“I am a first generation Korean American and my parents, Mike and Gye Sun Kim, immigrated here from South Korea about 35 years ago.“ Raised in a traditional household, Kim’s parents sought for him and his sister to pursue careers in a more professional manner (i.e medical, business, law.) During his sophomore year at George Mason University, he was casually asked by one of his friends for a modeling favor. Kim had no prior experience but was convinced to give it a shot.
Kim tells us, “at the time he (friend) was a women’s fashion designer and had a photoshoot scheduled to debut his line. He told me he needed a male model for the shoot and wanted me to be that guy. I honestly thought it was hilarious he would even consider me and I originally told him I wasn’t sure I was right for the job. After a little back and forth, I agreed to model for him. Long story short, the shoot goes well and the finals shots were received pretty well (surprisingly) by many locals within the fashion/modeling industry. This led me to do my first show at a local runway event. I met some great people there and ended up networking my way to getting signed with an agency, thanks to Jahmar!”
So what now? Justin Kim has been making media waves for being the first Asian American Male on ANTM, “I wanted to set precedence for those that could relate to me and my story. There’s an epidemic going on within first generation households that results in dreams being altered or shot down by the influence of traditional views that parents have. I hope that me pursuing my dreams and doing what makes me happy in life inspires them to do the same. ANTM has also given me an opportunity to represent a demographic that has so long been misrepresented and underrepresented in society.”
This season of ANTM has shaped up to be a very interesting cast ranging in race, height, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. So what’s next for Kim? “I definitely hope to partake in NYFW once the show is over with. I’ve always imagined what it would be like walking in NYFW for some of my favorite designers (Y-3, Public School, HVRMINN, Givenchy, Rick Owens, etc.). I would also love the opportunity to work overseas, especially in Korea. Gotta go back to my roots!“
We’re rooting for Justin here at the Bob Cut office, remember to post your #JustinANTM, to show Justin that you’re rooting for him as well.
Photography by Randolph Garrett.