'Apparently I’m a mystery woman now! Marvel fans noticed me in the trailer for the Avengers that came out recently and didn’t know who I was yet—so all over the internet, they refer to me as the Avengers mystery woman. It’s funny but I’m just really grateful. It’s my first US project—up until now, I had done mostly Korean TV. I got into the industry in 2005…while I was an international studies major in school, I entered the super model contest in Korea. I wasn’t all that interested in entertainment or modeling. But it was the first international modeling contest and my parents, they're crazy about anything international. So they said, you know, ‘Why don't you do this? Why don't you try out? And then I won first place! Everything took off from there.
When I started auditioning for the Avengers, I had no idea what the role was for—they’re really secretive about that stuff. And I was just happy to receive an English script, you know? I was thirsty for more at that point. But I wasn't all that nervous, so I just focused on enjoying the process. They had changed the names in the script so we wouldn’t know what the project was…by my final audition they were like ‘OK, add Thor into that.’ I was like, ‘What!?’
Now that I travel for work, I go out more—it’s hard in Korea because more people recognize me. Here I have some privacy. My friends and I will go out for dinner and drinks, but I don't really go dancing or anything like that. I love caviar and champagne so we’ll go somewhere like Caviar Russe and sit and talk for hours. Last time I was there, we ended up drawing on the table. Felt kind of bad about that…
I always have to prepare myself emotionally to go to a party. It’s a little overwhelming for me, but it's a great place to meet people. I have a granny inside of me, my friends say. Staying home and watching French movies is what I normally like to do. Before a night out, I definitely like to get a massage or take a long bath. I’m also a tea person— Mariage Freres Marco Polo tea is a French brand and it’s the best. I always have a travel mug of it with me. I use aroma oils too—a little bit under my nose before I go somewhere or when I’m traveling. It's really comforting and relaxing. I also heard they’re good for you, to prevent colds. My favorite is the lavender from Neal’s Yard. Their Rose Essence Oil Balm is also great for removing makeup at the end of the night.
I must work out, too. My face kind of swells up sometimes when I'm tired—I get what I call fat nose. So I’ll do anything—we did a lot of circuit training and CrossFit for the Avengers, and those exercises are easy to do if I can’t get to the gym for the treadmill and weights. It really helps to depuff my whole face.
I still feel it's important to kind of stick to your natural look, even if you're going to a premier or something like that. I don't want to seem like I'm hiding underneath my clothes. But, I like to explore clothing-wise. How I dress is definitely more adventurous than how I do my makeup.
Right now, I’m in New York promoting Marco Polo, a series I did for Netflix. It takes place in the 13th century, and is about Marco Polo and his travels from Venice to Mongolia. I wore this Aquilano Rimondi dress to the premier because I felt like it fit my character—it's kind of like armor. It jingles. It's all metal. I wore it with heels and then the next day I wore it like this with boots. I like kind of the rugged bohemian kind of look. I wear a lot of Martin Margiela, Isabel Marant. Definitely French. A little minimal, but creative. I like when there's like a fun element to it. Margiela is always full of surprises.
Even when I’m going out, I don’t tend to go heavy on the makeup. It doesn’t feel good on my skin. That's why I focus more on the facial masks. I like the La Mer Lifting and Firming Mask. Or I would use the Crème de la Mer as a mask on its own. A lot of people recommended it to me because my skin's really dry. Nothing was as hydrating as this. I also try not to use tap water on my face—especially when I’m traveling. I’ll use bottled water to rinse instead. It just seems safer to me. Under my eyes and around my nose I’ll use Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. When my face is dry, I think I look more tired. This helps me look fresh and more moisturized.
The best BB cream is by Missha. It's one of the first ones that came out of Korea. Ever. And it’s very inexpensive, but the color and the texture are really great. It's very, very natural and it kind of gives your face like this glow that you normally don't get from other products. My makeup artist actually started using it after I showed it to her. Now she uses it for everything!
For an event, usually I would focus more on the eyes. But nothing too heavy. Like, I'd never do a smoky eye ever. I just use a little bit of brown shadow to add more depth to the eye. If I’m feeling adventurous I’ll do a cat eye with a brown pencil. I tend not to use liquid liner because I think it looks better smudged. So I draw the line with a Woodbury Makeup New York pencil [ed note: not available in the US]. Then I do a trick with clear mascara—I put Sherani Protein Mascara over the pencil line so it doesn’t smudge too much.
If I don’t do eye makeup, I’ll use Clé De Peau Extra Rich Lipstick in Red Abundance. It’s my favorite red. It's kind of orange-ish and pretty bright. I found it two, three years ago because I was looking for something that wasn’t too pinkish or girly. Those colors tend to make me look too young. Sometimes I’ll go for a more purple tone. Three Concept Eyes makes a good one. I also like their Lip Lacquer in Dahlia, a rich burgundy. It’s more of a velvety stain. I won’t color my full lip with it. I’ll just put it on the inside and smudge it out.
AFTER THE PARTY
I can only focus right before bed, so I’ll read books or scripts and get some work done when I get home, no matter what. I always use these cool stockings that I got that are from Japan when I'm in for the night. They’re compression and they go all the way up to my thigh. I’ll sleep in them so that I don't get puffy. They work by morning and you don’t have to massage them or anything. I don’t really know how it works, but it’s definitely effective.”
—as told to ITG
Claudia Kim photographed by Tom Newton. Read more After Dark here.