SEOUL, South Korea - Figure skater and Olympic champion Yuna Kim is launching her own ceramic collection, “YUNA,” in collaboration with a Korean ceramic company.
“I wanted to do something with my career that could spread awareness of Korean culture,” said Kim at the YUNA showcase at Shinsegae department store on Thursday. “And I chose the most Korean brand.”
She referred to the porcelain manufacturer Kwangjuyo. The upscale, traditional, handmade pottery-maker is known for its drive to develop and introduce Korean food globally.
Kim, 21, a record-setter in figure skating, has chosen not to compete in the 2010-2011 ISU Grand Prix season, prompting questions as to whether she is ready to retire. This year, she has been engaged in numerous goodwill projects as an athlete ambassador, promoting PyoengChang, South Korea, to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
Kim has been active in her native country as a model for commercial advertisements and as a TV host of her own entertainment show, “Yuna Kim’s Kiss and Cry.”
Hundreds of her fans waited for hours in line with flowers and gifts to get an autograph from Korea’s favorite athlete.
“I think she will retire while she holds the image as the best of best at the very top of her athletic career,” said Chung Hee-Sun, 60, a fan from Japan.
“Initially, Yuna and her mother proposed a project to create a Yuna ballerina porcelain figure,” said Lucia Cho, director of Kwangjuyo. “But we counter-proposed a collection of modern, everyday items that would express her grace and passion in the form of art.”
Kim gave ideas and directed the designing of mugs, herbal candles, music boxes, and massage balls that range from $26 to $230. The round-shaped ceramic musical box plays the melody from her 2011 season’s free skating program, “Homage to Korea.”
“My favorite is the mug,” Kim told reporters shyly after confirming that the design idea came from her perfect body proportion.
Kim holds the world record for ladies in short program, free skating and combined – the first female skater ever to mark past the 200-point. She is the first to win all four major competitions: the Olympic Games, the World Championships, the Four Continents Championships and the Grand Prix Final.
Sooyun Yum and Seoyoung Cho contributed to this report.