Posted by | October 17th, 2019

The Graduates

Hyun Ji Shin

Korean stunner Hyun Ji Shin [신현지] has always embraced a bold adventure. Whether it’s flipping a reality show win into a long-term contract, being thrown into unfamiliar, foreign terrain, or working with the top luxury houses in the business the runway pro has stood up to challenges in every regard. She’s landed top covers for CR Fashion Book, transformed on the pages of British Vogue and W Magazine, while securing billboards for Max Mara, Proenza Schouler, and Zara. Yet her recent claim to the top ranks was undoubtedly being part of the last campaign Karl Lagerfeld shot for Chanel before passing. The 23-year-old has already fulfilled career milestones but if you ask her, she’s just getting started.

Visit her page and click or tap the Lists button to favorite Hyun Ji and keep track of her work.

Photography by Sebastian Kim for

Styling – Vanessa Chow
Hair – Hiro + Mari | Makeup – Steven Canavan

Editor Stephan Moskovic
Text & interview by Irene Ojo-Felix

Above: Black Ruched Dress – Brock Collection

The Graduates, since its conception in 2013, has become a mainstay featuring the foremost models of the moment. More specifically, when a Hot Lister moves up in rank to Top 50 through their own accomplishments it’s deserving of recognition, each a worthy addition to this ongoing series.

First thing, where are you from and how did you get discovered?
I’m from Seoul, Korea. One day when I came back from school I was in uniform and my mom just suddenly told me, “Ah Hyun-Ji, do you want to change your outfit? You need to go somewhere.” “Somewhere” was the model academy, so that’s how I started. I had to stop because of school, so I came back to modeling on Korea’s Next Top Model five years ago. That’s how in the beginning, I got more into the modeling world for real.

Korea’s Next Top Model seems to be a big platform for Korean models. You’re maybe the fourth person who has told me that they got their start officially through them.
It is. It was the biggest thing and my life totally changed because, fortunately, I won on my season. So, wow, you know?

Do you remember your first big show?
I started off in Sydney but my first big show overseas was in New York definitely. I think maybe Coach in New York. It was at Hudson Yards and they did the show during the initial construction of the building.

What would you say has been the proudest moment in your career so far? Or do you have multiple?
I’d say shooting with Karl for the Chanel campaign, which sadly became the last campaign Karl did with Chanel. I was shooting for Pre-Fall for the press kit and then they said, “Oh, it became Karl’s last campaign,” so they turned it into the official campaign. It was the Pyramid collection that they had at the Metropolitan Art Museum. It for sure was unforgettable, one of the top moments in my whole life.

“I want to try Hollywood one day or I want to do modeling forever. Of course, I dream of a huge job but I feel like I got some good jobs already. I’m so sad when people say what do you want to do after modeling because I think everyone can have long careers”

What’s one thing that no one would really guess about you?
When I’ve free time, I paint. Just drawing whatever I want. I love traveling, I just love to go somewhere and have an adventure, walk around, try different cultures and different food. I’m not scared about anything so I’m always trying to do whatever, YOLO life. People say life is short. You have to try everything before you die. You don’t know when you’re gonna be gone – so I try and make lots of experiences with no regrets.

How do you balance your demanding work schedule and make sure you’re setting time for yourself?
There’s human Hyun Ji, apart from being model Hyun Ji. I always try to figure out what 23-year-old Hyun Ji wants to do. I enjoy traveling. Not trying to be like I’m tired, I’m jet-lagged, or something. Modeling and traveling are both my favorites.

Yes, I was just looking at your profile and you’ve been in Rome, you were in Paris for Couture and they have you guys going all over the place. Shanghai, Berlin. Does it ever get too tough or is there anything about the industry that you would change?
Oh yeah, absolutely. Last year I fainted two times on set and I thought I’m not young anymore and I’m traveling too much. After that I took lots of vitamins and changed my diet. Before I was too skinny and every outfit, especially during fittings, was too big. My body didn’t feel good muscle wise. You need strength to do this job, but I didn’t have muscle. Now I’m trying to get that and an overall more healthy weight. That’s why I’m always stretching, yoga, and working out to get more power.

You’ve done so much, but what’s one thing that you still want to accomplish? What’s a dream job for you?
Dream job? I feel so happy now, I could fly. Always people ask me, what’s your dream goal? I would say, I don’t know. I’m still looking into myself, who I am, what I want to do. Because every single day my dream is changing, you know? I want to try Hollywood one day or I want to do modeling forever. Of course, I dream of a huge job but I feel like I got some good jobs already. I’m so sad when people say what do you want to do after modeling because I think everyone can have long careers.

Look at like Lauren Hutton. They’re always doing things like Valentino and are an inspiration to young people. I’m a really big fan of Cindy Crawford or Kate Moss. The 90s icons, but they’re still doing modeling.

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4 Comments to “Hyun Ji Shin On Turning Reality Fame Into Editorial Wins”

  1. I was soooo happy when she won on Korea´s next top model!!! She turned an amazing career after the show and I am glad she acknowledges the show as the launching platform for her modeling career. She´s beautiful and fresh 😉

  2. Fendo says:

    I’m so happy to see all her success lately. She’s really working the industry.

  3. Georgina says:

    My IG Is gina_peacelove

  4. Marion Clarke says:

    so happy for her success.
    she is big on the 90’s icons ..
    so am i.
    wishing her the best …