Top Modeling Agencies in South Korea
Want to know more about modeling in Korea?
This post covers:
- a brief history of the best Korean modeling agencies
- Korean model agencies for foreigners
Let’s get started!
The Best Korean Modeling Agencies
“Model Line” agency led the modeling industry in South Korea from the late 80s to the early 90s with notable figures like Cha Seung-won and Jin Hee-kyung.
DCM took over as Model Line went out of business because of financial problems.
DCM didn’t last long, and was divided into a few companies.
One of them was ESteem.
ESteem started with a small number of hot female models in the Korean fashion industry: Jang Yoon-ju, Han Hye-jin and Song Kyung-a. They wielded tremendous influence and quickly became the top model agency.
ESteem then recruited Kim Won-kyung and Lee Hyun-yi, and reached the level of monopolizing pictorials of all high fashion magazines, such as VOGUE.
The agency quickly helped Korean models work overseas, starting with Han Hye-jin and Song Kyung-a. Then, it recruited Park Ji-hye, Soojoo, Kim Sung-hee, Kwak Ji-young and Yoo Ji-ann to expand even further.
Since its establishment in 2003, ESteem has had the most influence in the modeling industry.
But, its position swayed little by little as KPLUS began to grow.
ESteem established a strategic partnership with SM in 2015.
(Lee Hyori signed an exclusive contract with ESteem in 2020 due to her connection with the CEO, Kim So-yeon.)
KPLUS was also born from the demise of DCM. Despite having a large roster of models, the agency wasn’t popular at first. Its strength was mostly male models.
While ESteem had a crazy lineup of female models, but not many male models, KPLUS had hot male models who were crushing Seoul Fashion Week.
KPLUS stepped up to its current position as a top 2 agency thanks to a merger with YG in 2014. Now with the name YG KPLUS, it’s signed contracts with many female models as well.
Among their talent, Lee Sung-kyung and Nam Joo-hyuk became very popular as models who became actors. (They used to date, but broke up.)
The agency also made waves overseas, starting with Choi So-ra, who won Korea’s Next Top Model Season 3.
Now, both agencies are working hard to break into broadcasting/media, beyond runway and editorial.
Korean Model Agencies for Foreigners
These are among the most reputable agencies for foreigners in South Korea. Always research agencies before signing with them.
1. MDI Model Management
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: +82-2068-4431
- KakaoTalk: pf.kakao.com/_aVNnd
MDI recruits foreigner models (male, female and kids) for both print and film (commercials, editorials, etc.).
2. Banilla Models
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: +82-2-518-0042
- KakaoTalk: banillamodels
Banilla Models was established in 2008, specialized in being a foreigner model agency. The agency mainly works with brands in fashion, beauty and lifestyle (sports, wedding, etc.).
3. Ever Models
- Email: email@example.com (Chief Casting Manager)
- Phone: +82-2-3443-7011
- Apply to become a model here
Ever Models is a talent and model agency for foreigners (men and women). The agency focuses on commercials and magazine editorials.
4. Jennifer Model
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: +82-2-545-3022
- Instagram: @jennifermodel
Jennifer Model provides professional management to both Korean and international models, focusing on fashion editorials.
5. Dobe Management
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: +82-2-798-7200
Dobe Management specializes in the fashion industry, working with models of any nationality, gender, body type, and age. The agency works in a variety of fields, including movies, music videos, TV programs, TV commercials, runway, magazines, print and catalog features.
6. About International Model Management
About International Model Management is an international modeling agency for professionals, lifestyle models, and children. The agency has an extensive range of clients.
7. J Model Management
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @jmodel_management
J Model Management is an agency for international male and female models in the fashion industry.
8. Hanmaroo Management
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @hanmaroomanagement
Hanmaroo Management is a model agency for men and women of all ages, including children. The agency works in both print and video.
Things to Know before Contacting a Modeling Agency
- You shouldn’t have to pay for anything to work other than perhaps head shots.
- There’s no guarantee that you’ll get work. Any agency that promises that is being dishonest.
- Making a lot of money is very hard in modeling. Any agency that says otherwise is being dishonest.
- Research the modeling agency’s reputation yourself.
- Don’t sign a contract until you understand it and agree to the terms. Contracts longer than a few years are predatory.
- Don’t do something that makes you uncomfortable, especially if you feel pressured.
- Contact your embassy or consulate if you need help or your passport is taken.
Find out more about ways to protect yourself here.
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Did we miss anything?
Korean modelling industry is progressing rapidly with some turmoil.
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