Know Everything About Russian Model Living in Korea

Know Everything About Russian Model Living in Korea


Korea is considered one of the trendsetters in the fashion world: if something is popular here, after several months or a year, you will see the trends spread to other countries as well.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

With new brands being born every day and big companies building their subsidiaries in South Korea, the market for models is bigger than ever, including foreign models.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

In this interview, we sat down with Anastasia Kochurova (or Nastya K) and talked about her career in the modeling industry, the perks, and cons, and how being a model influences you.

First things first, Anastasia is a 25-year-old Russian Model, mainly focusing on Asian markets: she's been to China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Korea numerous times. She started her modeling career at 17 out of curiosity about what it would be like to travel around the world and earn a living. It turned out to be quite an experience, with its ups and downs, but she never regretted making that decision.

(Anastasia Kochurova Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

It's now the 6th time that Anastasia came to work in Korea, and it seems that she is still fully in love with the country and is even trying to learn the language, which helps her in everyday life and work. Besides, unlike in China, the working conditions appear to be not as harsh:

"For China, the work is much harder, it's horrible. They really don't care about you: you can work up to 14 hours without any breaks. And your work time would stop if you were to go to the toilet or take a lunch break. They can cut your hair, dye it, burn it - all of it happens in China. So, it's more comfortable in Korea, and I like the food better."

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Apart from international work experience, modeling brought Anastasia many other things she is grateful for. One of them being connections all over the world: over the years, Anastasia managed to build quite a friend group in Korea: starting from co-workers in a modeling agency to K-pop idols with that they would cross paths during work:

"Modeling stands pretty close to the entertainment industry, and I know quite a few celebrities who are literally chased down the streets. And I talk to them like to normal people, which is super cool. When I was in China, a friend of mine who is a K-pop idol came there too, and we picked an outfit for him to go to the airport so that he'd look cool. Like, come on, what kind of life is that guys? Overall, they really do live a different life, and the best thing is that through such meetings on these trips, you can always learn something."

(Anastasia Kochurova Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Besides that, working as a model builds character, and teaches you the work ethic. Anastasia states that after her first modeling trip, she felt like she could handle anything life would throw at her: this work taught her to be adaptable, more easy-going, and oriented towards her self-development, and taught her money management.

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During all the modeling trips, the life in the different countries is anything but luxurious: usually, models are given around 100$ per week, and they must get by with it no matter what, as they are paid for fir their work only at the very end of the trip. So, there are some valuable lessons to be taken from the experience, but at what cost?

(Anastasia Kochurova Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Modeling is not only about traveling the world and meeting new people. At the end of the day, modeling is still work and has its own difficulties. The most obvious one is adhering to the numerous rules, including watching your weight constantly.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

In China and Japan, Anastasia was weighed every week, and in Korea, she had to take body measurements. And if that doesn't give you anxiety over your body image, then going to casting every day, being constantly compared to other people, turned down, and hearing endless comments about your looks will do the trick:

"Well, I guess you get used to getting turned down but imagine having 12 castings per day and getting rejected on all of them. The clients would say, "She's ugly, we are not taking her", "She's too fat, we are not picking her", "Her eyes are weird, her eyebrows are not even, hairstyle is not nice"."

"I heard every possible thing that is wrong with me from the top of my head to the end of my fingertips. Everything! I know my weak spots and how I can be not suitable for a client."

(Anastasia Kochurova Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

It messes with everyone's head. Some models go to therapists after modeling trips, and all of them suffer from eating disorders, and it's hard to get high self-esteem and love yourself in this industry, contrary to popular beliefs.

Another thing is the unpredictability of the working schedule. You are never sure how your day will go, and even if you have a set schedule, the work can always go over time. The longest working day that Anastasia has had was 36 hours with a 15-minute break, where she had to go to her place and wash her hair. She also had to work through a fever in China because you can never turn down or disappoint a client.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

And, of course, the stereotypes - a lot of times, Anastasia doesn't even mention to people that she is working as a model, as it comes with a stigma: "Maybe it's because of Moscow but being a model in Russia just means that you are into escort or prostitution". And it's one thing when some people just silently make some assumptions about you, but it becomes an issue when applying for a visa:

"The models who get contracts and go to different countries, at least to my knowledge, are not prostitutes! To get here, we must prove that we have worked for big brands. When applying for my visa, I had to list all my big works, like Adidas, CJ, and Samsung. And the girl in front of me forgot to print her model pictures and was denied a visa!"

(Anastasia Kochurova Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

"If you end up coming to Korea as a model and get caught doing other stuff… well, it’s not like you get the death penalty, but you get deported forever, and maybe you can go to prison if you’re caught in the country. And you will get blacklisted in all of the countries that are allies of Korea.

So no, we are not like that. And if we are shooting in underwear… yes, we do get paid more, that’s true. But if we are shooting with some famous actor or singer, it doesn’t mean we sleep with them afterward!"

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

"If we get a big job, it doesn‚Äôt mean we slept our way to it, no! We go to a casting and get picked there, they‚Äôd say, ‚ÄúNope, you look horrible, you‚Äôre ugly and fat, and she‚Äôs okay, that will do‚ÄĚ, and then they look at another 30 models. So, when I am asked what I'm¬†doing in Russia, I never say modeling. Because everyone will just think that I am easy, frivolous, never think about the future and a prostitute."

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

As with every experience, Anastasia believes that even though you can't ignore the hard parts, you still must focus on the good side and the lessons you get from experiencing any hardships. With such a mindset, working as a model becomes a very enriching experience in all aspects - financial and personality-wise. But it is not a job for the weak-minded - even though it can be a great chance to push your boundaries, you should not do it at the expense of your mental state.

"If you're open, you will get a lot of things from modeling: money, knowledge, and emotions. But the most important thing is to not lose yourself and care for your health. If you're not ready and will be influenced by everything and everyone, your mental state can get seriously damaged."

(Anastasia Kochurova Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

"It's better to travel with positive thinking, a good attitude, no jealousy, and love what you do because you chose to come and work here. And you can tell your children about your experience afterwards! That is the coolest thing!"

"I realized that during my previous work: I was on the seashore, and our clients bought us food and drinks. And we were just sitting there, and I realized that these are the stories I would tell my children. Because it's the greatest thing is to share your experience with others, share what you have."

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Author: Irina

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