updated 10 Jun 2012, 17:02
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Sun, May 06, 2012
The New Paper
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I'd rather be called attractive than pretty
by Charlene Chua

She never thought she was pretty.

So joining Korea's Next Top Model 2 was a leap of faith for her.

Ironically, her unconventional look won the day.

Jin Jung Sun beat 14 other hopefuls and scored top honours on the popular Korean reality TV modelling competition.

The finale episode aired yesterday over tvN (StarHub Ch 824).

Jin, 16, told The New Paper in an e-mail interview: "As a model, I prefer people calling me attractive rather than pretty. I could truly love myself after being a model.

"My special features are my rounded forehead and clean, translucent skin. These helped to differentiate myself from others.

"The judges and other people told me that I had a unique individuality as a model."

The season marathon of Korea's Next Top Model 2 was aired on Saturday from 12.20pm on tvN.

The show is a spin-off from the hit US TV show America's Next Top Model and shares the same format.

Cash prize

The 1.74m-tall girl with a teeny 58cm waist scored herself a cover girl shoot on W Magazine Korea, a contract with skin care brand SK-II and a cool cash prize of 100 million won (S$100,000).

The judges - host-model Jang Yoon Ju, fashion designer Jeong Ku Ho, photographer Zo Sun Hee and V Magazine's editor-in-chief Lee Hye Ju - crowned Jin the winner after 12 episodes of gruelling competition.

Among the challenges were photo shoots, runway shows, makeovers and talk shows.

Jin, who is the youngest of three daughters, admitted that she had always dreamt of pursuing modelling as a full-time career.

She had placed all her hopes on the reality show to be her stepping stone into the fashion industry.

Said Jin: "Actually, I was unsure if I could be a winner. I was hopeful, but I never expected myself to win.

"With so many strong competitors who are already models, I naturally took on the challenges with trepidation.

"But I always give my best in everything I do and hope for my efforts to pay off. And they did."

But the road to victory wasn't smooth.

Jin was criticised by viewers after the third episode, which showed her frowning as the host was complimenting another contestant's photograph.

She put that down to being in pain, as well as TV editing.

She said: "After that frowning expression... aired, my attitude became an issue with the public. Actually, I was really tired and my legs really hurt at that time.

"We had to stand on high heels, with strong lighting for five hours to shoot the judging scene, although when people watch it, it's only a very short scene."

Those familiar with America's Next Top Model will recall the famous catfights in the models' house - hardly avoidable when a group of female rivals are forced to live together for a few weeks.

But according to Jin, it wasn't all claws on the show.

She revealed that although there was a "conflict of opinions" among the contestants, these problems were solved through "effective communication" with one another.

"I think there was tension between participants because it was ultimately a survival competition. It is inevitable," she added.

Post-competition, Jin has become a celebrity in Korea with many fans wondering about her love life.

Jin, who claims to be single, was bemused when she did a search for her own name on the Internet.

She said: "I don't have a boyfriend, nor do I intend to have one.

"I don't know why 'Jung Sun's boyfriend' always comes up as a related keyword when I type my name on portal sites.

"Well, I do like (Korean model-actor) Kang Dong Won."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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