The JFW Model Search 2017 - Face of Indonesia contest, which ran its finals in Indonesia on the 7th May 2017, was held not only in Jakarta, but across Bali, Surabaya and Medan, where 5 finalists has been chosen to represent Indonesia later at Janghung Arena, Seoul, South Korea on 22-24 June 2017. We also have spoken to one finalist who resembles closely like top South Korean male models Nam Joo Hyuk and Kim Woo Bin.
Together with the Korean Model Association (KMA), the Jakarta Fashion Week (JFW) has invited a guest star and model from South Korea to join the panel of judges for the finals of this Model Search. It is the Model, Professor and Mentor Lee Sun Jin, who also have acted several drama series such as "A Better Tomorrow and "Bad Couple" to name a few. However, her elegant and tall figure is not to be undermined in the entertainment industry, as she holds a PhD degree from Konkuk University.
Lee Sun Jin was first discovered by Elite, one of the world's most renown modeling agencies, particularly to have found the Super Models such as Cindy Crawford, Gisele Bundchen, Lara Stone and Alessandra Ambrosio through their Super Elite Model Selection Contest. She too, had joined the contest in the national-level counterpart in South Korea and won runner-up. Since then, her career in the entertainment industry began.
Our interview has been joined by KMA's manager, Justin - who is traveling across Asian countries for Asia's modelling audition and to score international deals with the leading modelling agencies in the world for the winner of the contest - to speak more to Lee Sun Jin on the world of beauty, fashion, its standards that are starkingly high - and yet, its essence is forgotten, buried under the myriads of digital media and façades.
Who is the Lee Sun Jin, the model, we know, and what makes you, you?
Lee Sun Jin (LSJ): I started my modelling career since the 90s, so I've been in this industry for roughly 20 years. I'm currently a professor at a university under the Modelling major. Being a mentor to all these budding models, whom are my students, my ethos is that models are not only beautiful on the outside, but they have to take care of their body and lifestyle through smarter and healthier options. Then they can stay as a professional model for a longer period of time.
I'm surprised, they offer a Modelling major in a university?
LSJ: Yes, perhaps there are about 50 universities that offer this course, I suppose...!
Justin: "The modelling industry is a very competitive sector in Korea. A single audition for model search can receive about 500 entries alone, so it's not easy to enter the industry."
Even though there are 50 campuses that offer this course? That's certainly overwhelmingly new for me as well. Continuing along, Lee Sun Jin, you graduated with a PhD in Costume Design in Konkuk University, and I truly admire that you did it. Could you share what was your curiosities and research about?
LSJ: (laughs) I wanted to learn about relation between model, fashion and beauty industries altogether, along with its PR and marketing. So overall, it was to do the analysis and correlation between these and the case studies of marketing practices on a global context.
The winners, people's favourite and guests judges of JFW Asia Model Search 2017 on stage.
Well then, in your opinion, how can the fashion and beauty industry have helped changed the world?
LSJ: Why, that's a tough question... let me think (pauses). Right, so first of all, since a long time ago the fashion and beauty industry was only for the females. The females purchases beauty and fashion goods and not entirely the male. But today, it has grown to become a very important industry for the males as well - in fashion and beauty - where they would like to showcase their lifestyle and how to appeal to the audience through their fashionable and well-groomed looks. Therefore, this equal balance between female and male in this industry, I think at least, has helped to open more opportunities, exciting moves and a brighter, unique proposition in the creative industries and the business of it.
From these candidates who are taking part in this finals, what do you look for as a judge?
LSJ: The Asia Model Festival - Face of Asia 2017 contest by Korea Model Associaton's criterias of how to be the winning face is that first, his or her attitude, or mind, is crucial. Secondly, is their body. This event will not only finish in Asia, but the winning face will get the chance to have international contracts signed and represent themselves as the new Asian supermodel.
South Korea has a strong presence and influence of culture, fashion tastes and beauty standards, and models portray this energy to the world, and also in Indonesia because of the Hallyu Wave. The world is changing every second, and so how fashion is so fickle. In your opinion, what makes a model of tomorrow?
LSJ: The fashion and beauty industry are so closely interlinked to the modelling industry and it will still continue to coexist to each other. Because South Korean culture, as you said has become a great influence to the current popular culture around the world, and also having a huge impact to Indonesia as well, it's very important for the models to be able to follow the various global stages and polish themselves as a professional and high-quality model.
You're a model, a public figure, an actress, and also now a lecturer and mentor. How do you stay long in the entertainment industry?
LSJ: For me, the model industry is a typical form of entertainment job. And my job will not last forever. In order to stay in game, I have to take care of myself through my beauty, health and mindful lifestyle. The main thing is, everyone has to take care of their body very well since young. It's an investment for yourself. And then you can sustain yourself and create your identity in the industry.
What is Lee Sun Jin’s definition of 'perfect beauty'?
LSJ: The first and most important thing people should actually really understand to take care of yourself as a model is not about dieting or the make-up. This is not it. You have to be diligent and have discipline for exercising. You need to have your mindset and plan your schedule for your day, your week, your year. A model does not just show oneself with make-up and diet. This is how you can maintain and keep yourself beautiful, from within. Not only for the models, but truly for everyone. [END]
Korea.com would like to thank Imelda from JFW Committee for the arrangement.
Korea.com's Fashion Editor Rice contributed to this report from Indonesia
Photographed by Nico Harold