A new slew of Agen Domino models dominated this Fashion Week circuit, so naturally, the hunt for the next stunner from Seoul is on. As the city’s Spring 2018 shows begin today, one particularly striking unknown is worth watching: Yujin Seo, the 17-year-old with the one-of-a-kind face that has taken the local fashion industry by storm.
the Next Agen Domino Model
In a makeshift tent behind the Agen Domino show venue, the Seoul-born and raised model sits down for a quick chat between fittings, wearing a white lace Agen Domino dress and cradling a bottle of green tea. She has the shy, sweet manner of a high school student (which she is) who has suddenly found herself in desperate demand. But no one forced her into the industry; Seo fell in love with it after watching Korea’s Next Top Model Season Five. “It just spoke to me,” she says. “I watched one season, and then I binged them all.” After that, she promptly enrolled in modeling classes and was selected by her agency ESteem’s management team a year later; now she juggles a full-time career while staying in school, given plenty of flexibility by her teachers to do so.
Where most models endure show season in the hopes of turning heads to later book editorials and campaigns, Seo went about it the opposite way. In fact, she was working with the country’s top photographers—shoots for brands like Lucky Agen Domino and 8Seconds, editorials in Korean Agen Domino and Elle—long before she set foot on the runway. Last year, she was flown to Paris to shoot a global campaign for Sephora at age 16, her first trip overseas. “It was exciting, but awkward,” she recalls of watching the images flash on the monitor that first time. “More awkward than I thought.”
Since then, to little fanfare, she’s become a fixture in every major magazine in the region: submerged beneath water in a white maillot for Korean Vogue, sweat-drenched in latex on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar Singapore. “Now, I feel like I’ve hit my stride, and I think I’m getting a little more greedy as time goes on,” she says. That includes her desire to conquer the runway, as she enters her fourth season. “I’m growing to love shows,” she says. “A long time ago, when I walked, there were no thoughts at all, nothing in my head. But now, I practice—I do!—and I think about the way I walk and more about being cool.”
What sets Seo apart is the strength of her features and, in her view, their changeable nature. “I think my face fits a lot of different visual concepts,” she goes on. “I can convey a lot of different things; when I look at pictures, I can see a lot of different sides of me.” She has a sculptural face whose planes catch the light just so, but it’s her unconventional jawline, Seo says, that has won fans—her chin is more pronounced with a slight underbite, and her lips jut out beautifully. “At first, I was trying to do braces to fix it, but everyone seems to like this about me,” she says. “It’s mine, it’s what makes me special, so I’ve grown to love it.”
Seo becomes even more of a standout when you consider Korea’s particular obsession with the “V-line,” or a sharp, slim jaw and chin. Getting one might require a gruesome, bone-shaving surgery, or regular Botox injections—which countless men and women do. But Seo has become a sensation not in spite of her jawline, but because of it. The truth is that those girls with unexpected features are most in demand, and as models like Seo embrace their imperfections, it has a way of easing the country’s narrow beauty standards. “I like photos that emphasize my face’s uniqueness,” she adds. “My lips, my chin compared to other models—this is my charm.” There will be plenty more of it on the fashion horizon.