Jang Yoon-ju advises living fiercely, not looking back

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Jang Yoon-ju advises living fiercely, not looking back


Jang Yoon-ju

Wearing a flower print blouse and khaki trousers, model Jang Yoon-ju stood at the front of a room filled with 200 university students last Friday.

Pointing to her blouse, she asked, “What brand do you think I’m wearing?”

The crowd murmured as someone asked if the outfit came from a luxury brand.

Jang surprised the audience as she answered, “The blouse I’m wearing is a Korean brand, and it cost 76,000 won [$67]. I bought the khakis a long time ago.”

The 31-year-old model has been breaking the mold in the local fashion industry with her relatively short height and unique facial features. She hoped to relate to the audience at CineCity in southern Seoul in a very human way, discussing her personal weaknesses.

As she looked around the room, she threw out another question.

“Think about the clothes that suit you the most and what makes you most happy. These two things are very close to each other.”

Jang admitted that, even as a model, it took her a long time to discover what clothes suited her as she didn’t think about loving herself as she was or about what made her truly happy.

“I grew up in a poor family and graduated from a junior college,” she said. Those were the only aspects about myself that I could think about, and it took me 10 years to move beyond them.”

She also didn’t hesitate to open up about struggling professionally.

“In the model world, I was not only small, but I didn’t have what they called the ‘ideal face,’?” Jang said.

Before deciding on a career path, Jang explained that she spent a decade trying to decide what work she wanted to do. She then asked her audience to consider that some hesitation is normal.

“It is only natural and even beautiful when you are young to struggle to find yourself,” she said. “Take some time to see how much you know about yourself, both internally and externally, and see whether you can admit to who you genuinely are.”

Once the decision was made, though, Jang advised living fiercely and never looking back.

Her lecture was the first in a series by the CJ Dream Project, organized by CJ Group for those in their 20s and 30s who want a career in arts or culture. The lecturers, who will tour the country, are all successful figures in those creative fields.

By Shim Seo-hyeon [estyle@joongang.co.kr]
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