What is your blended heritage?
I am German and Korean.
Where is your mother and father from?
My mother is from South Korea and my father from Germany. My mother studied German literature and came to Germany to finish her studies and then go back to Korea. But then she met my dad at a Jazz concert in Munich and ended up marrying him and fully moving to Germany.
What do you love the most of your blended heritage?
I feel like people love putting everything and everyone into boxes. It doesn’t even have to be nationalities, it could be the cool one, the nerd, the … whatever. And with me, people never know where to put me. Growing up I hated not belonging anywhere and being treated as a foreigner. Even in Germany people would start speaking English to me, because they’d think I was foreign. People generally are surprised when I tell them that in Korea people would ask me where I am from, too. In Europe they see me as the Asian girl and in Asia they see the European-mixed girl. Now that I have grown older I like the idea of having two cultures and countries as my background because that means I can somehow choose what I want to be seen as. I was born and raised in Germany so I’d consider myself very German, the way I speak and behave, but when it comes to Asian, especially Korean culture I feel like this is some part of me, too. So this makes me very grateful. I’ve got the best of both worlds in me.
What is your response when people ask, “What are you?”
“I am human, what are you?” I’ll tell them I’m German,, because I grew up here and I’ve got a German passport. But then eventually I’ll tell them my mom is Korean which explains my exotic look.
I don’t like “What are you?” though, unless someone asks it out of curiosity after they’ve gotten to know me a bit. If it’s like the first thing they want to know about me I get suspicious, because to me it doesn’t matter where you come from, the only thing that matters is that you are a decent person I can have an interesting conversation/friendship/relationship with.
What was your experience as a blended kid?
It wasn’t always easy. I grew up in a small town in Bavaria, close to Munich. My family moved there when I was 3, so we don’t have other family members living in that area. It was only my dad, my mom and me. I got bullied for being and looking different. They would call me names like shing shang shong shanina, making fun of my asian roots, my asian looking, “small” eyes. If I was having good grades, or being good at playing the piano or dancing Ballet, kids would blame me for being smart and talented only because I was asian. As I grew older though, I became friends with most of the kids that used to call me names. They were rude because they didn’t understand it and now we’re all laughing about it.
What were you family dinners like?
Probably not like other German/Bavarian families. My mom isn’t really familiar with German meals, especially not with cooking them, so she’d always cook Korean. Of course we’d have German food, like Schnitzel and Knödel and all of it – most of it probably not self made – but it tasted good anyway. And of course we’d have pasta and pizza just like any other family. Because of my mom’s cooking, Korean food is the thing I know and love the most about Korea. It’s comfort food to me, when I feel bad, any Korean meal or snack would make me happy. I just looove Korean food haha. But when I come back from travels, first thing I’d do would be eating German food, like German bread, Kaiserschmarrn or Sauerkraut.
When it comes to your modeling career, have you experienced any positive or negative effects in being a blended model?
Definitely positive AND negative effects. Because of my looks I am where I am today, so I’d see that as a very very positive effect, obviously, but in modeling they always kind of put you in boxes, too. The blonde, the brunette, the Caucasian, the Brazilian, the Asian. And because people in Europe don’t really know the difference between an Asian celebrity (that probably has gotten their eyelids done) and an Asian normal person, they always thought I’d be fully “Chinese” (people somehow always think Asia only consists of china…but that’s another story) So they would put me to jobs where the client was looking for an Asian model. Like a REAL Asian model, so obviously I wouldn’t get the job. And then when they were looking for a Caucasian brunette, I’d usually look too Asian for that, too but, luckily there are lots of other clients and jobs where they’re looking for exactly my type, a mixed girl, neither fully Caucasian or Asian, just special in her own way.
What positive message do you have for blended kids?
Don’t ever start questioning yourself or hating one part of your background and yourself because it makes you feel like you don’t belong anywhere or because people (especially kids) would bully you because of your “weird” looks and for being different. Trust me, being different is the best compliment you can get. Fitting in is so boring, and you were born to stand out. BE PROUD. Embrace it. You’re a lucky human being that won the genetic lottery. Use what you got and let it help you become the best version of yourself, because there’s only one unique you.