Laura Kell
CoverModels' Laura Kell
Avenue Magazine (Korea)

Laura Kell

June 28, 2021

It all feels a bit like a dream. One day I'm a Pre-Law and English major in Ottawa, studying for midterms, working part-time in a restaurant and hanging out with my sorority sisters, the ladies of Alpha Pi Phi. The next, I am jetting out to an Asian country -one I never would have considered visiting, had it not been for the line of work I stumbled into a year ago. One has to admit that the modelling industry is quite a particular industry. In twelve hours, I go from slave-to-the-Canadian-Criminal-Code to international "Glamazon" (as my good friend, Taylor, likes to call me).


I arrive in Seoul groggy and nervous, on a Wednesday afternoon in late May. When my manager, Shin, greets me at the airport, I can see he is thoroughly shocked with the amount of luggage I have carted across the Pacific Ocean. The term, "pack light," does not apply to me. I have two large hockey bags full of clothing, toiletries and LSAT study guides. I have sunscreen, laundry soap and healthy snacks, nestled in between my "essential" shoes (fives pairs of high-heels and boots, two pairs of sandals and my Coach sneakers) and rain gear. I have band-aids, cough syrup and extra vitamins. I have back-ups of my soap, facewash and shampoo. I have travel guides, I have bug spray, and I came to Seoul prepared for anything.

I haul my luggage into Shin's car, and we proceed to drive into downtown Seoul. I am exhausted, but cannot help to stare out the window of the van. Everything, from the architecture of the bridges we cross to the humidity in the air, is mesmerizing. I have difficulties grasping the fact that I am in Asia, and will be living here for the next three months.

Shin drops me - and my thousand pounds of luggage - off at the model apartment, and I meet my roommates, Erica (from the United States) and Dominika (from Poland). After a twelve hour flight the only thing I want to do is sleep, but my roommates coax me into going out for dinner with them instead.

As the three of us wander the streets of Seoul, passing upscale cafés and clothing boutiques, I begin to feel as if I were in a dream. Between the neon convenience-store lights and spicy scents wafting out of restaurants, combined with a foreign language filling my ear, my senses become extremely overwhelmed. Much to my relief, we soon stumble upon Food 2900, a casual fast-food style restaurant. I soon learn that Food 2900 is extremely popular amongst the models in Seoul. The menu has an English-translated section, along with pictures; the food is inexpensive, not too spicy and delicious. I order a plate of steamed "Mangu" (dumplings), and scarf down a bowl of Miso soup while waiting for my entrée. After dinner, my roommates try to coax me into joining them for desert. Waffles, apparently, are a popular treat in South Korea and my roommates have discovered a stand that sells them, near our local subway station. Out of exhaustion, I decline. Erica and Dominika walk me back home, before venturing out again in search of dessert. Alone in the apartment, I collapse onto my twin bed and allow exhaustion to take over my body. I sleep a deep sleep for the next thirteen hours.


I soon find myself thrown into a whirlwind of castings and TVC auditions, editorial and catalogue jobs. "Anything can happen at castings so be prepared" reads a line out of the View Model Management model guide book. Quite right. At one casting, we're asked to dance ballet. For another, the director of a commercial wants to know if we can be sad and cry on command. One day, I receive a call from the agency. "Can you swim?" Shin asks. "You booked an editorial and we want to make sure that you'll be comfortable shooting underwater." Fortunately for me I am Royal Academy of Dance ballet-trained, took acting classes in high school and have been swimming since the age of three. I break out my best pas-de-chats, allow tears to stream down my face on camera and move like a mermaid in Christian Dior dresses two meters underwater.

Over the past year, I guess you could say that I've sort of developed a bit of a modelling motto: "Never say no" (within reason, of course). So, when the opportunity to travel to Seoul came into my life, of course I jumped at it - along with all the odd casting and job requests. Right now, I have been in South Korea for just over a month and love every moment of it. Work has been keeping me plenty busy, although I always make time to sightsee and, of course, shop. So, as long as Seoul keeps asking me to do it, I will continue to dance, cry and swim my way to success in South Korea's modelling industry.

Laura Kell is a CoverModels' model, with View in Seoul.


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