[Video] 77 student models strut down catwalk ‘cherry blossom way’

By Lim Jeong-yeo
  • Published : Apr 5, 2018 - 16:33
  • Updated : Apr 6, 2018 - 10:20

Since 2014, student models of Daeduk University have hosted an unusual catwalk under cherry blossom trees in full bloom.

Daeduk University is located in the center of South Korea in Daejeon and runs a two-year program for aspiring models. Students learn proper posture and the many ways to execute a walk with style. The university’s “Department of Model” was established in 2014 and has since gained fame through its catwalk under the cherry blossoms. Both male and female students participate, although traditionally the women lead the show. The outdoor class is the brainchild of professor Lim Joo-wan, the dean of admissions for the modeling curriculum.

On Tuesday, a day before the weather forecast predicted nationwide rain that could wash away the cherry blossom petals, some 70 students from the Department of Model donned all black and stepped in to black stiletto heels to show off the results of their training. With an average height of over 185 centimeters for male students and 175cm for females, the tall figures created an overwhelming scene.

(Shot and edited by Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)

Professor Kim Min-ok, who has been with the school since 2011, oversaw the outdoor event in the absence of professor Lim, who was away to direct a commercial shoot featuring some of the pupils.

“The most important trait of a good model is sound character,” Kim said. “Models are essentially performers. To create a good show, a good personality is a must.”

Kim took the example of punctuality as what she means by disciplined character. Other points that matter the most to a model are posture and confident facial expressions, according to Kim.

Students of Daeduk University’s Department of Model strut under cherry blossoms on Tuesday. (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)

Kim said the students that especially left lasting impressions on her were those who were not bestowed with innate features, but overcame physical disadvantages with effort and perseverance.

Senior class representative Seo Dong-wook, 19, would have pursued his childhood dream of becoming a soccer player had he not been encouraged so many times by people around him to try out modeling. Seo is a towering 192 centimeters tall.

“Although I wanted to be a soccer player, having been in shows I know the inspiration modeling gives me and how it drives me to train more," Seo said. 

When asked about the most difficult part of aspiring to enter the professional modeling field, Seo said, "One concern I have is that modeling jobs seldom come in steadily, and being in many shows doesn’t necessarily mean the income is stable."

Seo likes to dress smartly in neat, iron-pressed styles off the runway. And he still plays soccer with friends in his free time.

Students of Daeduk University’s Department of Model strut under cherry blossoms on Tuesday. (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)

Jeong Ha-neul, 19, had been scouted twice on the streets by representatives from modeling agencies. It was around that time that her dream of becoming a pianist was fading, so she decided to give modeling a serious try by enrolling in the Daeduk University program.

“With piano, I was always pushing myself to fit in to a mold. I have come to love myself more since I started modeling,” Jeong said.

“Modeling has a fancy facade, but there are many things one has to endure to become a good model. For me, it’s controlling my emotions,” said Jeong, “In sadness or in anger, a model must not show her emotions. She has to smile, change facial expression and postures as she is requested.”

Jeong likes to dress down and lounge in casual sneakers when she isn’t modeling. She says her short-term goal is to be in the next Seoul Fashion Week, and to be in a show overseas in the long term.

In Korea, schools with modeling curricula also include Seoul’s Dongduk Women’s University, Digital Seoul Culture Arts University and Seokyeong University, Gyeonggi Province’s International University, North Gyeongsang Province’s Daekyeung University, North Jeolla Province’s Paekche Institute of the Arts, South Jeolla Province’s Chunnam Techno University and Busan’s Busan Kyungsang College.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (