Your career achievements include creating long term relationships with major fashion houses (such as Chanel, and now Canada Goose) and becoming the first Asian spokesperson for L'Oréal. Did you ever anticipate this level of recognition when you started modelling?
Of course not! No one can really know what the future holds, can they? But I am so fortunate and honoured to have been given the opportunities that I have been given.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself to trust the process and believe in myself and my own intuition.
Do you feel a change in attitude and perception towards Asian representation in the modelling industry?
I definitely see more diversity in our industry. Whereas it was typical to see one or two familiar faces on the runway, in the magazines or in campaigns, I [now] see clients and casting directors not only looking for diversity in an ethnographic sense but in a cultural-personality sense.
I am not sure if that means the attitude towards representation of Asian models has changed; however, it is apparent that the Asian market has become an intrinsic part of fashion, culture, and commerce.
Korean culture has exploded globally in recent years. How do you feel about your home country being a source of interest and inspiration for so many, and is there anything from Korea you're loving right now?
I can't help but feel a sense of pride in the rise of K-culture. It might be old news but, when I was in Korea in September, everyone seemed to be obsessed with a new K-pop girl band called Newjeans. Their songs are catchy and they're all gorgeous young girls!
Even though you've spent a decade in front of the camera, did you learn anything new from Annie Leibovitz when shooting the Canada Goose campaign?
I was amazed by Annie's thoroughness and involvement in the entire process of taking a photo. From styling the looks to envisioning a scene and seeing it played out, she takes an executive part of deciding and integrating it all. It was very inspiring to see her work.
I like the idea of this new Canada Goose collection, as its name implies 'stylish versatility', and I like to be [open-minded towards] everything. As humans, we're so multifaceted, and we can never really be defined by one thing. The moment you try to define yourself as one thing, you’re experiencing a big loss.
There’s so much that permeates through different disciplines. I think the versatility of this collection helps the person wearing it to bring out their creativity and personality.
In addition to being a model, you're also a DJ and you recently released music under the name Ether. What has been your experience with using an alias, and what challenges have you faced?
I love having an alias—to begin with a clean slate, or adjacent to. The only thing is I’ve been looking into copyrights, and it seems a bit tricky, so I might have to go back to using my own name.
I don’t mind that either, I like my name, too.