In the perpetually changing fashion industry, male models have become as desirable as the female ones. A growing number of brands now offer a broader range of menswear which allows more male models to expand their horizons outside of the runway – and that’s what the 23-year-old Heo Hyo-ryeong, represented by A.Conic, has been doing. His career has just started taking off; the young man has great confidence, good attitude, and presence – all crucial characteristics for one aiming to become a successful model.
Heo Hyo-ryeong for Chaos From Undermind © Chaos From Undermind & its photographer
Heo Hyo-ryeong has a less generic ‘look’, which is contributing to him slowly becoming more recognizable to the public. He uses various modelling jobs as the building blocks of his career; his catwalk and editorial work will, sooner or later, undoubtedly also lead him to high-profile commercial work. He did runaway for many designers, including Man.G and Kim Seo-ryong (SS19 at the Olympic Park Tennis Court) as well as editorial work for Chaos From Undermind, Pros-Specs, and Umbro Korea.
With his optimistic existence and his noticeable appearance, it is only a matter of time before Hyo-ryeong makes his way to foreign markets as well – the UK fashion market, for one, is in a great need of people like him, not to mention the British fashion magazines where there is a visible lack of diversity when it comes to Asian models.
In the past week, we caught up with Hyo-ryeong and chatted about what modelling is like in South Korea and about fashion life in general.
Heo Hye-ryeong for Umbro Korea © Umbro Korea
Do you remember the first moment when you felt that your future should lie in the fashion business?
Yes, I remember. While watching magazine and fashion show videos, I had the thought that I also wanted to model.
You have started modelling not long ago; has modelling changed other aspects of your life?
Since I’m now working as a model, I have started to take better care of myself. I practice my runway walk through my daily walks and I also began to care about my fashion style and how I normally behave in public.
Heo Hyo-ryeong at the last year’s Seoul Fashion Week © A.Conic
How would you describe your own fashion style? Consider anything and everything from colour to historical eras and more.
My fashion style is such that I treat every moment as if it was an audition – the colours should match every style, like a rainbow.
Fashion trends change rapidly, no matter the country and style. What are the fashion trends you love the most this year?
Leopard pattern and oversized clothes are my favourite fashion trends this year.
What does the fashion mean to you?
I think fashion is a weapon that shows my inner self to others.
Modelling requires to be in a top form, what do you do to stay in shape?
I control my diet and exercise in order to maintain the best condition at all times.
Do you ever get shy in front of the camera?
I’ve never been shy in front of a camera. That’s because I like being in front of the camera.
Heo Hyo-ryeong – Photo © Courtesy of the photographer
Is there any habit you follow before you walk out on the stage or in front of a camera for a fashion shoot?
Before I go on stage, I simply walk and walk a lot. In order to express the feelings that I’m trying to pursue, I watch the past season’s videos of that particular stage/arena. Before fashion shoots, I practice by taking pictures of myself with my phone and also by looking at various fashion magazines.
What do you think is your greatest strength as a model?
My greatest strength as a model is to get everyone to look only at me while I am on stage.
Which part of your job as a model do you find the most difficult? And which is the most rewarding?
The hardest thing about being a model is to maintain a certain diet, you know, and to always be in the best shape. I think it’s rewarding when those moments pass and I have the time to find myself.
Heo Hyo-ryeong © Kim Yoon-woo
What is your favourite thing to do on a day off?
I usually watch movies or practice my facial expressions on my days off, because I think it would be nice if my face could show a greater variety of facial expressions.
Alexander McQueen once said, “Youth culture now really looks back and embraces the past, but keeps it contemporary by not sticking to one particular style.” It seems like the younger generation seeks inspiration from the past, how do you see your generation when it comes to fashion?
I don’t think there’s an end to fashion. Fashion tends to make comebacks, defining an era.
Modelling industry is known to be harsh; how do you perceive Korean modelling industry? Is there anything you really wish would change?
It seems like models audition all the time. One has to compete in order to get on stage. I think models are being compared to each other so much in Korea – you don’t know your individuality and you are busy comparing yourself to others.
As modelling career is relatively short; do you have any plans for the future when you leave modelling?
I intend to work even harder as a model in the future. My life is really fun and I am really happy right now. After I stop modelling, I want to try acting. That’s why my goal is to study more from now on.
We’d like to thank A.Conic for their assistance in the interview and to Heo Hyo-ryeong who kindly took the time to answer our questions.
Written and interviewed by Maggie Gogler
Edited by Sanja Struna
Translation by Ajda Rozina
All Other Photos © A.Conic