This post is part continued conversation, part appetizer for Preparing for Life in Korea, Part 3: Finding a Job in Korea. I will also be writing Preparing for Life in Korea, Part 4: Finding a Place to Live in Korea.
In Korea, scouting is a Big Deal, and being scouted is one of the best ways to find a job in Korea.
Many of Korea’s biggest talents were either scouted on the street– like Kim Tae Hee, or they were “that friend” who went to audition for fun and actually passed the audition while their friend who went for real didn’t– like So Ji Sub, or they were 낙하산, “nakhasan” or “parachutes” who got into the business by using their connections– like Mir of MBlaq.
(Check out more “how they got famous stories” featuring Korean idols HERE.)
But, my story is a little different, since I wasn’t even in Korea when I was scouted by OnStyle Korea…
Back in 2011, I used to blog on Naver and post in fashion cafes there, too. While making my blog, I got to practice reading and writing in Korean. While posting in fashion cafes, I got to practice “speaking” Korean. I even made a lot of Korean friends on Kakaotalk through my “activities” there.
I had been blogging for about a month or so– just off and on. Then one day– suddenly and unexpectedly, I got a 쪽지, “jjokji” or message, from a 작가, “jakka” or writer, who worked at OnStyle Korea.
To this day, I have no idea how she found me or my blog, but she said that she had seen some of my photos and thought that I would be a great fit for an up and coming reality TV show about 일반인, “ilbanin” or regular people, who become friends with 연예인, “yeonyaein” or celebrities.
Uhm, my photos? I only had a few uploaded– at least on my blog, and they were nothing special! But, they did match the concept of the show, which was about taking a closer look at the “celebrity” life through the eyes of a “regular” person.
(These are the few photos from my blog that I could find. Thankfully, one of my old friends who took them also uploaded them to her Facebook.)
The writer thought that I was Korean, which doesn’t really make sense, but I suppose she just assumed that I was Korean since I was blogging in Korean and on a Korean website.
(Again, I don’t know how she found me or my blog, and I also don’t know what photos she was talking about!)
Anyway, I started digging around, and I found the interview that she sent to me:
After I filled this out with the help of my Korean friend whose mom actually writes Korean dramas– she even wrote one of my favorite ones, I sent it to the writer at Onstyle Korea. Then, we had a phone interview.
In the end, they didn’t mind that I wasn’t actually Korean. In fact, they were excited about having a “sexy” foreigner on their reality TV show; and, having foreigners on Korean variety shows is actually a trend these days. But, they did mind that I wasn’t actually in Korea, and I was already in law school at this point, so I didn’t mind staying here in America, either!
When I actually got to Korea, I was scouted again: Twice in Apgujeong, once while out shopping and once while out clubbing, but I’ve already talked about that before.
Where to get scouted and where to audition?
Definitely Seoul! Yeoksam, Apgujeong, Nonhyun, Cheongdam, Sinsa– basically, the neighborhoods of Gangnam for both scouting and in person auditions. Maybe Myeongdong and Itaewon for scouting, too.
(There’s a reason why Kim Woo Bin left the countryside of South Korea to pursue his dreams in Seoul!)
So, for the girls that I have been talking to lately who are interested in modeling in Korea or being a part of the entertainment industry in Korea, this post is meant to encourage you to learn Korean and go to Korea– after all, it was really my knowledge of Korean and trip to Korea that gave me access to many of these opportunities.
If any of us are actually serious about our dreams to take ourselves where we want to go or to take the world where we want it to go, then we’ve got to get out there, and we’ve got to put ourselves out there.
After all, Mark Twain said the following:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
Wise words, Twain, wise words.