One day when I was surfing the Internet, I came across a photo of a model with gorgeous blonde hair. I thought to myself, “I want my hair color to look just like hers”. Although it’s the 21st century, where anything goes, it is still frowned upon when an Asian girl has blonde hair because they are ‘supposed’ to have dark hair. Being Asian American, open-minded and fashion forward, I have always wanted to dye my hair platinum blonde. But whenever I asked my peers what they thought about my hair color change, they reply with a ‘that will look weird’ kind of expression. So as you can understand, seeing another Asian model that was rocking blonde hair made me feel like I wasn’t too far gone from reality. Because the reality is, I can do anything I want with my hair; it’s my hair.
Well, it turned out the model I saw online was Daul Kim. I didn’t know who she was, but I knew I wanted to be like her; not care about other people’s fashion judgments. Slowly I discovered, Daul Kim was a high fashion model working for Chanel, Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen. Looking over her editorial portfolios, I became even more inspired by Daul Kim. She was a model and she had style. But most of all, Daul Kim gave me hope that I can achieve my goals of breaking into the fashion industry without having to conform.
I’ve always been ‘different’ growing up and was never a part of a huge crowd. Though at that time, I called it ‘being lost’ but now I know it as ‘being the exception’. Growing up it always seemed like it was me against the world because no one seemed to accept me into their clique. Which is why I thought being different was always a bad thing. After trying so hard and failing to be welcomed into the world of conformity, I eventually relinquished the goal and began the process of truly being myself. Since the external world had no place for me, I began to look internally for acceptance.
When I decided I didn’t care about other people’s thoughts of me, I was beginning high school. Little did I know that high school was the definition of conformity. If you didn’t guess, high school wasn’t really fun for me. Being bullied for looking and being ‘unusual’ eventually began to take a toll on me. I started to doubt myself and began to feel self-conscious. Now that I look back, I realize that I can’t blame my bullies for making me hate myself, although they didn’t help. But I only have myself to blame, because I should’ve not let them get under my skin. In all honesty, I am grateful for my past because now I know that being ‘different’ is a privilege and it is something that should be embraced and celebrated. Without Daul Kim, I wouldn’t have had the hope and courage to overcome my bullying obstacles.
She also shed light on the industry of fashion for me. It was as if a door opened to a world where being different was accepted and welcomed. And that was when I knew I was not lost anymore. I had found the place I knew where I belonged; in fashion.
Unfortunately, Daul Kim is not alive anymore, as she took her own life. But her work and style still lives on and I’ll always know who it was that inspired me to become a fashionista; Daul Kim.
With Love, Victoria S.