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.