Design Your Life
The Black Expat: Being A Black Model In South Korea
By DeAnna Taylor
Taylor is 25-years old and hails from Las Vegas, NV. After graduating from college, she worked in hospitality for a little over a year. She currently lives in Seoul, South Korea where she is a full time English teacher and a freelance model and actress.
We had the chance to speak with her about her experience as a black model and expat in South Korea.
Travel Noire: Why did you make the move abroad?
Taylor: I lived in Japan for almost two years as a kid and studied abroad in university, so I always saw myself moving abroad. How I ended up in South Korea is a bit of a long story. Short version: I thought I was coming here to end a long distance relationship, but ended up finding my own wild path in South Korea.
Travel Noire: What are the biggest challenges you face as a black woman in South Korea?
Taylor: I’ve struggled with measuring my worthiness by the validation from Korean people here. Whether it’s my appearance, or my Korean language ability, at times I forget that I am allowed to be here and my that journey is not dependent on the approval of others.
Travel Noire: What is the best thing about being a black woman in Korea?
Taylor: I love how I can just walk up to black women I may not even know, anywhere I see them and affirm their Queendom. Most of the time it’s appreciated and reciprocated. In this very Korean space, we have our own “club”. It’s freeing and makes me feel like I belong here.
Travel Noire: Tell us how you became a model in South Korea?
Taylor: Following a short introduction to modeling in the States before moving to S. Korea, I had the opportunity to model and act in a handful of unique fashion shows and shoots. But, I found my love for runway modeling here after being asked to do a really big show here.
Travel Noire: What has it been like to be a model in a place where whiter skin is glorified?
Taylor: It’s true that there is an overwhelming demand for white talent in Korea. However, this sentiment exists throughout the world. Learning how to: put myself out there, maintain self love despite rejections, connect with other black talents, and to always be ready to do my own makeup (to avoid looking ghostly) have been essential to me modeling and acting here.
Travel Noire: Do you plan to move back home? If so, when?
Taylor: I plan to visit my family and friends, but I don’t see myself ever living in the States again.
Travel Noire: What advice do you have for our readers wanting to move abroad?
Taylor: Find the black people in the area you are interested in living in and ask questions! I corresponded with a black woman for over two months from the city I initially thought I was moving to, and she helped me tremendously even getting to S. Korea, and hosted me my first week here! Also, if you are dreaming of moving abroad, start looking for signs of it right now! I started hearing Korean, seeing “Made in Korea” labels, meeting Korean people, all before I committed to the move.
Travel Noire: Where can our readers find you if they have questions?
Taylor: You can find me on IG at @uniquely_rivers_.
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel writer. The Charlotte native recently completed one year abroad working as an English teacher in South Korea. Her hobbies include fitness, traveling to new countries, and trying new foods.