretty nice. However, once I started modeling, I realized that I needed to change it up. I would look through magazines and if I happened upon a style I liked, I would tear it out and make a mental note to try it later on. My style has definitely changed a lot. And since I’m a model, I have to know what kinds of clothes suit me well. As I try on different clothing, I really see what works and what doesn’t work on me.
Tell us about the outfit you're wearing today. Where'd you get those neat tinted sunglasses?
Jung Hyuk: I picked these sunglasses up at Dongmyo market.
Oh really! How much?
Jung Hyuk: Just 5,000 won! And the sneakers are FILA.
And your braces, I'm seeing them alot these days on models which I think is an interesting trend. If you don't mind me asking why'd you get them?
Jung Hyuk: Just to straighten my teeth of course!
What are your favorite places to hang out at during your free time?
Jung Hyuk: I’m a homebody so I’m always in my house (laughs). But when I go out to take photos, I just take the subway to places I haven’t visited before. Rather than going out somewhere, I think spending free time at home is much more comfortable. Or if I meet up with my friends, I just like to go somewhere in my old neighborhood with them.
Who do you admire and why do you admire them?
Jung Hyuk: Model Kim Won Joong. He’s so model-like. If you just look at him, you can feel that he’s a model. I like that kind of person—someone who can get the “wow” out of you. From his unique, strong identity to his pursuits, everything about him is just so cool.
Tell us about a particular shoot that you enjoyed.
Jung Hyuk: I think my favorite shoot was this alien concept that I did awhile back. It was so much fun becoming someone else. They put oil on my body and it really seemed like I was an alien born on Earth.
Any love calls from overseas?
Jung Hyuk: I don’t have any plans yet for working overseas, but I have been contacted. I don't think I'm fully prepared yet, so I’m planning on going overseas sometime later in 2016. I’ve received offers for walking from two different countries, but I’m not sure of the details yet! For now, I’m working on what I’ve auditioned for and what my company’s broker has planned for me.
What are you listening to these days?
Jung Hyuk: I like Japanese jazzy pop these days. It’s very different from the vibes that hip hop gives off. Rather than rough, Japanese jazzy pop is very smooth, like flowing water. I actually really like Japan, so I think Japanese jazzy pop suits me well. I enjoy a lot of different aspects of Japan—from its movies and animation to style and whatnot, I love everything about it. Economically, they have a very clean image too. If you watch Japanese TV, they show such creative things that others have not even thought up of before. I just really like Japan!
Have you been to Japan?
Jung Hyuk: I have never been to Japan but I do have plans of visiting someday. It’s just that I don’t have the time right now. I actually have never been on a plane... I have a lot of Japanese friends though.
Your Instagram handle is @artistboy_. Why is that?
Jung Hyuk: I think models are like actors, and actors are artists. Like I mentioned earlier, taking on new challenges is what I think artists do. I think that taking pictures is an art. Photography incorporates storytelling. In general, I find inspiration from a lot of different things. Even when I’m choosing what to wear, I’m always thinking what would look best with what.
If you quit modeling, would you pursue photography?
Jung Hyuk: I want to learn both. I want to be a model that takes photos. I never learned photography separately—I bought and read books on photography. When I’m at a photoshoot, I receive advice from the photographers on set. I’ve learned a lot through these methods. I think people who learn traditionally are more prone to sticking to the rules. People who learn on their own have their own personal color, with good composition and storytelling.
And finally, we're dying to know: why do you like to link humorous videos on your Facebook profile?
Jung Hyuk: I like to be happy. I always like happy things and so if I find something fun I want to share it with others. I used to be a pessimistic person, but over the years I’ve become much more positive. There used to be a lot of pessimism back in my home environment, but after serving in the army and spending time with the people there—I thought a lot about how I should live my life and I slowly came to be a happier and more optimistic person.