Foreign Entertainers and Influencers in Korea
A common point of agreement among interviewees and editors during this project was the dislike for the word influencer. None of us seem to agree with such a forced concept. It seemed kind of empty, more like a shell filled with unreal expectations to hide behind. Because what does it really mean and who has the power to influence us all? But most importantly, wouldn’t it be better to be inspired rather than influenced.
Influence seems to me like something that takes away a big chunk of our power of choice. Our will, that beautiful characteristic that allows us to make not only good choices but also mistakes that we will learn upon. Choices, good or bad are what ultimately makes us who we are today, so why are we searching for people to take away one of the most beautiful and precious things we have.
What makes an influencer? Is it the numbers, the likes, the shiny products, an impeccably beautiful picture where every single aspect was carefully planned out to look as natural as possible…
In my opinion as an editor, as a human, as a soul, there are no influencers in this world. There are only people. Very inspiring people, people with a lot of things to say, people with dreams, people who support others, people that maybe not know how to support others yet, people that encourage and many people who might not even be aware of all the power they have hiding inside.
Do you really want to be influenced or would you rather be inspired?
We all come across a lot of people every day and though small interactions like a smile, words or a kind hand to help out in times of need, we are able to create a positive memory, influence and even change people’s lives. You might not know it, but a shy smile might be saving someone’s life, or at least making their day a little bit brighter…
On the other hand, hateful words might be causing more damage that you will ever have imagined. Damage, that if you might have been aware of being creating you might have very deep regrets about. Words and small actions don’t go away with the wind, they stay. They edify or destroy. Creating a new reality, adding light or darkness to that sometimes lonely path we all walk along.
Give your best
Words and actions have an impact, cutting like a dagger or sawing open injuries because at the end of the day we are all influencers. We all influence people, and if that influence is positive o negative is at the end of the day our choice.
We can give that negative energy we might be receiving to that same person, we could try to dump it in somebody else, or we could grab all that crap and transform it into something positive and change that otherwise never-ending vicious circle.
We all have a lot of power that many of us might be unaware of. We are all influencers and because of that today we wanted to introduce you a couple of personalities that you might already know about, introducing them to you through a new perspective. Not from a shiny and unreachable pedestal, but as people.
People who alike with you and me, make daily choices to influence others around them. People who might make a positive influence, as well as sometimes mistakes, people who like you and me, have aspirations, dreams, and their own reality. People with lovely memories and wonderful and interesting lives but also their own struggles. We wanted to give you a more human approach to them, to their dreams, and their ideals, because at the end of the day, we are all people, and we all have things to be said.
Personalities in Korea
The thing that stroke me the most when interviewing Amy was her warm and sincere smile that got me sold from on our first handshake. She started telling me the story about how she first came to Korea around 2004, a time in which things like Facebook or video calling now part of the daily norm, where then phone cards and letters to her family and loved ones.
Brave, positive, and full of expectation she arrived with a mind as open as her heart. Ready to go along with whatever the future might have for her. The K-wave might have been far from a reality at that time, but she seemed to have an even better connection with Korea that she calls the “K-butterflies”. How she named that feeling she got on her stomach when she first landed in Korea, a hunch that seemed to be letting her know she had arrived exactly to where she should be.
From there onwards, she decided to follow her instinct and accept things as they came, being brave enough to do even those things that scared her, “ Sometimes I cried, but I did them anyway”. Challenging herself to do her best, her braveness brought her to where she is now, but when asked about the future, she stays real and humble. In her opinion, she is far from done with growing. “There is always room to grow and discover who you are because who you are and will be, does not have an answer, it is a lifelong question”.
With Korean as a major, he first arrived here on exchange but came back following his instinct and desires to live and learn new experiences. Willing and excited to bring new ideas to the table he has been working in Korea for a while and is now trying to balance his marketing career with the one of tv and entertainment.
Blair seems to me like a mix in between bright smiles, contagious energy, and positive attitude. Level headed among all that brightness, when asked about his biggest life motto, he mentioned trying to abide by his parent’s advice and example of being loving and doing more of that what makes him happy. At the same time believing that anybody able to inspire or influence others, must keep in mind that there is also an intrinsic responsibility attached to that privilege.
In his particular case, this responsibility translates into trying to be true to his mind and heart while being mindful of the fact that he might be setting an example for others as well. He admitted not being 100% sure of what he wants to do in the future long-term, but whatever the future holds for him we hope that he will always take his new paths with that contagious and charming smile of his.
Hugh & Nichola Gwon
Are a beautiful marriage and family that wants to create a positive movement through their own example. Loving and dedicated not only to each other and their newborn baby but also others. This power couple does not want to “just” change people’s minds towards multicultural families. They aspire to give and challenge much, much more.
Reaching out to society through their comics, books and youtube channel they create and share content not only in hopes of bringing another perspective into people’s realities but also trying to bring new inspiration, new strengths and a new found confidence for anyone that might be missing that small push needed to believe in themselves or to fight for what they want.
Nichola and Hugh want to help others achieve their dreams, give a voice to those who might not be easily heard and set new societal standards in which we are all able to understand and share our different realities, independently of where any of us come from.
You might come from another country, a rural area, a household with limited resources, a different kind of family…but no matter what it might be they are pushing for all of us to understand that we are all worthy and able to achieve any of our dreams, no matter how many times we might have been told that we will never make it.
The Brian bringing laughter and jokes during shooting time, had a 180 degree turn before my eyes when it was time to get interviewed. He might have only seemed like the jokester of the group, but do not let appearances fool you. He is indeed funny and most definitely able to bring a smile to your face, but his personality runs much deeper of what you might have initially thought at first glance.
Brian most striking quality was in my eyes his big empathy for others. The way he explained how he tries to treat everyone as an individual person and understand that everyone has their own story, fully believing that “as cliche as it sounds” we must never judge a book by its cover. He experienced first hand what it was to push through the tough times, learning along the way to be grateful and positive towards whatever situation he might come along.
He understands that sometimes it is easy to dwell on the bad but he strongly believes that we should hold onto the small things. All the daily treats that might seem insignificant but that at the end of the day there are the happiness in life. “We could always have more, so sometimes it is easy to compare oneself and feel unsatisfied, but if we always go behind material things we will miss the important things that happen along the way, so I try to be mindful and grateful for every little experience since there are the most valuable things we have.”
When asked about what makes her channel special, her answer “there is only one Nalu” might have seemed overly brave to many, but in fact the youtuber, with over a million subscribers had a very valid point that I could not do anything but agree with. Especially as she continued to further explain: “there are a lot of creators, but there are never two people that create the same, because their personalities are different, so at the end of the day it is that creator what makes the experience so special, the same way that we are all special and irreplaceable in our daily life.”
With that Nalu wants everybody to know that we all have something to bring to the table, even when it might seem like the table is quite crowded, there will be nobody that can bring exactly what you have because we are all our unique selves. She encourages you to push the boundaries because at the end of the day boundaries are there to be challenged.
Thankful for her path and mentioning how much she has grown along with her channel and viewers, she believes that she is still learning daily and that she has a lot of things that she wants to do, as she aspires to work harder for her followers, to bring them better content every day.
Soft-spoken and sweet but with strong standards and clear intentions. At 23 and living so far away from home, she has come across may difficulties, that she has always tried to push through with a big smile and the support of her beloved sister. “We are each other’s rocks when I doubt myself she is always there. And in the same unconditional way, I am always there for her. Whatever she might need. It does not matter if it is my strength, love or care, whatever she needs I will always be there for her.”
Maeva has also gone through pretty difficult situations, as many of us do in a foreign country, but her take is to never give up on what you really want. It might be hard, but everything is possible if you put enough strength. No matter how many times someone told you that you were not good enough.
As a model, you face rejection many times and we all know that at times that one “NO” can resonate stronger than a hundred yes, but if you really want something you have to try and give your best anyway. With this, she wants to encourage everybody to follow their dreams, but especially she wants to set an example for women of color letting them know that yes they can do it just like she was able to do it too.
At some point in between dancing, learning the culture and his desire of finding a more exciting and fast-paced lifestyle away from the city where he was born, Robin developed an interest for Korea that made him say “au revoir” to his home country France and move across the world chasing for his dreams. It has now been 10 years since he moved here and he still has a spark on his eyes while speaking about his life in Korea and how much he has yet to discover.
He loves how acting allows him to be a different person and even discover parts of himself that he did not know he had. Acting dissipates his shyness while giving him a wider perspective to understand many situations. Acting allows him to put himself more easily in other people´s shoes.
Therefore now, on his new projects as an actor, Robin is not only extremely dedicated to working hard and to learn all he can from all the extremely talented “sunbaes” that he really admires but he really wants to set a new example breaking barriers and standards not only in the entertainment world but also society.
He wants to motivate others and prove that foreigners can also act outside the regular foreigner role, even when it might be harder for him to learn the lines and intonation in a different language he is willing to put whatever effort and work is needed to make it happen, hoping this will be a source of inspiration for others to fight in their fields as well.
Written by: Lorena Jiménez
For: Groove Magazine Dec- Jan Issue
Pictures by: Song Hyun Ju
That was all for today, but if you are curious, you can always check some more of my printed articles.