Let’s go back to the amazing story of Jinri Park from Day 1. Would you mind reliving the tale?
I am a classic case of someone starting from zero. I was a full-blooded Korean who ended up living in the Philippines. I didn’t have anyone in the family who was into show business. I didn’t have any ties, I didn’t know anyone in the industry. It all really started with a photographer-friend who invited me for a test shoot to which I obliged. He was really happy about it so he suggested I try out for auditions and stuff. I didn’t think much of it, but I did as he suggested. Why not?
The casting people must have signed you up immediately.
No. I would fail every audition! No one would book me for modeling because at that time I was competing with Brazilian models. They were very slim and tall with perfect jawlines. Perfect. I just felt out of place all of the time and I was just struggling to get at least one job. It felt like I was trying to get into an industry that was not for me. It was a different standard back then.
So what turned things around?
When I started doing bikini shoots. You know, there are different types models—the catwalk types, high fashion, and there’s me who’s more fitted for lingerie or bikini shoots because of my body type. When I started doing shoots with photographers Jerico Montemayor and Jay Tablante and doing cosplay, I began to see the direction I would be taking. Things really started to change when I appeared in FHM; you guys really helped me pick up the pace [AOmnl.com's editor in chief was a longtime editor of FHM until it folded in 2018]. After that I got an audition for Monster Radio because they were looking for a new announcer. I joined their search and lost but they still brought me in anyway to take the late night shift, 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. with Tom Alvarez. I slowly built my fan base from there, the Jinjas. Then I got to be on TV with Bossing Vic Sotto in Vampire ang Daddy Ko. I went with the flow and it was amazing!
We guess it also helped that you came at a time when Pinoys were just riding the Korean wave.
I'm really thankful for that Korean wave. I think I made really good use out of it because you don't see a lot of Koreans being sexy right? They are mostly cute.
We get this impression that you are very comfortable with your own skin. In the Age of the Woke what's your opinion about women doing bikini shoots and posting them on social media?
I know a lot of people see it differently. I can't change what I look like. Just because I have bigger breasts than most Asians doesn't mean I can't show it off as as a model. Showing off my body doesn’t mean I’m telling you to have sex with me. I do it because I embrace my body type and I am owning it.