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Meet Kris Jung

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kris Jung.

Kris, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started modeling in the SF Bay Area, where I grew up when I was 16. I always had sort of a desire to perform my whole life. My mom being the most supportive parent possible, took me to all my auditions and jobs until I turned eighteen.

We learned the nature of the industry together. I grew a thicker skin every time I was on hold for countless jobs and then released when I was told I was too short by clients, or even by my agency that I would never travel or do anything remotely in the realm of ‘fashion.’ I faced a lot of rejection and learned to practice a lot of self-love, and manifestation with my start in the industry. I learned social skills, ‘set etiquette,’ and always made sure after every job to thank everyone in the crew, especially the producer and the photographer.

Four years into my grind modeling, and doing a few commercials here and there (even hand modeling), I got my wish to travel for work. I was offered a modeling contract in Bangkok. While working there, I experienced what hard work truly felt like. When I came back, I started booking jobs like crazy and was able to fully support myself, living in a studio in Oakland at age 20. I had so much fun at the start of my 20s living off the fruits of my labor, turning 21 and going out, even treating myself on a trip to Japan. Work started to slow down after a few years.

At one point I was so low on funds, I would try to find as much change as I could to take to a Coinstar machine, or sell all my vintage at Buffalo Exchange for grocery money. I was hesitant to get a ‘normal’ job since most jobs wouldn’t understand my weird freelance schedule. I reluctantly started working at a restaurant. As a creative outlet when not working at the restaurant, or going to an occasional job or casting, I started doing makeup and hair on the new faces in my agency for test shoots. I always loved beauty and styling.

I had an extensive knowledge about skincare, haircare, and cosmetics since obsessively trying to get rid of my acne starting at age 11, and maintaining appearances for modeling. I realized that I was able to exercise my creative mind with makeup and hair and apply all my know-how from being on set to being an artist. In the Fall of 2017, my parents decided to make a move to San Diego. My dad, whom I was incredibly close with, was suddenly diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. He had an 11-month sentence to live.

My parents being the strongest people I will ever know, continued to pack their life away to Southern California regardless of cancer interrupting their plans. I visited them as much as I could the entire year of 2017. I drove from Oakland to make a pit stop in the East side every trip. I’d get brunch at Home in Los Feliz, and then window shop at Paper Moon Vintage, before making the full trek to San Diego. I started to think, maybe I could up route my life to LA immediately, to spend as much time with my dad while I still had it.

My artistry career really started to take off in the Bay, so there was no real time for up routing. I wasn’t able to move as quickly as I thought I could when my dad passed away in July 2017. I moved to LA shortly after in August and had an entirely new reinvention of my life in Silverlake. I adjusted so fast, and enjoyed my new neighborhood so much, I didn’t think it was possible to be that happy! I felt so in my element, so nurtured by the loving sense of community amongst females. I had never felt that kind of support in my life amongst women before.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
When I was still modeling, I would bug the makeup artists I really liked for assisting jobs, or just to ‘shadow’ them for free. I think a lot of them didn’t take me too seriously or felt some sort of competition me being half their age, but my mentor Diane Catorc, instilled so much confidence into my artistry and career, right away. She saw my drive to grow out of this ‘teeny bopper modeling shell’ into a woman trying to make a name for herself, to pay rent, and apply all my skills in a real way. Diane was gracious enough to pass up a few smaller jobs my way, and after two years I worked up to doing key artist jobs for my own roster of clients like Levi’s, Uber, Facebook, and eBay.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
My job is amazing. I get to work with and meet the coolest people. Some of the proudest moments in my career were when I got to do Randy Jackson’s makeup for tv, Kevin Durant for an Alaska Airlines Campaign, and my first cosmetics campaign with Lilah B with ‘real women’ as the spotlight.

From being on set at a young age, I think I just always had fun with the crew and never took myself too seriously. I am, however, always serious about the business side of things. Before saying yes to anything I always ask for details.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My mentor Diane Catorc instilled a lot of confidence in my value as an artist that my time is always worth something. It takes a lot of confidence to tell people what your value is and there is always a risk factor of being told ‘no.’ I am very lucky I learned this first hand with makeup because I would rely on my agents as a model to do that for me.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Crystal Lee Farris, Savannah Hudson, May Daniels, Kevin Durant, Carlos Serrao, Karina Nicholson, Hailey Magoon, Aubrie Williams, Crystal Lee Farris, Mia Catalina, Kai Wai, Hayley Aston, May Daniels, Hannah Stinziana, Michael Anaya, Rex Adams

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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