Scoffing at “can you walk” in high heels…70-something servant daughter-in-law revolts

At the age of twenty-one, I became a daughter-in-law of a serf. She was expelled from Ewha Womans University for being married. She spent decades as the wife of a 34th-generation servant, a mother of two, and a dutiful daughter-in-law to her in-laws. It wasn’t until she was in her 70s that she took center stage as a model. This is the story of senior model Yoon Young-joo (74). He is also an art influencer, and we met him on the 19th at his agency office.

He first dreamed of becoming a model when he was 70 years old. When he saw an old man in his 90s learning to walk on TV, he thought, “I’m a young man who is 20 years younger. He asked his daughter-in-law, who was also a model, to find a school and enroll him, and when he went to sign up, she said, “Can you walk?” Undaunted, she went two days a week and practiced for a year.

In 2019, she won the Photogenic Award at the Korea Model Association Senior Model Competition, and in 2021, she won first place in the Senior Model Selection TV program. “When I showed up for the final competition in a shiny short dress and high heels, the judges were pleasantly surprised,” he said.

Yoon dreamed of modeling when she was 70 and saw a 90-year-old man learning to walk on TV. Reporter Kim Hyundong

The youngest of six siblings, Yoon was always tall and thin from a young age. When he was in middle school, his family was so poor that there were red foreclosure tickets all over the house, but he never let that stop him. When his parents told him they couldn’t send him to college because his second brother had to return to school after being discharged from the army, he convinced them, “I’ll work part-time to pay for it.” He was accepted into Ewha Womans University’s liberal arts program, and when he didn’t have anything to wear on his commencement day, he reformed his father’s British suit. His form-fitting “mambo pants” and double-buttoned jacket became the talk of the town, not only among his friends but also among his professors.

Q: You got married in your third year of college.
A: I studied while working part-time teaching children, but it was hard. There were no clubs, meetings, or campus life. At that time, one of my brother’s friends talked about getting married several times. I had known him since 6th grade, so I trusted him and married him. My mother-in-law told me that she had a reading and was told that she had to do it that year, so I was determined.

Q: Did you know your husband was a servant?
A: I didn’t know. I lived with my in-laws, four sisters-in-law, and my brother-in-law. About a year after we got married, my in-laws took over the rituals when my grandfather-in-law passed away. We had 13 festivals a year, including holidays. Each time, dozens of relatives would come from Gangwon Province. I remember sleeping for a few days after each visit and often carrying cotton balls (to be used for their bedding).

Q: At the time, there was a school rule against marriage.
A: I had two semesters left, so I tried to sneak away, but word got out. The head of the department called me aside and said, “I tried to give you a pass, but I can’t.”

Yoon Young-joo in the May issue of Vogue last year. Photo courtesy of Vogue

Even as a housewife, she didn’t let go of her favorite things. I learned to dance Gangneung at the Intangible Cultural Heritage Center near my home and attended art lectures at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in my spare time. When her children were in elementary and middle school, she worked as a reporter for a TV liberal arts program recommended by an acquaintance. She was praised for her reporting and broadcasting skills and was hired as a reporter for a broadcasting company, but had to quit due to opposition from her family, including her husband.

The second act of Yoon’s life began to unfold in earnest in 2003, when Ewha Womans University dropped its no-marriage rule. After earning her undergraduate degree, she went to graduate school at Hongik University to study aesthetics. It wasn’t easy, but she enjoyed reading on the train. However, during her doctoral program, her husband died of an illness and her eyesight deteriorated. It was her dream of modeling that brought her back to life during the most difficult time of her life.

In recent years, she has expanded her activities beyond먹튀검증 modeling to become a fashion, culture, and art influencer. Last year, he served as a docent when fashion house Lemerre opened an exhibition honoring American folk artist Joseph Elmer Yoakum. In February, he published a life essay, I Started Walking at Seventy.

“When you immerse yourself in something you love, your hobby becomes your specialty, and your specialty becomes your weapon,” he said.

I hope you don’t give up if you don’t see a path to success right away. I hope you invest in yourself, take risks, and live a fun life.

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