FHM model Jinri Park on leaving the glamorous celebrity world

Niki Bruce
·Contributor
·5-min read
(PHOTO: Jinri Park)
(PHOTO: Jinri Park)

From Top 10 Sexiest Woman in the World and FHM cover model to waitressing in Sydney, Jinri Park has transformed herself numerous times. Now, as the world changes and different things begin to matter more, the former glamour model has become a podcaster with something to say.

Best known for her stint on Pinoy Big Brother, Park is Korean but grew up in Manilla. Her modelling career hit the heights with her FHM Philippines’ appearances and being named on the Top 10 Sexiest Woman list twice. Her career included acting and hosting and working as a popular radio DJ as well.

However, when she decided to get married, she also decided to leave the life of glamour modelling and celebrity. Moving to Sydney with her non-celeb Australian husband, Park initially found herself at a loss. Her whole world had been uprooted.

“Often, when we want to switch careers or have big changes in our lives, we think about everything. We stress ourselves out with so many thoughts—question after question, and doubt clouds our minds."

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(PHOTO: Jinri Park)
(PHOTO: Jinri Park)

From Celebrity to Waitress to Podcaster

Many of her fans see Park as a ‘super celebrity’, and with an Instagram following of 936k, it seems she is amazingly popular. But Park doesn’t see herself that way.

“I would not consider myself a ‘super’ celebrity at all,” says Park. “I was playing small roles, and not everyone knew who I was.”

When she chose to take up a job waitressing in Sydney, Park didn’t see it as a downgrade, either, as she proudly acknowledges she has a degree in hotel and restaurant management and previously worked in Makati City restaurant, Your Local.

“Being a waitress was not an easy decision. I had to go in thinking I was starting over again, from the very bottom. I couldn’t let pride or my ego get in the way when I was starting something new,” explains Park. “Some people would say mean things, such as me being a waitress was my karma, or [they] looked down on the job. I didn’t feel like being a waitress was something to be looked down upon.”

Park says she enjoyed the work, made some great friends, and took dealing with rude customers all in her stride.

“I didn’t find it too difficult to adjust at all,” says Park, “but my issue was if I wanted to do this for the rest of my life, and the answer was no. This is why I had to quit and regroup and take some time to think about my future.”

(PHOTO: Jinri Park)
(PHOTO: Jinri Park)

That future has materialised to a certain extent in Park’s recently launched podcast show. As a former radio host, the skills came easily, and the freedom of being in charge has allowed Park to reach out to both her fans and ordinary people.

“I started this podcast for myself. As cliche as it sounds, I was lost when I had to move to Australia. It felt that I lost my job, security, friends and everything. I was confused and wondered what I could do,” explains Park with her trademark honesty.

“I thought about going back to school, trying to get different jobs, but I always ended up not being 100% sure. While being lost, I wanted to do something for myself. To help me relieve my stress and also reconnect with my followers. I felt that my followers never really got to know the real me. Since I did have a background in being a radio jock, I thought it would be a great opportunity."

Park hopes that via her intimate and personal podcasts, she can help herself with personal development and those who are listening in.

“I know that, at least for me, this experience so far has been therapeutic and helpful for me to look back at myself and correct my mistakes. I only hope that it can do the same for other people.”

(PHOTO: Jinri Park)
(PHOTO: Jinri Park)

The future is now

Although Park is still interested in acting and modelling, she says that it is not her main focus right now.

“I was always the type to take opportunities [as they came], and I built my career that way. We all have multiple interests in things. Acting and modelling is still part of my interests but just not top priority now,” Park explains.

“Being married changed everything. I understood that everyone is different, and we all have different priorities. Not many people have to quit their jobs, move to a different country and start again. Usually, they end up going to their usual job, still having the same set of friends to hang out with, not adjusting to a new culture, etc. This wasn’t the case for me,” says Park.

“Although a lot of people told me that I was making a mistake by moving to Australia and giving up my life in Manila, I didn’t see it that way. I embraced change. I wanted change. Marriage helped me take that leap of faith, and I’m happy with my decisions so far.”

Jumping in both feet first, embracing change and ‘just trying’, are personality traits that have stood Park in good stead. Park’s advice for others experiencing significant changes in their lives is to “just try”.

“It’s a simple piece of advice, but it has helped me through a lot of changes without too much pressure,” Park explains.

“Often, when we want to switch careers or have big changes in our lives, we think about everything. We stress ourselves out with so many thoughts—question after question, and doubt clouds our minds.

“When that happens, just think of it as ‘trying it out. No pressure, just try it once. If you don’t like it, you can always go back to how things were. If you fail, it’s okay because you were only trying it out. Don’t think of it as a huge career shift or a major decision you have to make.

“It’s simple; don’t make things complicated for yourself.”

You can catch up with Jinri on her podcast Jinjja Jinri at open.spotify.com/show/46i8q6rEoF05JzztlZKxFm and follow her on Instagram at @jinri_88

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