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Grace Mi-sook Um: I do encourage seniors to pursue their own passion and identity


Hi Grace, welcome to MALVIE, France. Can you start by telling us when you first thought about modeling?

I am 69. I wanted to become a model since I was a teenager: I acted in a few plays in my junior and high school days; I taught English drama and novels about 40 years at my university; and I had some diplomatic experience as the spouse of the Korean ambassador to Canada. Throughout my life, I had always cherished the dream of becoming a model and actor.


We hear that you taught English literature at two universities for almost forty years. How do you feel about being a model as a second career? How do your family and friends react to your modeling in the senior years.

I would like to pay homage to myself who have the free and creative spirits. I am not afraid of getting out of the fixed box. After retirement I could have lots of free time for my life-long dreams. The No.1 on my bucket list, modeling!

My husband and friends encouraged me to actively participate in all fashion-related activities. But my daughter and son were not very supportive at the beginning because they thought I was losing my long-held image as a professor and ambasssador's spouse. Now, they are my biggest fans.


Our readers will be amazed by the courage of your choosing modeling as a second career. This is extraordinary. Could you share helpful words or experiences with them?

Even though I am still new in the modeling career, I do encourage seniors to pursue their own passion and identity. They well deserve to enjoy their own free time, after sacrificing themselves for their families so long. Life is too short.

Now, it is time for them to stand up and do anything they wanted to. I would be happy to share any information and know-hows with them, and I want to be a role model for them.


You participated in the Paris Fashion Week last March. That is a rare opportunity for any new model. How do you feel about it? Would you continue to challenge such big international shows?

Dream realized!!! I enjoyed being part of various age groups, cultural and nationalities. This year, I would like to participate in at least one more major fashion week (Paris, New York, Milan, London) by wearing famous designers clothes, if possible. Ultimately, I would like to participate in all four major global fashion weeks. And I would like to stay active to become the oldest professional model in the world.


Thank you Grace. It has been a great pleasure to get to know you better. We would like to see more of your activities.


Photographer: Franchely Figueroa @franchely_photographer

Model: Grace Um

Producer: Dane Yang

Makeup Artist: Karla Anahissa @karla.anahissa.mua

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