Business of HYPE: Christina Paik
Business of HYPE is a weekly series brought to you by HYPEBEAST Radio and hosted by jeffstaple. It’s a show about creatives, brand-builders, entrepreneurs and the realities behind the dreams they’ve built. This week, jeffstaple sits down with Christina Paik.
Photographer, artist, stylist, consultant, influencer and so on, there isn’t one defining word to describe the range of Christina and her work. Having grown up competitively figure skating, Christina’s Olympic dreams were cut short after an injury and she curbed her interests towards fine art. She credits much of her artistic influence and style to her brother who handed her first camera, a Canon AE-1 owned previously by her grandmother.
After majoring in photography at The New School for Design in New York, Christina later transferred to its Paris location only to drop out with a semester remaining. She then decided to relocate there and it was in Paris where she built her massive network. She worked with talent agents to shoot, creative direct and style models all under her vision and aesthetic. Fusing streetwear and high fashion, Christina became known for her edgy style mixed with her authentically honest photography.
Soon, she became inundated into the fashion world, working with brands like Off-White™ , Yohji Yamamoto, COMME des GARÇONS, shooting backstage at runway shows and sitting up front at Dior and much more. Despite Christina’s impressive body of work, she admits she’s still hesitant about being in the spotlight and showcasing her photography on social media. It wasn’t until a couple years ago, she had maintained her anonymity.
“I just felt like my audience did not need to know what I looked like. You just have to judge my work on itself. Why does it matter what the person looks like. People were like, ‘Why are you hiding? Why don’t you post your face? You must be fat or ugly.’ It’s just a crazy phenomenon to people when a girl doesn’t like to show her face and post selfies. It’s definitely a reflection on shaming women in this culture.”
Christina credits coming to terms with her own skin and asian identity through the friendship she built with Awkwafina. Being an Asian American woman in the boys’ club of streetwear, she wanted to create more noise and get uncomfortable in order to push her boundaries. While she maintains her social media in minimal efforts, she advises us to “stay offline and be in the moment.”
In the past, she’s done world-wide tours of her photography exhibition and tells us she has a number of unreleased works along the way. While photography was previously used as her way to connect people, she’s most recently enjoyed using the medium for herself. She later discusses the stigmas of growing up in an asian household, her complex relationship with social media and upcoming projects and much more.
This episode features references to the following:
2:39 – Job title
5:22 – Intro to photography
6:40 – Figure skating
8:04 – Style in high school
9:12 – Parsons School of Design
9:31 – Moving to Paris
18:46 – Early gigs
21:00 – CP Girls
21:56 – Getting instagram
23:13 – First fashion show
26:51 – Staying anonymous
30:50 – Awkwafina
33:45 – Junya Watanabe, Sacai, Off-White™
34:14 – Dior
35:28 – Yohji Yamamoto
37:11 – Working with Virgil Abloh
39:09 – Samuel Ross
40:35 – Unreleased project with Virgil
41:19 – Virgil Abloh x MCA
44:11 – Photography tour
44:38 – Lighter business cards
48:53 – Not using social media
49:36 – What photography means
54:05 – Stay__offline
56:53 – What she’s learned
1:02:22 – Importance of staying offline
1:06:35 – Importance of mental health
1:10:25 – Advice
1:13:03 – Q&A