Sitcoms/Variety Shows
I Am a Model
by | May 15, 2008 | 17 Comments

New (old) show!

I just recently saw that Imaginasian TV just started showing the first season of Korean reality show I Am a Model, and tuned in out of curiosity. Originally aired on Korean cable channel Mnet, I Am a Model was pretty successful and has aired multiple seasons (three, I think). I never caught it, because I don’t watch Korean cable or reality/variety programs that much.

In the absence of AZN, Imaginasian’s got some decent programming (check your cable listings!), and I found myself liking I Am a Model. The episodes are subbed in English and similar to America’s Next Top Model, minus the shenanigans. If you’re like me, you watch America’s Next Top Model despite yourself — you know it’s predictable and most likely rigged and way too loaded down with exaggerated “drama.” Plus Tyra’s getting crazier and crazier, and not in a good way. But the premise is interesting, and you fast-forward through all the humdrum boring parts to get to the actual point — the photo shoots and judging. (There’s just no way to watch ANTM live, because the filler stuff will make you want to slap somebody.)

I Am a Model is less conflict and more about actual modeling (who’d’a thunk?). For that reason, it might be a dry watch for some viewers, but I liked it much more. It’s only up to the second episode so far and I know nothing about the model-contestants, but I kind of like it that way. I’d rather just see how they’re judged based on their evaluations and photo shoots.

Model-contestants Park Hee Hyun, Han Boram, Kim So Young, Kang Suji, Yoon Jihye, Park Eun Hye


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Three established models preside as the judges, watching the progress of the contestants they’ve selected for the show.

The model-wannabes are all young faces ranging from ages 19 to 22, all fairly newish in the modeling world but with varying degrees of experience, which include ad campaigns, magazine spreads, runway shows, and even CFs.


The format of the show isn’t that different from typical competition-based reality shows, but so far it seems structured more loosely. Not every episode ends in elimination; for instance, at the end of one photo shoot, the judges deemed everyone good enough to progress to the next step.

It seems each episode will have a theme (e.g., “natural beauty”) and focus on a particular type of shoot (swimsuit, beauty shot), although it’s still early so I don’t know how it’ll play out. Girls are evaluated, given advice, and monitored by the judges for potential as well as progress.

Model-judges Jang Yoon Ju, Song Kyung Ah, Park Dool Seon


While the contestants are the ones who are being tested and have their potential future careers on the line, it’s the judges who are the personalities of I Am a Model. They conduct themselves in a generally professional manner, but bring the occasional snark.

I don’t follow fashion much, much less Korean fashion, so I don’t know much about the profiles of the judges aside from what we’re told. But, you can see from their resumés that they’re somewhat successful models, all with international experience and solid portfolios of their own. They are Park Dool Seon, Song Kyung Ah, and Jang Yoon Ju.

Model-judges Park Dool Seon, Song Kyung Ah

Park Dool Seon, born 1976, 178cm tall. Winner of Korea’s Super Elite Model competition in 1998 and Korea Fashion Association’s Best Model winner in 2001.

Song Kyung Ah, born 1979, 178cm tall. Pantene’s sponsored Elegant award in 2000, Best Model in 2001 for the Fashion Photographers Association.

Jang Yoon Ju, born 1981, 174cm tall. Best Model award from the Fashion Photographers Association in 1998 and 2002; GTV Sponsor Best Model; the Model Center Best Model; Bazaar’s model of the year in 2002; Adidas Mania 2002 award. She was also in Toy’s “Good Person” music video and has numerous magazine ads and spreads, including Bazaar, Vogue, Marie Claire, Cosmo, Esquire, GQ, and Elle Germany.

Model-judges Park Dool Seon, Jang Yoon Jo

Of the three, Park Dool Seon is the oldest and seems to be the head judge; she’s also capable of the harsh set-down or condescending advice, but if she’s ever bitchy it’s in the fun way. The other two are more encouraging and tend to take a more subordinate position.

It’s not riveting television, but it’s pretty entertaining filler stuff, and I like competitive reality shows that are actually about the competition (Project Runway, for instance) more than the manufactured drama between the crazy contestants. It’s nice to fill a half-hour with when you want to relax, and if you start craving more wacky hijinks, it’s only a matter of time before ANTM returns with its next “cycle.”

17 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. shr

    hope its not anything close to antm. that show is terrible and none of the girls look like models or at least anything like the people in the pictures because its soooooo photoshopped.

  2. Cee

    I may be the only one thinking this, but Korea has a tendency to just pick women based on their height. If you’re 5’8″ wonderful, you’re in. If you’re 5’11”, even better. To me, modeling is not just about the height. It’s about charisma and unique substance along with bone structure. It’s about expressing feeling without words through a simple picture and pose. None of the model judges that you posted have any of that charisma whatsoever. Models like Alessandra Ambrosio have a striking persona to them that leaves you wanting another picture. I have yet to see a Korean model that has the ability to impose the same feeling.

    And I’m babbling again.

  3. javabeans

    I agree that the pics aren’t the best (but that’s what they posted on the show site), but you should watch the show and judge for yourself. Some of them are much better once you see how they are in person. And oddly, I don’t think the newbies are that tall. (Over 170 yes, but not as super-tall as the judges.)

  4. ok-jk

    It’s interesting how (from what I’m reading), they focus more on the judges for personality and spark rather than the models. A little American Idol-esque?

    Anyways, HUMMING URBAN STEREO! 🙂 Haha. Very thankful and glad that you posted another song by them! I’ve been trying to get ahold of any CD’s by them, but using conventional methods like Amazon, but not coming up with much.

    Any recommendations?

  5. ok-jk

    It’s interesting how (from what I’m reading), they focus more on the judges for personality and spark rather than the models. A little American Idol-esque?

    Anyways, HUMMING URBAN STEREO! 🙂 Haha. Very thankful and glad that you posted another song by them! I’ve been trying to get ahold of any CD’s by them, but using conventional methods like Amazon, but not coming up with much.

    Any recommendations?

  6. marcel

    i think i caught a little bit of this on imaginasian tv.. the title of the show could have been better :/ i thought the model judges were actually quite beautiful & charismatic.. not quite pretty in a conventional sort of way but that’s not what fashion is about is it? i was pleasantly surprised to find out about their multiple talents in art & music.. one writes music & fronts a band & another is an artist & is planning to publish a book.. i was quite impressed with them..

  7. rocketfuel

    Korea needs a Top Chef….or a reality show about….how to give victims of sex crimes in Korea help.

  8. Ter

    Wow, you noticed Tyra was getting crazier and crazier too? I think its cause she’s featuring HERSELF more and more. The show is supposed to be about the models, but she seems to be making the show more and more about her, and somehow that makes her act in crazier ways as if that will justify her getting more airtime.

  9. teriyaki

    Song Kyung Ah looks like shes smoked one too many cigarettes or something.

  10. 10 Miki

    I used to actually LIKE tyra banks. She seemed more real than the other supermodels around. But not anymore.

    About ANTM, I watch it all the time. It’s like you said, but I still watch it because of the photo shoots, ect.. It’s just there’s so much trash they throw in there I get frustrated. Whenever my mom and cousin watches, I think they have a skewed image of models, the modeling industry, and such. ~_~ They’re not accustomed to the idea of “reality TV”, where it’s not even reality. It leaves such a bad impression, and I think that the modeling industry is actually really interesting, with many sides.

    I wonder if I can show them this…Maybe then they won’t think every model fights with every other model.

  11. 11 Anaka

    where can I watch this with english subtitles, it sounds interesting.

  12. 12 Demetria

    I love this show. I watched it yesterday and they had an amazing photo shoot way better than ANTM, I was left in complete awe at the shots they took. I was very impressed by the beauty that these girls had and how creative they could be. I also like how they showed the viewers how they got their bodies prepared for the nude shoot. That was interesting. I will continue to watch the show weekly, even if they don’t have it subtittled in English.

  13. 13 ho

    yo, these models are fit

  14. 14 Luna

    Hello everyone! I just started watching “I am a Model” today and I must say I really enjoyed it. I think these judges are more intimidating than the ones on ANTM. I admit I watch ANTM because of the acctual competion and photo shoots but the show has turned into a Tyra fest. I really have lost all respect for that woman. I don’t think she is the same individual as she was while she was still modeling. Or perhaps she has always been this way. None the less “I am a Model” is much more interesting than ANTM. On today’s episode the judges were trying to spice up the competion by interviewing more girls for the show. Well one of the judges asked this one girl to lift up her skirt!! The judges were laughing their butts off!! Was she not wearing any underware?? They seemed to be pretty shocked about the whole incident.

  15. 15 The Hip Green Mama

    i just discovered this show about a month or two ago and I LOVE IT! I’m a new stay-at-home mom who’s already obsessed with ANTM and I agree with everything you’ve said about this show. ANTM is taking the path of The Real World. The contestants have grown up watching it and play into the stereotypes and Miss Tyra? Well, she is reaching a whole new level of ridiculousness. I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees her modeling more than the contestants! Thank goddess Mr. & Ms. Jay are still working it out. Anyway, I am a Model feeds my obsession to see girls learn & get critiqued on modeling without all the bullshit.

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