© Ji Hyeon-jung

[INSIDER GUIDE] Charming City of Seoul Guided by Model & Yogini Ji Hyeon-jung
Fashion model Ji Hyeon-jung, who is in her 20th year since debut, introduces herself as a fashion model and yogini on her Instagram. Working at the core of the flashy fashion industry and pursuing a quiet, meditative routine do not seem to go well together, but Ji navigates between the two realms like a professional surfer. Where does she go in Seoul to unwind or recharge?
“I believe there’s no other place in the world that is as attractive as Seoul. Everything is above average including public transportation, service, convenience, comfortableness, cultural diversity, and civic awareness. With the latest trend of young people trying to preserve and revive old things, Seoul is becoming even more fascinating.”
Ji Hyeon-jung, Fashion model
앤트러사이트 한남 © 앤트러사이트

Anthracite Coffee Hannam © Anthracite

펠트 창전동 쇼룸 © 팰트

펠트 창전동 쇼룸 © 팰트

Felt Changjeondong Showroom © Felt

Frequented cafe?
The first floor of ‘Anthracite Coffee Hannam’ is quite charming. The open-concept space has a chic interior design. They sell tasty and diverse coffee beans, which is why I go there often, but they also offer a chance for me to observe young people in their 20s to see what’s trending these days. I find it exciting and dynamic to watch their fashion, attitudes, and language from the outdoor space on the first floor of the cafe. ‘Felt’ in Mapo-gu is also one that I like. It’s a small cafe with a store front still showing the name of the piano institution it used to be. I like drinking coffee and listening to music there. The staff change LPs every once in a while, and their selection is amazing.
· Anthracite Coffee Hannam 240 Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
· Felt Changjeondong Showroom 23 Seogang-ro 11-gil, Changjeon-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
서울숲 산책 코스

Seoul Forest walking trail

Favorite walking trail?
I like ‘Seoul Forest.’ It’s particularly beautiful in spring. The walkways are clean and well-kept, and I like them more because they are not too artificial. I often go near Seoul Forest for yoga. When the weather is warm, I get some reading done and enjoy the sunshine in the forest after training.
· Seoul Forest 273 Ttukseom-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul
Light, delicious meal options?
I like bread. ‘Artisan Bakers’ in Hannam-dong has bread that is easy to digest and pleasant to the palate. Their potato and onion ciabatta is amazing. It gets sold out first thing everyday. I usually do yoga on an empty stomach. You can’t eat anything for three hours prior to a yoga session. Otherwise, you may feel uncomfortable while at it. So I carry some bread in my bag to have it after the practice.
· Artisan Bakers Hannam 26 Hannam-daero 18-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Favorite restaurant?
It’s ‘El Pino 323.’ I like tacos. I like that tacos have protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Above all, tacos suit my palate. Usually if I’m at a taco place, I order carne asada first. If that’s good, I tend to like other items on their menu. It’s rather hard to find a good taco place, but El Pino 323 meets my expectations.
· El Pino 323 2F, 220 Noksapyeong-daero, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
챕터원 에디트


챕터원 에디트 © 챕터원

Chapter 1 Edit © Chapter 1

Favorite shop?
I’m interested in furniture, lighting, and tableware these days. ‘Chapter 1 Edit’ located in Jamwon-dong offers a variety of great items at a wide range of prices. The restaurant and outdoor cafe space on the first floor of the shop are impressive, and exhibitions held on the fourth floor are intriguing. The shop deals largely with merchandise of trendy designs but their selection of craft items that Chapter 1 produced in collaboration with local artists is also fantastic. I visit both their offline and online shops frequently.
· Chapter 1 Edit 65 Naruteo-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul
향연 © 국립무용단

향연 © 국립무용단

The Banquet © National Dance Company

Must-see events in Seoul?
< The Banquet > by the National Dance Company is absolutely unforgettable. If the show re-opens in Seoul, I strongly recommend that you see it. Everything was beautiful including costumes, lighting, stage, and music. From start to finish, there was no boring moment. In the middle of the show, a dancer shows B-boy moves trying to get the excitement across the audience, and I felt like getting up and dancing with them. It’s short, cool, classic, sophisticated, and very Korean.
· National Dance Company
Most Seoul-like scene?
I think you can see the most Seoul-like scene at ‘Euljiro.’ Euljiro these days is considered a hip town, but it still maintains the old Seoul scenes. I think it’s a place offering both the past and present of Seoul. At Euljiro, you can enjoy a bowl of cold noodles at a worn-down naengmyeon jib building, walk along the streets watching various nicknacks, and have a glass of whiskey at a bar in an old building after sunset.
© 지현정

© Ji Hyeon-jung

About Insider: Yoga-practicing fashion model, Ji Hyeon-jung
Seoul is sensitive to changes and trends. Its fashion scene is also like that. It’s why global brands showcase their new lines in Seoul first and why they consider the city as an antenna shop where prototype products are released to test consumer reaction. Ji Hyeon-jung has been standing in the center of this dynamic city’s fashion scene for a long time. Since debuting through < Vogue Girl > in 2002, she has been actively building her career as a fashion model. In an industry where new faces are in high demand, the fact that she has continuously worked for 20 years says a lot about her. What is a daily life of a veteran model like? She shares her life on SNS. Some of the photos she frequently uploads are of her focusing on yoga, making difficult poses and revealing her natural face without any makeup. Being a certified yoga instructor, she opened online yoga classes with fashion brands such as Chloé and COS last year. Modeling which requires standing in front of cameras and practicing yoga which asks for concentrating on one’s inner mind involve two very different tasks, but she never half-asses any of them. In fact her tidy lifestyle involving yoga is just as beautiful as a colorful fashion photography book.
Q. What do you do these days to spend time?
A. The season ended a while ago so I’ve slowed down to take care of my mind and body. I think when I’m not working, I have a similar lifestyle to others. Meeting friends, eating good food, reading, and binge-watching dramas and movies through streaming services. I also like being active, so I practice yoga or take tennis lessons whenever I have time.

Q. It’s been 20 years since your debut. When was the most exciting moment in your career?
A. Whenever my coworkers ask for my opinion and also when I feel like the teamwork was great. That’s what I value most when I work. When I first started modeling, people didn’t think our opinion mattered. We were solely judged on how we maintained our look, posed for cameras, and walked on the runway. I wanted to be more than that. I wanted to be a member of a project, understand its goal and purpose accurately, and share ideas with other members for a better outcome. Back when the work environment didn’t allow that, there were still those who listened to my half-fledged opinions and accommodated them. They helped me become who I am right now. I don’t work alone. Most often the work requires great teamwork. When everyone plays their role in their given positions and strives for the common goal, you can get the best result. In that case, regardless of how it’s evaluated, the result is valuable to you.
© 지현정

© Ji Hyeon-jung

Q. How did you become a yogini?
A. Before I fully dove into yoga, I used to think yoga was not for me and that it was a boring exercise. I had no interest. I was more into weight-training, and my instructor recommended that I try yoga. I can’t forget my first yoga class. It was so different from what I had expected. I wanted to learn more about it and three months into the yoga practice, I enrolled in the instructor training program. And the rest followed. The fact that yoga ultimately emphasizes the spiritual aspect rather than the physical greatly moved me.

Q. Any changes in your attitude or lifestyle after taking on yoga?
A. Having worked as a freelancer for a long time with an irregular lifestyle, I used to feel insecure and vacant, and didn’t know how to control such emotions. Doing yoga, I felt my inner turmoil calmed down through breathing and meditating. I’ve found inner peace. Staying on the yoga mat, I kept challenging myself, watched how my mind and body changed, and better understood who I was. You get to face your strengths and weaknesses while training. Seeing how I behaved when I spotted a weak point, I learned more about myself and grew to better understand others as well.
© 지현정

© Ji Hyeon-jung

Q. The fashion industry is dynamic and ever-changing. Fashion modeling and yoga present two opposite images.
A. They are definitely different. Sometimes the two may clash, but whether it’s art, fashion, or human relationships, when two extremes meet and coexist, they can bring out an unexpectedly positive result. I like that. Balancing between fashion and yoga is like walking on a tightrope. I give props to myself for keeping a balance between them. If you just think about yoga, power and flexibility are both required to complete a move. They have to create a proper balance for you to take a step further.

Q. Overall you seem to have found a way to balance work and life. What’s your strategy in maintaining the ‘work-life balance’ and a tranquil daily life?
A. My life is not always tranquil. Sometimes it is full of worries, and sometimes I get crazy busy. It requires constant attention and effort to keep the ‘work-life balance.’ For 10 years since I began working as a model, I didn’t take care of myself because I was obsessed with moving forward in my work. That caused me so much frustration in the end. I was in pain both mentally and physically. It was about then that I happened to read a book about work-life balance. The book stresses that people should not identify themselves with their work. Work doesn’t last for a lifetime. Then when work disappears, does the person go away as well? It was a scary thought. I decided to allow other important things in my life and find happiness in them. After a period of trial and error, I think I finally see what to do. Basically, since I’m in my 20th year, it took me 10 years to get here. (Laugh)
© 지현정

© Ji Hyeon-jung

Q. Yoga seems to be one of the happiness factors for you.
A. Yes. Yoga is now a very important part of my life—almost like one of the pillars of life. Being capable of caring for both my mind and body, it is more than an exercise. I think there will come a time when things change around me or my roles increase or decrease at work, and I become negligent with my yoga practice. But I’m certain that I will eventually return to yoga. In the end yoga is about training your mind and can be practiced regardless of age. I wish I would practice yoga for the rest of my life.

Q. As a model and yogini, what’s your future goal or plan?
A. I tend to not have concrete plans for the future. I just sort of let things be? (Laugh) It sounds lame but that’s the truth. One thing for sure is I want to make a significant contribution to the fashion industry and yoga industry. As a model and yogini, I would like to share what I’ve been given in my life through various means.

Ji Hyeon-jung Instagram
January 2021 Editor:Kim Hyewon

Where to stay?

  • January 2021
  • Editor: Kim Hyewon
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