At just 16 years old, Korea’s first Korean-African model Han Hyun Min is already making waves for his unique style.
This biracial beauty, born and raised in Seoul, inherited his striking looks from his Nigerian father and Korean mother.
Talk about winning the genetic lottery!
Han Hyun Min has only been professionally modeling for a couple of years now, but he is already well on his way to becoming a successful model. He has appeared in a number of fashion shows, including Seoul Fashion Week.
Unfortunately, Han Hyun Min has had to overcome many obstacles along the way, namely racism in the fashion industry.
Even though he was born and raised in Seoul, Han Hyun Min is treated like a foreigner by some people in the Korean fashion industry. He dislikes the nickname fashion designers have given him, “Paul,” and only wishes to be called by his real name. He has also been rejected by his favorite fashion designer that designer was not interested in hiring black people.
Often times, people will also try to speak to Han Hyun Min in English, despite the fact that he only speaks his native language: Korean.
“People would not talk to me backstage at fashion shows because they thought I didn’t speak Korean. But once they learned I did, people start to gather around me and talk to me. I would participate in the rehearsals and coordinators there yell out orders in English only to me. I would wait until the end and tell them I don’t speak English so please talk to me in Korean.” – Han Hyun Min
Even though the road to fashion stardom hasn’t been a smooth one, Han Hyun Min remains positive and uses his unique appearance to his advantage.
“My strength lies in my different look from others. I look different from my outer appearance and I have a different skin color, which I find the best. I was a super skinny boy standing 184 centimeters tall and weighing 56 kilograms last year. My friends called me anchovy.” – Han Hyun Min
His hard work and dedication paid off in his second season of modeling after he became one of Seoul Fashion Week‘s top models with eleven fashion show appearances under his belt.
“I could not believe I participated in the show. I’ve never learned to walk as a model and I only watched them on shows on YouTube.” – Han Hyun Min
This dedicated model takes his career very seriously and isn’t afraid to go the extra mile. He once practiced walking in 12-centimeter heels at gay clubs in order to prepare for a gender-neutral fashion show.
Unfortunately, on the day of the show, Han Hyun Min was replaced by a different model.
When Han Hyun Min began modeling, one of his goals was to model in Japan. He achieved this after shooting for Japanese Gentlemen’s Quarterly.
In an interview, Han Hyun Min revealed that his ultimate goal is to be able to model without people looking at him curiously for being different.
Fortunately, this runway star has learned to ignore the occasional bouts of discrimination and keeps a positive mindset!