Ever since the 1960s with Naomi Sims, there has been a growth in diversities reaching the runway, appearing in front of fashion covers editorials internationally. Our latest series brings you mixes of all races around the world–the hottest new generation. Inspired by National Geographic’s Changing Faces article.
Stephanie Peterson, half American half Korean
Korean-Swedish-English model + blogger Stephanie Peterson is taking the international skin-care market by storm. Her Eurasian beauty + business know-how has landed her modeling campaigns in 15+ countries, with the likes of Clinique, Mary Kay and Pandora, among others. A global “nomad” in her own right, she is now located in New York, where she continues to model and runs a beauty/lifestyle blog, called The Global Beauty.
Photography and interview by Lauren Engel
Introduction by Camden Gaultney
all posts of NEW GENERATION
Tell us about your upbringing and how did it shape the person you are now?
Great opening question! Honestly, I could write a book about my upbringing, but in short, my father is American with a Swedish/English/Irish background and my mother is Korean. My father was in the United States Air Force, so we moved a lot while I was growing up. Luckily, I had my little brother Matthew because we were able to support and be there for one another through all the moves. Based on these factors alone, they are the fundamental reasons why I am the way I am today. I believe that moving around has made me more adaptable, sociable, and flexible. During the course of my childhood and teenage years I lived in Texas, Maryland twice, Nebraska, and Ohio. It was wonderful growing up in these states because I was able to enjoy simple pleasures such as running around in the grass and breathing fresh air. Fortunately, I was born with an outgoing personality, so it was easy for me to make friends where ever we went. Even though it was sad to say goodbye to the friends that I had made in each place. The nomad lifestyle has become a part of me, and this made me want to travel and explore the world. Also being Eurasian has made me want to learn more about other countries and cultures including my own.
Talk us through your modeling career – how did you start modeling, which markets you modeled in, your career highlights
As a child, I always dreamt about modeling, but I did not think it would be plausible. Then one day when I was 15, a model scout approached me at the mall and asked me for my phone number because they wanted to sign me. I thought it was a scam, so I told them, no thank you. Then the scout approached me again and said we really think you should model. With skepticism, I gave in and funnily, they did end up being a scam. They were one of those modeling agencies that asked for money upfront to “build my portfolio” and other miscellaneous charges. However, through this experience I ended up signing with an agency that was legitimate because a modeling agent was at the scam modeling event that I attended to scout new faces. It was an ironic situation! I modeled locally while I was in high school, and then three days after I graduated I started my travels to work in Asia. I decided to transition to modeling in Asia because I wanted to get in touch with my Asian roots. Also, the Asian market embraced Eurasians more than the US at that time. Over the course of my career, I have modeled in Seoul, Hong Kong, Taipei, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta, Tokyo, Hamburg, Zurich, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York City. My career highlights have been working for top skincare brands such as Clinique, Olay, Nivea, and Mary Kay.
Have you ever had insecurities with modeling from bookers/clients constantly critiquing your looks? If so, how did you overcome it and become thick skinned at a young age?
I personally have not had any insecurities with modeling from bookers/clients constantly critiquing my looks because I have an Asian mother. She has trained me well to be thick skinned because even though it came from a loving place, no one could critique me the way that she can. I have learned that I am right for some jobs and not right for others. This is all part of the industry.
How does modeling in the US compare to modeling in Asia and Europe?
Modeling in the US is hard to compare to Asia and Europe because each client is different. It really just depends on the people you are working with and their individual personalities. What clients look for in their models in Europe/US/Asia is also difficult to generalize, so all I can recommend is to be yourself because types and perceptions of beauty are constantly changing. Overall, I have been lucky to have worked with talented and professional people throughout my career all over the world. But regardless of what type of job you are doing, don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are confused or uncomfortable with what they are asking of you.
Having modeled for a while, do you feel that the modeling industry has become more accepting towards various ethnicity (Eurasians)?
I definitely feel that the modeling industry has become more accepting towards various ethnicities. The world is becoming more mixed and integrated from one day to the next. I think it is wonderful that the modeling industry is embracing the fact that there is not just one type of beauty because beauty exists in all shapes, colors, and forms. I think collectively we should be proud of where we are from and should celebrate our differences, as this is how we learn and grow.
“Interior design inspires me because it has a powerful effect on personal well-being. Living in a space that reflects your style and personality can help rebalance you emotionally, mentally, and physically.”
What inspired you to start your blog The Global Beauty?
What inspired me to start my blog The Global Beauty was a combination of my travels, my modeling experiences, and my background. I believe that all cultures are beautiful and have knowledge to offer. So I wanted to create a blog that celebrates beauty from around the world.
What interested you to study psychology? What inspires you about interior design?
I had originally decided to pursue interior design because once I started traveling for modeling, I always felt to urge to transform my living spaces into a “sanctuary” for myself so that I would feel comfortable living there for a month or two at a time. In fact, I’m sure I still have furniture that I have bought scattered all over the world in various apartments. Interior design inspires me because it has a powerful effect on personal well-being. Living in a space that reflects your style and personality can help rebalance you emotionally, mentally, and physically. Shortly after pursuing interior design, I decided to change courses to pursue studying psychology. The reason behind this was because I want to be able to help people in a more deep and meaningful way. I have always been interested in psychology, and it was my friends and family that were my motivation and inspiration because they said that they have appreciated my emotional guidance and advice over the years. I could not be happier with my decision to pursue psychology and I hope that I can continue to make a positive impact on people’s lives.
What do you love in the beauty/cosmetics industry and what change would you like to make in it?
There are many reasons why I love the beauty/cosmetic industry. Beauty and cosmetics bring people together, and they boost confidence. I also think that this is an innovative industry, and I am pleased to see that there are more and more eco-friendly and healthier beauty options on the market than there were before. The change that I would like to make in the beauty/cosmetic industry is to continue to spread awareness & education regarding the harmful effects of chemicals in our beauty products. We are starting to see people become more aware of what they are eating and drinking, but it is just as important to be aware of what we are putting on our skin. Our skin is the largest organ of our body and over 60% of what we apply to it which gets absorbed into our blood stream. As an example, any product that contains ‘fragrance’ on a personal care product’s label, read it as ‘hidden chemicals.’ These unlisted chemicals can cause hormonal disruption, reproductive problems, and even cancer. A major loophole in FDA’s federal law lets manufacturers of products like shampoo, lotion, and body wash include nearly any ingredient in their products under the name ‘fragrance’ without actually listing the chemical. In fact, this is the inspiration behind a new beauty line that I will be launching very soon. Hopefully, I can come back and share more with you in a few weeks.
Do you feel that you have changed after you got married compared to while you were dating?
Yes and no. Yes, in the way that I feel a new sense of peace. There is something so wonderful about not having to question where our relationship is going. All we have to focus on now is moving forward together to forge a happy and successful future for us and someday our children. Also no, because we have been together for such a long time that it already felt like we were married. Our relationship was great before we got married, so why fix something that is not broken.
What is your perception on real love?
My perception on love is very simple. I think love should be the most easy-going aspect in our lives. Life is complicated enough as it is. I love the fact that I can come home after a stressful or hectic day and just know that I have my man by my side to listen and let me know that everything will be ok. In the eight years that I have been together with my now husband, we have argued maybe 4-5 times. Life is too short and precious to be arguing and have drama when you are with your loved one.