Friday, November 20, 2009

Why is Daul Kim the fifth model to die in 18 months?

Condolences are due to the family and friends of Korean model Daul Kim, who has died in Paris (on the 19th) at the age of 20. Details have yet to be clarified, but New York magazine’s The Cut is reporting suicide (since confirmed by South Korean consular officials). This is yet another very, very serious wakeup call for the modeling industry. It is the fifth model death of which this journalist is aware since June 28 last year - three of them allegedly suicides.

On June 28 2008, Kazahk Ruslana Korshunova fell to her death from a New York apartment building. Although ruled a suicide, a petition was launched to attempt to have the case reopened.

On July 7, Canadian Diana O’Brien was murdered while on assignment in China.

Then on October 11 – yes, on the same night – American Randy Johnston died from a heroin overdose in New York, while Canadian Hayley Kohle fell to her death from a Milanese apartment building. Although Kohle’s death was ruled a suicide, her family also raised questions.

Kim will be remembered not just for her brief modeling career. (I met and photographed her backstage, above, at the Alexander McQueen show in Paris in October 2007).

Kim was also a sensitive and creative soul, who was quite outspoken and raised eyebrows on her two year-old blog, I Like To Fork Myself. There was the time she called out Japanese fashion brand Undercover for being racist. And another occasion when she gave Barneys the finger (literally, in a photo) for its poor customer service.

Some of Kim’s musings were however quite dark and on several occasions she found herself having to defend her mental state on the blog.

In April 2007, shortly after she launched the blog, Kim wrote:

“and thanks to stupid tv show from korea ppl think i like to
torture myself and thanks to that im getting lots and lots of
suicide emails on a daily basis
but im definately not depressed, and i dont want to killmyself”

In October 2008, after hamming it up with some mates in some photos, and censoring some of them after complaints from her mother, she wrote:

"thank you but
i dont care

and i was not high or drunk
i dont even smoke cigarettes.
i go to bed early and i dont party. i rave at home.

but my mother emailed and told me that she is upset and
worries about my mental state so its censored.

i listen to my mother.

i am okay im just having fun with my french gay boys...."

In this very bleak post "Say hi to decided", dated 11th October, Kim's fate looks to have been sealed.

It's a pity that her family and agents did not realise how depressed and lonely she was until it was too late.

RIP Daul Kim.


Hannah said...

This is just devastating. The fact of the matter is that the way these women are expected to live and look.

It also seems interesting to me that these woman seem to hit a wall around the 20 year old mark. They're beautiful enough for fashion when they're fourteen and prepubescent, then suddenly they're women with, god forbid, curves and they have to work so damn hard to look like the child they used to be.

I just hate that despite all this and the negative impact it has had on Hollywood and therefore women in society in general, the fashion industry (and, frankly, the men of a certain persuasion who are the kings of it all) seems to want to avoid change.

Womens' bodies aren't the problems. Develop the skills to cut clothes that suit real women. Hell, Dior did it.

Randall said...

I will miss Daul very much. A beautiful soul.

Sweetface McGee said...

the poor girl. Is this the model who is on the cover of the latest Russh? That was an amazing editorial.

When I checked Twitter this morning I saw that BryanBoy had a (somewhat macabre in retrospect) 'live' twitter reaction to hearing the news.. how raw and terrible :(

*sigh* stop the world, i wanna get off.

Aroha said...

this is such sad news. I read an article not too long ago about a string of korean female personalities committing suicide due to cyber bullying, which is apparently an epidemic right now in korea. So if it is indeed suicide, who knows why?

Sunster said...

In shock



Whoa, this is sad. I used to live in Korea and they do have a bizarre suicide rate amongst female celebrities

Laurie said...

so very sad. i sort of only just 'found' her. she was such a beautiful and unique person. this is so sad.

Alex said...

this is all very 'Glamorama' by Bret Easton Ellis.

Anonymous said...

i also found one of her recent posts, discussing the sort of lost caused by excessively being controlled by agents and people around!!!

thanks for a very nice post on her .... the model industry is indeed a quite scary place to be for such young adult!


Anonymous said...

suicide is common enough in the world. the more people are not valued, the less they become.

people imagine that the suicide of a successful "beautiful" person is somehow of greater significance.

spare a thought for the tens of thousands of people who die needlessly every single day as a result of poverty, war & neglect.

of course her suicide is miserable. LIFE is miserable. so support others, be compassionate & stop living in a insular bubble.

HotCaviar said...

so deeply saddened by this news.. Daul was indeed a totured soul clearly by several posts and even from her recent Russh interview where she replied `stress from work' is how she keeps trim and fit... hmmm... once again, another great post frockwriter!

Marina said...


Anonymous said...

Have followed her blog for over a year now.
The news is shocking and UTTERLY saddening that someone with such talent & creativity (not just in modelling) is gone.

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