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    Monday, April 14, 2014
    My favourite Korean model, Irene Kim

    Thursday, 10 April
    I was browsing my Twitter feed when I saw Irene saying that she was heading to Singapore for a Calvin Klein event!

    This was the photo she posted:

    I was extremely excited at the thought of finally being able to meet her, I quickly googled about the event but there seemed to be nothing much other than the fact that it would be held on Friday. I really wanted to meet her, but the event was invitation-only so I thought hard about how I was gonna meet her. Then, I decided that I would go to the airport to welcome her! The time she updated her Instagram&Twitter was around 2PM, and there was a flight to Sg from Seoul at 230PM, so I guessed that she took that flight. It's arrival timing was 730PM, so I still had a few hours.

    I went home, got a change of clothes (have to look presentable in front of a model!), and headed to the airport. I wanted to get her something, but at the same time I was worried that I wouldn't be able to meet her, so I bought kaya jam from Yakun (which I could eat in case I really did not get to meet her), and wrote her a small note as well. I wrote 2 notes, 1 was a proper letter but it was really simple because I said that I follow her Instagram and Twitter, I watch her on KStyle, and I love her blog! The other was a post-it note where I talked about the kaya jam.

    I spotted a tall girl with long, half-pink hair wearing a hat, white pants and a white top, and I knew it was her. I expected her to be wearing that grey Calvin Klein long-sleeved top, but she wasn't so I was doubtful for a moment. But from the hair colour and height, I knew it was definitely her. She came out of customs quite early, one of the first few from the flight, but yet she was waiting near the immigration counter, seemingly waiting for someone. She greeted and talked to several people who walked past her, so I guessed that there were other Korean models coming for the event as well. It turned out that she was waiting for another man and lady. They took quite a long while at luggage area too, the other Korean models had already exited the glass doors whereas they were still inside. Initially, I thought the man was just a staff/manager because he was taking photos.

    When she walked out, she tilted her hat a little. I approached her and said "Hi Irene, this is for you", and handed her the plastic bag. She looked blur at first, then surprised. She went "Oh? For me? Thank you, thank you!" She looked really touched and surprised that someone would go to airport for her! I told her, "wow you're so tall!", and she laughed. Then I continued, "I'm really short haha!" We were standing at the exit of the barrier, so there were still many people coming out, and I was afraid their trolleys might bang into her from behind, so I kind of took her hand and her guided her away from the exit. It was just a small gesture because I had only just met her so I didnt dare to touch her. She opened the plastic bag, peering into it and tried to see what it was. I asked her "Have you heard of kaya?" and she replied no. I told her, "Its a coconut jam made of eggs and...... coconut (lol stupid me -_-). Its a local food & goes really well with toast!"

    She asked me, "How did you know I was coming?" I told her I saw her Twitter, and counted the possible timings. I emphasized that I follow her on Instagram and read her blog too. She asked if I watch KStyle, then I said "yeah I watch but I knew you before KStyle, through your Instagram". I told her that I really wanted to meet her, so I was telling myself that I must come to the airport if I want to see her.

    She asked me for my name. I told her HuiXian, then she tried to pronounce it, so cute haha. I said "its a Chinese name so its kinda hard to pronounce" and we awkwardly laughed LOL. I asked her how was the flight, and was she feeling tired. She tilted her head and went "yeah", and I said "yeah you do look kind of tired", and she gave a weak smile. I asked her if I could have a photo with her, and she very gamely agreed! While gesturing to my face, I told her that it was alright if she doesn't want to take a photo,
    (just in case she feels she's too tired or doesnt look good enough to be photographed). But she said "No, it's fine!" :) So I was really happy! I passed my phone to the lady, and she took 2 photos. My camera lagged so I was wondering why it took so long. Irene put her arm around my shoulders, so I put my arm around her waist lightly because that was the appropriate height, and I didn't really dare to hold her tightly. I kept getting distracted by her abs too, lol... She stuck out her tongue during the photo (I didn't know until later), how cute! She told me to upload the photo on Instagram and tag her, and that she'll comment on it while making the hand gestures of using a phone!

    Look at her abs peeking out from her top... okay its not very visiblebhere but in real life it is...
    The white plastic bag in her hand is the kaya jam I gave her 
    Also, turns out the Calvin Klein long-sleeved top is actually a jacket.

    { Yes, I notice the height difference too. I was wearing a pair of flats while she was wearing:
    Givenchy Floral-print leather skate shoes.

    which had soles of the height similar to Vans. Our height difference is 26cm - she's 178 and I'm 152. }

    I gestured to the other Korean people (models & staff) around her and asked if they're all with her, and she said yes.
    While walking towards the drop-off point, I asked her
    Me: "How long will you be here for?"
    Irene: "Until Sun... Saturday."
    Me: "What time is your flight back to Seoul? It's alright if you wanna keep it private. I understand..."
    Irene: "Its in the evening...."
    Me: "You don't know the exact timing?"
    Irene: "I think its around 7pm?"
    Me: "Ok, hopefully I can send you off!"
    We walked to the glass door. There seemed to be a bus waiting outside so I said goodbye to her and we hugged. I stayed inside while they walked out. They were outside for quite a long time, and it turned out that they were waiting at the wrong place, so they came in again and walked towards the coach area. I walked a distance behind them because it would be awkward since I already said goodbye. She was talking on the phone while walking towards their mini bus too.

    On my way home, I posted our photo on Instagram, as she requested :P
    She liked and commented my photo really quickly! I guess data roaming charges isn't a worry for her. &Her use of emoji is so cute! *-*

    I sent her a direct message on Instagram to ask her about her return flight to Seoul. I did not receive any reply from her, but I was just happy enough that she saw the message (as seen from the green tick beside her profile photo)

    Afterthoughts of our first meeting, that lasted 5-10minutes:
    I was quite surprised by her behavior. Her blur, then shocked, then surprised, then thankful reaction when she found out someone came to airport for her; made me feel touched that my efforts and gestures were appreciated. She really looked very touched and kept thanking me, I lost count of all the "thank you"s I heard from her. She totally did not put on any airs at all, and was extremely sweet, humble, nice and friendly. Her voice is rather gentle and sweet, kind of like what you hear on K Style, but softer. There wasn't a strong American accent, unlike other ABKs. I was completely blown away! Oh, and her skin is completely flawless! She probably had light make up on, but there wasnt any zit or bump on her face at all!

    Initially, while I was browsing her blog and instagram to see if she drinks coffee or bubble tea (wanted to get Starbucks/Gongcha for her, but in the end I didn't because I'm scared that she's afraid of putting on weight) I was starting to feel nervous and even scared. Somehow there was this very atas, cold and distant feeling; maybe because she's a model afterall. So I was a bit scared she'd be unfriendly. When she pulled her hat lower, the slight fear in me grew. But the moment I talked to her, she really surprised me with her humble demeanor, and that cold impression of her melted away.

    Saturday, 12 April
    I guessed, and was quite confident that her flight was KE644 at 1035PM, since she arrived via KAL, and the other 1040PM one which I mentioned in my dm to her was cancelled. I sat at the chairs waiting since 730PM, because I was not sure what time she would arrive to check-in since she initially told me 7PM.

    Earlier in the afternoon, she updated her Instagram with this photo:

    I guessed that she wouldn't untie her braids since they're so pretty (look how cool her pink hair braids are wrapped around her head!), so I kept a vigilant look-out for a tall girl wearing black with pink milkmaid braids around her head.

    At around 9PM, she finally came! I spotted her entourage first, then I saw her hairstyle and I knew it was her immediately. I purposely wore wedges so I would seem taller and our 26cm height difference would perhaps be smaller, but it turned out she wore platforms, LOL. I walked towards her, she spotted and recognized me, smiled, and slowed down her steps. She looked reaaally happy and touched to see me! Her skin was even more flawless and bright than when she arrived - probably because the plane ride drained her energy. Random details I noticed was that she was wearing 2 white pearl-like ear-rings on her left ear. Somehow, I was always on her left side lol.
    Irene: "Wow, thank you! You're so sweet!"
    Throughout our entire interaction, right from when we met and she went into the immigration area, she kept saying that I was "so sweet" and "thank you" countless times...
    Me: "I said I would come. I came since 7pm because you told me 7pm." (Okay, slight lie here. But I only exaggerated by 30 minutes...)
    Irene: "Aww... you're so sweet!"
    *Hugged really tightly*
    *Passed her the book*
    Me: "I got you a book!"
    Irene: "Thank you!"
    Me: "Thank you more!"
    *walks towards normal check in counter*
    Me: "Did you eat chili crab?"
    Irene: "Yeah I did"
    Me: "Did you like it?"
    Irene: "Yes, it was good."
    Me: "You ate it just now? For dinner?"
    Irene: "Yeah, dinner."
    Me: "Today?
    Irene: "Yeah today. Are you a student?"
    Me: "Yes, I am."
    Irene: "Did you have school today?"
    Me: "Nope, I only go to school on weekdays... I'm in university."
    Irene: "What are you studying?"
    Me: "I'm studying engineering"
    Irene: *eyes widen* "Wow you must be really smart!"
    Me: "Hehe I hope so? I'm born in 94."
    Irene: "Oh? My younger brother is born in 93."
    *walks away from normal check in, toward premier check in*
    Me: "Oh so you're going to the special check in?"
    Irene: *nods head* Yeah."
    I was slightly alarmed, because it seemed like the premier check-in area was exclusive to only travellers, so I gave her a sad face, and she gave a sad face too. I decided this was the moment to ask her for a photo. 
    Me: *fiddles with my bag*
    She realised I was probably gonna take my phone out so she smiled and gave this anticipating face.
    Me: "Photo?"
    Irene: "Yeah sure"
    Me: "Can you take it? My hands are short, hahaha."
    Irene: "Yeah sure!"

    #1: *Irene gives silly face* I decided to follow her pose, and stuck out my tongue too.

    #2: *Irene continues holding my phone, and gives the kissy face* I thought she was doing a puffy face so I did that, LOL.

    #3: Irene still didn't put down my phone, so this time I did the wink pose, which she followed.

    Me: "Thank you, I'm gonna miss you!"
    *Hugs tightly*
    Irene: "Study hard OK? Studies is really important!"
    The trolley uncle was pushing an empty trolley out from the premier check in area, and we were standing at the door, so he was behind her and it seemed to be quite squeezey since the entrance wasn't big, and I was worried the trolley might knock into her, so I grabbed her wrist and led her aside, and told her to be careful :) She went in and I stood outside the entrance, at the side. Then, I decided to take polaroid photos with her, or else I'd definitely regret. I held up my polaroid camera to her, and she smiled. I pointed to the camera then to her several times, trying to signal that I wanted a photo with her. I decided to just walk into the premier check-in area.

    Me: "I'm just gonna walk in.... :D"
    Inside, I think she thought I wanted to take of her so she just smiled at me, waiting.
    Me: "Can we take a Polaroid together ?"
    Irene: "Sure!"
    I looked around, trying to see if anyone was free to help us take the photo. The man, whom I initially thought was a staff/manager was nearby. When I went home that day after her arrival, I did some stalkingresearch of the lady and man who was with Irene. For the man, he's a famous street fashion photographer named Park Jimin, and his brand is called JMinism. Check out his works on his Facebook page, Instagram, or Naver blog. The lady, if I'm not wrong, is a VogueGirl Korea writer who's here with Irene to cover the event and do a spread for Irene for the June issue. So, Irene asked Jimin in Korean if he could help us take the photo.
    Irene: "Do you know him? He's a photographer"
    Me: "Yes I know him! Park Jimin, right? JMinism" *smiles brightly*
    Irene: "Yes!"
    Me: "Wow~" (It's really quite an honor to meet a famous photographer, and even have him help me take a photo!)
    He smiled back at me.
    Irene to Jimin: "She's very smart, she studies engineering!"
    He asked Irene in Korean if I wanted to take the photo there, inside the lounge. Irene repeated his question in Korean 여기에 있어요? to me haha. I was quite tempted to reply in Korean, but she added "Is it okay over here?" So I just said "Yeah, let's take it here."
    Me to Jimin: "Can you take 2?"
    Because we were already pretty comfortable with each other, we stood really closely, her arms were on my shoulder, and this time I held her waist rather tightly. Jimin took one portrait and one landscape photo.
    Me: "I'll give one to you. Which one do you like more?"
    Irene: "I like both, I can't pick"
    Me: "I like both too HAHAHA"
    Irene: "Why don't you keep both?"
    Me: "Nah, its okay, you can have one!"
    She didnt seem like she was gonna choose, so I picked the nicer portrait one. I dug around my bag for the permanent marker, and asked her if she could sign on it.
    Irene: "What's your name?"
    Me: "H-U-I..."
    I was wondering why she took some time to write just 3 letters, and realised she was writing "To", haha.
    Me: "X-I-A-N"
    Irene: "X...?
    Not sure why she was hesitating, maybe X isn't a common letter, lol. She was gonna sign on the 2nd one, then I told her,
    Me: "Oh that's for you, you don't have to sign on it"
    Irene: "Okay I'll keep it" *keeps it into her Gucci sling bag*

    This is my signed polaroid photo with Irene! As I said, I held her pretty tightly ^^

    Me: "The weather these few days was really hot right?"
    Irene: "Yeah it was. I brought too much clothes. :("
    Me: "You didn't expect it to be this hot?"
    Irene: "Yeah.. I'm going to Shanghai in 2 days.
    Me: "Oh... The weather here is really hot. It didn't rain for one whole month, all the grass and trees dried up. But it rained just now, did you get caught in the rain?"
    Irene: "No I didn't."
    Me: "Oh you were indoors? Did you get to do a lot of shopping?"
    Irene: "No, not really... Have you been to Seoul?"
    Me: "Yeah I have. I hope to go for an exchange program to Korea University."
    Irene: "Oh..."
    Me: "KU. Hopefully if I go then I can meet you again! So, how's your trip?"
    Irene: "Singapore is a very beautiful country."
    Me: "Haha really ? I like Seoul more."
    Irene: "Hmm, Singapore has a lot of greenery."
    Me: "Yeah, lots of trees and grass right?"
    Irene: "Do you live near the airport?"
    Me: "Yeah I do, kind of"
    I almost tripped on the carpet and fell forward, but luckily she kind of caught me? :P I thought it was because the carpet was uneven so I turned back to look on the ground, and so did she. Afterwards I realised it was because the soles of my wedges came off -_- Awkward waiting while she checked in for her flight... She was holding onto her US passport. Because she was wearing a skirt, I couldnt help but notice how skinny and long her legs were! It was a healthy skinny, not a disgusting boney kind of skinny, so that's good. Then I realised the entourage were already gone, so I waited outside. There was only her left inside; while Jimin & I were outside waiting for her. She took her white backpack, which she left on a couch, and walked out. They kinda walked together, so I walked behind them. She very sweetly turned around to look for me, smiling sadly at me as we slowly approached the immigration area and knew we had to part. I was really sad and couldn't bear to say goodbye. She gave me a sad smile, and we hugged really tightly because I knew it was gonna be our last hug.
    Irene: "You're so sweet. Thank you so much! I hope I can come to Singapore again."
    Me: "Yeah, I really hope you can come again! I'm gonna miss you so much!"
    Irene: "Get home safely!"
    Me: "I will! See you soon hopefully!"
    Inside, the customs woman asked her about her hair. She was gesturing all over her head, gesturing that they're actually braids, and even bending down to let the customs woman get a better look at her hairstyle. I waited till she was out of my view, and then I left.

    The sweet girl even updated her Instagram from her seat in the plane, with the book that I gave her slotted in the compartment in front of her, proudly visible.
    I have a feeling that her caption was about me...... :)

    Yes, that's a Givenchy floral clutch bag, same pattern as the shoes she wore when she arrived. Including her backpack and Gucci sling bag, this Givenchy clutch and the big paper bag on the ground makes a total of 4 bags, lol. I have no idea why she's holding onto so many bags, I remember seeing all the bags except for the Givenchy clutch. The pair of platforms under the seat in front of her is what she wore when she went back to Seoul.

    Before the plane took off, I think she probably wanted to thank me for the book, but she commented on the wrong girl's Instagram account :( This girl met her at Ion (said so in the caption) + the timing was a few hours ago, so I dont know why Irene mistook her for me... :'(

    I hurriedly left comments on both my Instagram photo of our polaroid photo and Irene's photo, but I didn't get any reply nor like from Irene :( I'm pretty sure she saw my comments, but I dont know why she ignored them. I felt a little sad, disappointed and even angry because my credit went to a random girl. But I guess, what matters most is that she liked my present :') Maybe I'm delusional, but I love her emphasis of the word "LOVE" in caps, and the "xoxo" at the back.

    I think I spent about 20 minutes with her for the entire departure procedure, so that adds up to meeting her for about 30 minutes in total for the 2 days.

    I also like how she's not just a ditzy model: she actually has a fashion-related Bachelor's degree, has really good fashion taste (not simply wearing whatever's required of her), been an editor/creative for a online fashion site, and was JYP USA's stylist. I'm glad that she made the move to Korea and began modelling, which is great since she loves fashion so much! Also, comparing her old photos to current ones, I can gladly assure you that there's no work done, if you know what I mean.

    I know on K Style, she seems slightly like an airhead (most people who commented in the YouTube videos said so :( but she's really not dumb/bimbotic), but she's really not like that! Her voice is quite the same, high-pitched and gentle and a little slow.

    I'm really touched by her sincerity every time she thanked me, how she honestly seemed glad to see me, how our conversation was quite interesting since she told me random stuff and how it wasn't merely one-way since she also asked me some questions about myself which I was rather thankful for, how she kept a look out for me and showed me concern. I think she gives one of the best hugs despite being skinny, and every hug from her was really an embrace - sincere, tight and full of warmth; not half-assed or patronizing at all. I like how she's not sickly thin, the way she smiles when she looks into my eyes, the way her eyes get a little smaller and watery when she's tired, how beautiful she looks even with light make up on, how comfortable and open she was to me. Her online persona still seems a little distant as compared to her friendly and sweet personality in real-life, but I'm just really glad I got to meet her.

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