Soo Joo Park is an American Fashion Model of Korean descent. She was born in Seoul Korea March 26, 1986 and her family relocated to Anaheim, California when she was 10 years old. Her name means “precious gem” in Chinese. A rookie at 26 years old, Soo Joo Park signed to Wilhelmina Models where there was pressure about her age, and a debate about whether or not to reveal her actual age.
“Since the majority of my fellow models are pretty young, I felt older and a little pressured. At first, we weren't sure whether to reveal my real age, but I think after I bleached my hair, more people understood that I have a personality and I'm more than just a face”.
She currently resides in Chinatown in New York City, and because of the strain of constant travel, prefers to keep it local when she’s at home. “Some of my favorite places around here are Bacaro, Beverly’s for drinks, 169 Bar. If I want to do something a little fancy, I go to En Brasserie—I went there a couple times with Harry Brant. I tend to avoid Meatpacking and, you know, going farther uptown unless I absolutely have to.”
While studying architecture in the San Francisco Bay Area, Soo Joo Park was discovered at a vintage store and asked if she would be interested in modeling. She had given some thought to modeling prior to that, but her family was conservative and traditional, and although her parents didn’t outright forbid it, “they weren't encouraging of me doing anything besides academics”.
At first her parents thought modeling would be just a fling, and even encouraged her to quit, but now that she has experienced success, they are much happier with her decision. She’s worked with the likes of Karl Lagerfeld, Tom Ford, Chanel, Max Mara, and has Carine Roitfeld among her biggest supporters. She appeared in the Dazed & Confused editorial, photographed by Terry Tsiolis in December of 2012, walked the fall Zac Posen, Tom Ford, and Fendi, shows in New York, London, and Milan.
Although she may have left her pursuit of a career in architecture by the wayside, it seems Soo Joo Park has come full circle. In 2104 she added another entry to her resume: Creative Advisor to Caeden, her partner in a new line of consumer headphones aimed at the fashion conscious music geek. “I’m really excited [to be working with them], and we’re also working on some wearable tech stuff, which is launching in 2015.” In addition to working with the design team early on, Soo Joo Park also models for the brand, and starred in a short video about the product.
Diversity in Modeling California may be one of the most diverse populations in the world, and growing up there had some distinct advantages. “I don't see myself as an Asian model. I think part of the reason I bleached my hair was that I didn't want to be typecast as an Asian model, I wanted to be me.”