*15-year-old Han Hyun-Min is well on his way to becoming Korea’s first black supermodel. The 15-year-old high school student has walked in Seoul Fashion Week three times since he was discovered playing video games at an internet café.
Han, whose father is Nigerian, and whose mother is Korean, is part of a growing group of Korean citizens who have a parent that is a foreign national, per blavity.com. Al-Jazeera noted in a recent interview with the young model that there were only 40,000 biracial Koreans in 2007, and there will be 300,000 by 2020.
“My strength lies in my different look from others,” Han said in an interview with The Korea Times.
“I look different from my outer appearance and I have a different skin colour, which I find the best. I was a super skinny boy standing 184 centimeters tall and weighing 56 kilograms last year. My friends called me anchovy.”
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Han grew up in a diverse area — full of interracial couples and children, but said that once he got to school, he discovered life to be different than the way it was in his neighborhood. “Some classmates used to say things like, ‘You have a Korean mum, so why do you look black?’” He went on to say, “I got a lot of dirty looks and I felt people were disgusted by me.”
He continues to be reminded about “blackness” as works the fashion world “I sometimes feel upset when Korean models backstage at a show don’t talk to me because they think I don’t understand Korean,” Han said.
Born and raised in Korea, Han only speaks Korean. He said despite the fact that he knows little about Nigerian culture, Koreans tend to take one look at him and “assume I’m a foreigner.”