Probably one of the questions that I get asked the most is ‘How do you become a model in Korea?’ Well, there isn’t just one simple answer. It’s an entire profession, so of course, there are various points of entry and not everyone’s stories will be the same. However, here is a general guideline of the things you will need to do in order to begin your life as a model in South Korea.
1. Work on Your Craft
I understand that working in entertainment is a job that from afar can seem glamorous. And so, people seem to be curious about modeling and acting. Yet what I first want you to understand is that working in entertainment, is a job. Just like any other profession, there are both good and bad aspects. AND, just like anything else, you need to have the right qualifications and skills to get the job done.
Many people seem to think that you can just become a model by putting yourself in front of a camera, writing model on your Instagram feed, and taking a couple of snaps. But, that is just not the case. Just like you would not let a doctor treat people without studying and learning about the craft – if you want to work as a model you need to build your skills.
So if you really want to become a model or actor/actress, the first thing you need to do is to is study. Learn, take courses, take care of your physique, look at what professionals are doing, and the most important of all: practice, practice, practice. If you really want to model in Korea or work in entertainment that is the only way.
2. Build your Portfolio
To work as a model or actor the first thing you need to do is to show your skills, and for that, you will need a portfolio. A while ago, portfolios used to be done mostly professionally, through a photographer, an agent, or a studio. These books are the visual collection of your best pictures or previous work.
Nowadays with phone cameras and many people wanting to be more creative you have many other ways to put together a portfolio. You can reach photographers that offer TFP work (Time for pictures), take polaroids yourself with the help of a tripod or a friend, or even hire someone that is within your price range.
Once you have enough good quality content you will want to display it somewhere. For that, you can decide what will work best for you. It can be anything from creating a professional-looking webpage yourself or even opening a work Instagram profile where people will be able to access your content.
3. Find Your Agency
Once you have put together a good portfolio, it is time to do one of the hardest parts of the job: find the right agency. This part is especially crucial to model in Korea. You need an agency to sponsor your visa. The entertainer visa, otherwise known as E,6 is one of the few visas through which you can legally work as a model or actor in Korea. And, these visas can only be obtained through agencies. There is absolutely no way around it.
To find an agency, I can only recommend you use patience and do loads of searching. I also wish you a lot of luck, because it is not the easiest task. First, do your research to find suitable entertainment companies. Once you have a list of candidates, do further research to see if those companies sponsor visas, are currently looking for talent, or even if they represent the kind of model you are striving to be (there are many types of modeling and not all agencies are looking for the same kind of talent).
When you find all the important information you need, reach out to agencies to send them your portfolio and contact information. Lastly, once you can find a suitable agency, you can sign your contract and apply for the necessary working visa to start your entertainment career.
4. Respect the Profession
Last but not least I want to remind you to respect the profession. Being in the entertainment industry and working as a model in Korea is not easy. So please do your best to keep the working environment at its best. Be professional, do not accept underpaid jobs as you will be lowering the salaries of everyone in the profession in the long term. Do not undercut other talents, be respectful, and aim to do your best.
Even if you happen to be a natural talent with all the right body, facial proportions, and a lot of luck when landing gigs – keep on working to improve your craft. Usually work and patience are required to improve any craft and modeling is no different. So learn all you can and constantly better yourself.
If you are not willing to work for it as you would in any other profession, I ask you to please step out of entertainment. It not only hurts yourself but also the profession as a whole. And if you are willing to do what it takes, give it your all and go big!
If you are putting together your modeling portfolio, you won’t want to miss this article! Click Here to read all about creating a Korean modeling portfolio.