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Dara Park: The Original Queen Of K-Pop In The Spotlight

She was part of one of the most successful K-pop girl groups of the 2010s. Imran Jalal gets up close and personal with Female's first K-cover star, Dara Park.

“Ten years ago, 80 per cent of my work happened in Korea, but now my career has gone worldwide. Eight out of 10 jobs now are for overseas markets, and that includes endorsements, fan meets and events,” she lets on. “It’s kind of funny (to think that all this has happened), but I’m really thankful.” 

Her most important gig so far still comes from home: In February, she became a co-host on the long-running South Korean TV talk show Video Star (think The View x Ellen), cementing her status as one of K-entertainment’s most bankable faces. The weekly programme is co-fronted by seasoned comedians Kim Sook and Park Na-rae, as well as veteran actress Park So-hyun, yet she holds her own. Watch any episode and she comes across as cheeky yet winsome; her on-screen chemistry with her
co-stars adding to the LOL moments.

In person, the youthful 34-year-old is the consummate professional, arriving on time and camera-ready with her hair and makeup done. K-pop stars are notorious for being reticent, even difficult, with overly protective managers. What we got: a seasoned model who had zero airs and was, in fact, at times too polite.


sandara park

Polyester-blend midi dress. Earrings (worn throughout), Dara’s own

While it was clear that she wasn’t feeling the indie rock that was playing over the speakers, she insisted otherwise – and then started bobbing demurely when we switched to some Beyonce. She took every instruction on set with a respectful nod and smile – not that she needed much. It’s clear that the girl knows her angles and loves dressing up.

During her girl band days, she was known for her experimental hairdos and “street style, hip-hop” wardrobe. These days, her tastes have become more refined, she says, with a proclivity for classics made trendy if her Fashion Week snaps are anything to go by. Accompanied by a personal stylist, she picked out the disco-made-discreet look – a glittery blush pink turtleneck top, wide-legged pants in timeless brown, and a leopard print clutch from Kate Spade New York’s F/W ’19 collection – that opens this story.

sandara park

Cotton midi dress. Necklace, Dara’s own.

Of her style evolution, she says: “I had to look strong and aggressive as a performer, but now that I’m on TV and hosting, I have to be more gentle and mature, and have the presence of an emcee.” How’s that for a mic drop?