Korean culture has broken borders the likes no one has seen since people were colonizing each other. The Korean invasion is truly upon us and us Pinoys seem as welcoming as ever. You can’t blame us, especially since most of the girls are sweet and gorgeous like Lee Bomyi. She mentions that she loves getting attention from the many fans she has made traveling the world as a One Championship ring girl. It's not just because she’s building her portfolio as a model, but also because she’s able to represent her home Korea and share their culture with the rest of the world. And, of course, we were happy to sit next to her as she gleefully shared her experiences with us.
How does it feel being able to travel around the world thanks to your job?
I feel honored every time I visit a new country. The people are always so friendly and accommodating to us [ring girls]. Honestly, when I started modeling in Korean, I never expected to have fans from all over the world. It’s truly humbling.
The whole world seems to be in love with Koreans. Why do you think that’s so?
I think foreigners like the fact that we Koreans make an effort to look good that’s why they try to follow.
We’ve heard that Korea was a somewhat conservative country. Have you ever gotten flack for wearing sexy clothing?
I think we’ve become open with different looks and styles. Before, it would be easy for others to criticize you for looking a certain way, but because Korea has adopted a bit of western culture, the people have also become open-minded.
Have you ever thought that maybe foreigners like Korea because they find their culture similar to yours?
I think Koreans have both aspects of western and eastern culture—it’s a mix—the eastern aspect coming from traditional Korean culture and the western aspect coming from the modern Korean culture. I think what foreigners find interesting about our culture is how we are able to integrate all these aspects without losing our own identity as Koreans. They find Korean culture fascinating because it is still a lot different from their own but not too foreign that they can't relate to it anymore.
But other Asian countries are also very westernized. Why aren’t people as invested in their culture as well?
I think it’s just how international trends move. You can’t really tell what will draw people’s attention until it actually happens. All I know is, right now, I believe Koreans are making the most of their time in the spotlight.
So now Korea has the world’s attention, how do you think Koreans can take advantage of this opportunity?
I think we already are. I think Korea has come a long way in just a few years when it comes to the innovations and trends Koreans have come up with in music and in fashion. As you mentioned, a lot of people are already following the positive things they see in Korean culture, like staying fit and healthy and I’m proud of that. I think it’s time for Koreans to stop chasing trends and be our own trendsetters.
Photography Ejay Leung of Midnight Bonkers Makeup Janina Dizon Stylist Sancho Bernardo and R-Jya Ramos Hair Dave Grona Shot on Location Nobu Hotel, City of Dreams Translation Sara Lim