My Bag

Glowing beauty

Actress Claudia Kim takes care of her skin and exercises to promote natural beauty.

South Korean actress Claudia Kim is clear about what she wants out of her career.

So much so that she once turned Hong Kong movie star Jackie Chan down when he called her to audition for one of his films because she felt the timing was not right.

"This was in 2005 and at the time, I was just a model," says the fresh-faced and elegant 30-year- old.

"It was a shocker. First of all, it was Jackie Chan on the phone, asking me to audition when I've never done it before. I remember thinking 'I can't do it right now; I need to be more prepared'. But I liked the idea that something like that could happen to me."

She was definitely better prepared when Hollywood came calling around 2013. She did not know what film she was auditioning for until three months later: it was for the role of Dr Helen Cho, a geneticist in the Marvel movie, Avengers 2: Age Of Ultron. She got the role.

By then, she had already starred in six Korean television series, including the spy comedy 7th Grade Civil Servant.

ON HER BAG: I carry this Tumi tote when I travel because it is light and I can fold it into the pouch that comes with it. When I run out of space in my luggage, I pull this out and stuff things into it. I use it when I go to the gym too. ST PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG

"I was never too ambitious in dreaming of going to Hollywood. But after doing several Korean shows, I wanted something different; something that would make people think, woah, I never thought she would make that next step," says Kim, who grew up in the United States and is now based in South Korea.

Kim, who speaks fluent American-accented English, is working on the second season of the Netflix period drama Marco Polo. She plays Khutulun, a warrior princess, and has been in the show since the first season which aired last year.

She was in town earlier this month to be introduced as Bobbi Brown's new face for the brand's campaigns in the region. She is the American cosmetic label's first Asian celebrity face.

On how she relates to the brand's philosophy of being comfortable in one's own skin, she says: "For me, it is all about having inner beauty, being healthy and glowing from inside out, as well as having confidence."

She is obsessed with cleansing her skin thoroughly with oils and gentle grain exfoliators; and keeping her lanky figure in shape with weight-lifting and martial arts such as jiu-jitsu.

"It's great to be able to promote natural beauty, which I believe in," she says.

Things in her bag


This is a milky oolong tea blended by the French tea label. The tea smells milky, but the scent comes from the leaves. I am sensitive to scent, so I love to try different teas. I have this in my bag because I drink it on set when I am filming. It is a healthier alternative to coffee.


I spend a lot of time on the plane and sometimes, I have to go to work once I land. This keeps my legs from swelling as it works on certain pressure points and helps with blood circulation. I also use this after workouts when my legs feel heavy and tired.


I don't really wear caps. But sometimes when I feel like going out to do some grocery shopping and don't want anyone to look at me, I put this on.


This is another form of disguise. They're classic.

I call them my Bobbi Brown glasses because they look like the ones the brand founder often has on. I use these glasses when I don't feel like wearing a cap or when a cap does not go with my outfit.


There's plenty inside. I have lip balm because I will panic if I forget to take one out with me.

I think dry lips are not pretty. I also have a few of Bobbi Brown's Pot Rouge for Lips & Cheeks. I love the coral Calypso shade which I use to add colour to my pale face. I also like to apply some of it on my lids to brighten my eyes.


I got these in Paris. I don't usually go for anything too trendy but these look nice and they match everything.


Fashion brand MCM gave these to me. The earphones are a collaboration with Beats by Dr Dre. Mostly, I use them to listen to worship music.


When I was younger, I used to spend a lot of time at salons getting nail art done. Now, I just like to keep my nails natural. I have this in my bag just in case I need to groom my hands for a photo shoot.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2015, with the headline 'Things in her bag Glowing beauty'. Print Edition | Subscribe