In our ongoing series, From Nada to Prada, we explore the transformative power of a hair switcheroo, as seen in the competitive world of Model Land, where an agency-mandated bang cut or a bleach job can make the difference between booking a Prada campaign or slaving away in the gray ether of e-commerce for the rest of your livelong days.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock with scant access to magazine stands or high-speed Wi-Fi, you’ve probably heard of Soo Joo Park. The Korean-born, California-bred model made it big in the fashion world in 2013, following a we-don’t-fuck-around bleaching of epic proportions. The result? A new-and-improved Soo Joo, rocking an elfin, Orlando Bloom circa Lord of the Rings vibe — you know, if Orlando Bloom was a lady babe who looked bangin’ in Chanel. But torching her strands within an inch of its life seems a tiny price to pay for the success that came as a result. What girl wouldn’t risk getting her hair a little crispy in exchange for Chanel and Tom Ford campaigns?
Digging through the Soo Joo archives, it’s hard to find work from her as a brunette, which is a true testament to how game changing this game changer was. You know you’ve got a runaway hair hit when your new look obliterates all traces of previous modeling experience, burying the potentially embarrassing early-career editorials with mountains of tears from V Magazine, Numero, CR Fashion Book, Interview, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and W – and that’s all just in the last six months.
It’s hard to say just what about the blond-ing out catapulted Soo Joo so extremely into the supermodel sphere. [Full disclosure: Back when this writer used to, err, model, I worked with Soo Joo. Even as a brunette, she had something special.] But as a blonde, Soo Joo became infinitely cooler – the type of chick you pass on the street wearing some badass combo of plaid and Y-3 orthopedic fashion loafers and think the two of you should go tear up some fancy hotel lobbies sporting hats and sneakers while you make lame dudes pay for your martinis not because you need them to, but just because you can.
Anyway, Soo Joo’s got more important purchases to make these days. Namely, leave-in conditioner.
Verdict: This is some no-brainer Pra-duh ish.