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Sat, Jan 09, 2010
The Straits Times
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Dead Korean model felt insecure, said she didn't fit in

Seoul - Fans and friends yesterday expressed shock at the death of a South Korean supermodel who was found hanged in her central Paris apartment last week.

Ms Daul Kim's friends paid tribute to the rising star, following reports of the 20-year-old's apparent suicide last Thursday.

Mr Ahn Seong Jin, a photographer who had often worked with Ms Kim, said she was full of ideas and creativity.

'She was able to make various looks and postures on catwalks that can hardly be matched by others,' he was quoted as saying by Agence France-Presse.

The 1.78m supermodel made her fashion week debut for Chanel, Dries Van Noten and Maison Martin Margiela in 2007 and recently appeared in a commercial for Christopher Kane's Topshop line.

She was born in Seoul and lived in Malaysia before moving to Singapore with her family at the age of seven.

But behind the glitz and glamour of the runway, Ms Kim cut an insecure, lonely and depressed figure who never felt a sense of belonging.

In an interview with British fashion and lifestyle magazine i-D published in July last year, she said she was talent-spotted in Singapore when she was 13. She quit school two years later and returned to South Korea to focus on her fledging career.

'I didn't fit in. The other girls were really bitchy. It was like something out of Mean Girls,' she told i-D magazine.

But because she could barely speak Korean and had no friends there, she had a hard time fitting in back home.

'On moving back to Korea from Singapore, I had nothing,' she recalled.

Then came her big break at the age of 16, when she modelled for Martin Margiela. The following year, while still in her first season, she was called up by Chanel.

She made occasional references to her time in Singapore on her blog 'I Like To Fork Myself', named after her obsession with collecting forks.

In a post dated July 12 this year, she talked about how she would skip school when she was 14 or 15 and spend time drawing at a 'famous cinematographer' neighbour's house.

In another entry dated June 29 last year, she wrote that 'I always saw ah bengs', whom she referred to as 'cheap/tacky but somehow you are so drawn to', and posted a few YouTube clips from Royston Tan's Ah Beng-themed movie 15.

Her tendency to feel depressed started as early as her time in Singapore, according to her blog.

In the July 12 post, she mentioned that her cinematographer neighbour would tell her things like 'I'm not really depressed, I'm just pretending so that I could skip school'.

Samaritans of Singapore (SOS): 1800-2214444
Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-2837019
Sage Counselling Centre: 1800-5555555
Care Corner Mandarin Counselling: 1800-3535800

This article was first published in The Straits Times.

readers' comments
Depression is a mental disease and if not treated will most often lead to suicide. It is not a trivial mood change, but a serious disorder, that must be diagnosed early. It is often not just due to one's inability to cope with life, but an innate and genetic disposition that sufferers cannot avoid without professional help.
Posted by honkypong on Tue, 24 Nov 2009 at 17:37 PM
Her bad luck was her good look and modeling talent. The commercial world is an animal jungle. Everyone in there is for money and many of them are fully built with killer-instinct buttons. Make it simply, they will use her like a horse, then sell her meat as horse meal when she is useless. Her competitors, employers are pretty but may not be the type of ordinary people you find them in your neighborhood. She started too young at 13, a girl should have studied in sec 1 or 2. Her job was nothing but walking and sitting, while she thought it was glamorous. As stated, her reality was empty and pitiful. To sum up, her short life was being used by others, including people close to her. If she has had more years of preparation in school, sheltered and nurtured in a properly guided environment, she would have been .....
Posted by last_laugh on Tue, 24 Nov 2009 at 12:15 PM
What a waste.??/ This people given a life prefer to threw it away while there are many wanting to live but not given a chance. Cannot fit in?? Nobody is born to fit in anyway, we all have to learn how to fit is the survival of the fittest. Cannot fit in, then move on to another area one is forced to stay in one place. Obviously still young to think logically and rationally. It's a pity that she rather shut the world away from her for good. I wish her peace in her next journey to amother far away land.

I really hope everyone treasure each of hsi/her own life. We all have only one life, dun just threw it away like that. Before you do that, go and take a look at those worse than you and struggling to live each day, .....
Posted by gundamwingX on Tue, 24 Nov 2009 at 09:39 AM
what a waste such a talented and beautiful young woman just to killed herself is beyond comprehension.why do it death is a one way is not a solution. you may not know where you may end up or down for that matter. help are available. all life are precious,no matter what.
Posted by ryanmil51 on Tue, 24 Nov 2009 at 08:12 AM

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