Nude model Ha Young-eun has a special eye to read human bodies. She is the first open nude model to work with her real name in South Korea. She began working as a nude model in 1988 and established the Korean nude model association in 1996. In her new essay book “I Am a Nude Model,” she talks about her experience as a nude model for 33 years. The Dong-A Ilbo talked to her on Tuesday over the phone.
“Misunderstanding about the occupation of a nude model is a big challenge. The work, which is closer to pure art, has been treated like porn.”
She established a nude model association to break prejudices around it. She began working as a nude model upon the proposal of a photographer when she was working as a bookkeeper of a trading company. However, she had not revealed it even to her family members until she set up the nude model association because of strong prejudices against it.
Despite the challenges, she decided to set up the nude model association to protect nude models who often work in the dark, are exposed to sexual violence, and do not receive proper payment. Her announcement to create an association to respond jointly to the damages experienced by its members was welcomed by her colleagues. The association now has over 500 people as its members. “Things got better somewhat, but nude models these days are at a new risk of illegal filming and distribution,” Ha said.
Why does she insist on working as a nude model despite the poor conditions? She said she has become addicted to the moments when a photographer or a painter inspired by herself creates an outstanding piece. “I sometimes feel instantly moved by a finished work. That exhilarating feeling cannot be described.”
Another advantage of working as a nude model is that there is almost no restriction on gender or age. Some may think that a slender and slightly muscular body type is suitable for a nude model, but a lot more diverse body types and identities are welcomed as there is a wide range of demands from art to healthcare.
“Whether you are fleshy or old, all human bodies are beautiful and elegant. The same pose creates different feelings depending on who is posing. I am going to work as a nude model until I die.”