To be honest, writing an introduction about Daul Kim is rather one of the most difficult things we've had to do. We write something, then scribble it out at the risk of sounding too much like we're arse kissing the young model, then write again. But it's nearly impossible to write something about Daul without sounding a bit like sycophants. So screw it, this will sound very toady but we're all just crazy over Daul. All you need to do is take a look at her versatile work as a model and her photos plastered all over the internet, and you'll understand all the Daul Delirium people have. She has her own effortless style that people try to imitate, fans that adore her, campaigns and covers for top designers and magazines and the best thing about it is that she doesn't seem affected by it one bit.
Name: Daul Kim
Agencies: Storm, Elite, D'Management Group, Success
Birthdate: 31st of May, 1989
From: Seoul, Korea
Describe your life prior to modeling?
DK: A rebellious kid going to school.
And how did you get started in the industry?
DK: I got discovered on the street by a photographer in Singapore when I was 13. And Damon [my mother agent] signed me and he brought me to the New York and Europe market this year.
What was your first impressions of the modeling industry before you were signed?
DK: Easy job.
After signing and actually working as a model, did your impressions change?
DK: Not so easy job. But nothing is easy. But I wouldn’t do it if it was too hard. :P
What was your first modeling assignment?
DK: First job in Korea was shooting for W and first job in Singapore, I cant remember.
Your career is doing quite well now, so what would you consider the turning point in your career?
DK: I guess doing Chanel shows and shooting the Vogue cover.
So far, what would you say is the best perk about being a model?
DK: Not wasting my time on going to school. I home schooled (self-thought).
What's the worst?
DK: I don’t have much privacy now in Korea and getting criticized!
Tell us about some really terrible modeling jobs you’ve done?
DK: Too many and too personal to say, but fighting with rude/unprofessional staff is pretty entertaining. Hahaha.
Okay, then tell us about the best ones.
DK: Too many! But I will have to say shooting i-D with Sebastian Kim.
Another perk about modeling is the traveling. What is your favourite city so far in your travels?
DK: London because all my friends live there.
Three essential things you never travel without?
DK: Passport, laptop (to watch movies in the airplane), flight details.
Have you had any embarrassing “model moments“?
DK: I have embarrassing Daul moments.
So all these great things are happening to your career now. How do you keep yourself grounded in reality and stay true to yourself when you’re doing such a glamourous job?
DK: I’m not so glamourous. I like to just stay home. And avoid “it” and “hot” places and stay in quiet places and hide from people. When I was 13, I had a hard time keeping myself ‘grounded’ in reality, but now I’m very aware that I will have to quit this soon so therefore I stopped caring so much about it. I’m happy when I do well, but I don’t get so upset even when I don’t do so well. How do I stay true to myself? I stay away from people who kiss my ass.
So staying away from flatters is how you keep yourself from getting a big head. Then the people you do surround yourself with, how supportive are they of your career as a model?
DK: My friends and family don’t treat me in a certain way. They treat me the same all the time. They tell me that I should quit whenever I want to. I think they don’t really care about my career and they don’t care if I’m famous or not. I think that helps. Also my mother agent is always super kind and honest to me through out many years.
Again with all the success in your modeling career, you’re life has probably changed a lot. What aspects do you miss from your old life prior to modeling?
DK: I don’t remember. I was modeling since 13, I didn’t have a normal life. I’m kind of sad about the fact that I still don’t have friends my age, but I’m okay with it. But I think even if I wasn’t a model it wouldn’t have been normal anyway.
On to your actual career as a model now... You’re no stranger to runways, but do you get nervous walking for high profile designers and being watched by many?
DK: I don’t hate it. I’m happy to walk for designers I love, like Chanel, Dries Van Noten, Martin Margiela, etc.
How do you pass the time while waiting around for the show to begin?
DK: I sleep, or draw, or listen to music, or tape my shoes [I have small feet and the shoes are always so big].
You’ve also walked Chanel shows one after another [Fall 07 Ready-to-wear, Resort 08, Couture 2007]. How do you feel about being a Chanel favourite?
DK: So happy.
Being a Chanel favourite means you must be doing something right, so in general how does it feel to be so well received by this industry which is known for it's harsh rejection?
DK: It wasn’t like this from the beginning, and still you have to face criticism and rejection everyday. But I think I don’t care anymore. Some people like you and some people hate you. You can’t please everybody and people shouldn’t judge anybody for their looks anyway. Sometimes I wonder why I model too.
Let’s talk about photoshoots for a bit. You’ve done your fair share of them, so what would you say makes a great photoshoot and who are some of the photographers you’ve enjoyed working with?
DK: Great photographers, good staff with a vision, fresh and new ideas, and going crazy on photoshoots. I love jumping or screaming or acting nuts on sets. I love movies, B-movies and grotesque movies, David Lynch, El Topo, Holy Mountain, etc. And sometimes people get inspirations from films like that, and once I had to shoot a story which was based on “Lost Highway” and I felt like I’m high when I’m doing that. I think shooting is like acting. Instead of posing, I like moving. Feel like I’m somebody else and I can cry, I can laugh hysterically, or roll on the floor and be psycho. I really enjoyed working with Sofia & Mauro. Sofia is very charismatic and inspiring to do crazy things on camera.
Another big achievement in your career was doing the Moschino FW07 ad campaign alongside other popular Asian models. What was your experience working Peter Lindbergh and doing the campaign?
DK: It’s good to use lots of Asian models because I’m Asian. :P Peter is a funny guy!!!!!! I like the fact that they had crepes on set. I really like crepes.
Now you see more Asian models becoming quite popular like Du Juan, Hye Park, Ai Tominaga, and now yourself. Do you find it more difficult for a model of Asian ethnicity to breakthrough into the industry compared to other models?
DK: I don’t compare myself to other models, every one is born a certain way. I don’t want to limit myself as just an “Asian” model. I want to be something further.
Right now you’re on the cover of Vogue Korea, alongside Coco Rocha. Was it surreal in anyway working with Coco and the Vogue team?
DK: Yay ! Vogue cover! It was so weird because I was so excited when I heard the news but when I was shooting, it felt like a normal shoot. I mean, it’s like that for every job. I enjoy it but I realize “wow can’t believe I’ve done that” like wayyyyy after.
How does it feel to see yourself on the cover and on billboards around the world?
DK: First time I saw myself on a magazine/cover/billboard it felt so weird. I stared at it many times, but I got used to it. I laugh if it turns out to look hideous. It’s really nice to get emails/letters from fans thanking you! Makes me really happy.
Between walking the runways and doing photoshoots for editorials or campaigns, which do you prefer more?
DK: Of course campaigns because it pays more hahaha. I hate this fact but money gives you freedom. But if I had that freedom, I’d prefer editorial work but this also depends on what kind of editorial work, I love magazine visuals like i-D, Tank , Self Service, Numéro, etc.
Like you said, money gives you freedom. With that said, many other models have told us that modeling for them is a way to gain easy money. Is modeling like that for you or do you truly enjoy it all?
DK: First of all, its not EASY MONEY. No one is forcing me to do it. So I feel okay about it right now. But I’m not so competitive as well. I’m glad when I work with people with great vision and ability. But it sucks to work with people who are unprofessional.
What do you expect to do once you decide to leave the modeling world?
DK: I don’t expect anything. It will happen once it happens, naturally. I think I would do something very random. Hmmm.
Well you aren’t going anywhere anytime soon being a popular model and most likely extremely busy, so what are some of the things you are currently working on?
DK: I shot with Sofia& Mauro for China Vogue, Swarovski, and 10. I shot the John Richmond campaign. Recently I’ve been home for the past 3 weeks. Shot for W Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, the Elle cover [just came back from the shoot actually] etc. I’m doing a solo exhibition at this gallery called “Daily Project” next week. And I’m publishing a art/fashion/travel book about Seoul with my best friend who is a stylist. I should really be working now…
ADOMM Quick Questionnaire:
Could you tell us about your birthplace?
DK: I was born in Seoul, Korea. But my family moved away when I was 3 months old, so I only lived there for 3 years in my whole life. I only learnt Korean when I came here 2 years ago, and I still speak with a funny accent.
You have mentioned in a Korean TV show that you love painting. What do you paint?
DK: I did a TV show in Korea about “models”. And they made me look like a freak. I’m actually quite shy and calm but they wanted me to look hysteric and crazy and they put me through such a hard time! And now I’m stuck with this goofy-crazy image in Korea.
I love painting. I actually did modeling so that I could skip school so I could have more free time to read and watch movies and paint, but I don’t really have time nowadays which is really sad. So instead I work on books/video art/photography because that way I can work while I’m traveling. My solo exhibition coming up is going to show my video works/ photography.
When you are at home, what do you love to do?
DK: I’D LOVE TO JUST DO NOTHING. But unfortunately I have to work. I still make time to play with guinea pigs. But when I’m not working I’d love to spend more time with mom and dad but I think they’re too busy too.
What is a typical day like for you?
DK: Wake up in the morning , shower, go to shoot or go to the airport.
On vacation— play with guinea pigs, watch B-movies in my room or go to ghetto art cinema, or go to some rave party or go to tranny bars. Collecting/stealing forks from restaurants. Going to playgrounds at night and scare children but children nowadays are scarier than me.
What are your hobbies/interests?
DK: Guinea pigs, eating, sleeping, reading Bukowski, Tolstoi, and Yamada Aimee novels. Watching the History and Discovery Channel about the Russian Revolution, World Wars, Dooms day. Nowadays I’m really into watching Kitche, old Korean zombie movies from the 70’s, and watching Yakuza horror/prisoner woman genre movies from the 70’s.
What is something that most people don't generally know about you?
DK: I cut my left finger once.
Appearance wise, do you look more like your Dad or do you go after your Mum?
DK: I’m my dad’s clone. It’s kind of scary. I look almost exactly the same as his boyhood photos because he was so skinny and uhm. I have his face. Also he is gore-movie fan and he also likes blood.
Of course a model has to be somewhat appealing, for you, what do you consider to be your most attractive feature?
DK: I don’t know. You tell me.
You have a unique sense of fashion which a lot of people admire and idolize you for. Are you a fashion conscious person at all?
DK: No. I don’t care about how I look. I do respect and enjoy good designers,good fashion, and good fashion visuals but I’m not too obsessive about it. For fall and winter I want to look like a black monster thing with bangs walking on the street.
Do you have any beauty secrets to share with other women?
DK: Inner beauty is most important.
Describe your ideal man…
DK: Who doesn’t call guinea pigs hamsters.
Favourite Designer: Yohji [Yamamoto], Dries [Van Noten], and Prada
Favourite Female Model: It’s a secret.
Favourite Male Model: None
You seem like a movie buff so what's your favourite movie?
DK: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, El Topo, Female Prisoner 701 Scorpion Woman, Fallen Angel, Happy Together, Toni Takitani, this will go on forever so I will stop.
Any favourite types of music?
DK: I’m not TOO crazy about music, but 80’s electro/new wave. Right now, spandau ballet.
Define yourself in three words: I'm so lonely.
[click images to enlarge]
*images courtesy of: www.style.com, www.flickr.com, www.thefashionspot.com, www.thecelebritycity.com
with photoshopping done by adomm