The blog penned by model Daul Kim, who died last Thursday, apparently by her own hand, has been made invitation-only — probably because the news media have been trawling it for evidence of the 20-year-old's mental state.
Details of Kim's death are still emerging. This morning, Paris Match wrote that sources inside the police investigation say the model left a suicide note. Fellow gossip title Le Parisien stated that "multiple sources" are saying that Kim's father, a Samsung executive, does not believe his daughter killed herself. Kim's mother flew to Paris on Friday, and her father arrived in the city today. An autopsy is to be performed tomorrow — standard police procedure for violent deaths — and the pathologist's findings may be known as soon as the end of this week.
Friends of the young model are also speaking to the press. Several people told the Telegraph that Kim, in the words of reporter Kim Willshire, "had become fed up with modeling and its demands, considering her life was too frenetic and incompatible with forming the sort of long-term relationship she hankered for." Another anonymous friend said Kim would sometimes dodge her agency's calls in order to carve out some time for herself. One of Kim's former agents said, "She was an excellent model, but she used to say she had hard times off the job."
But the richest source of information on Daul Kim remains her blog. The temptation of recent posts that referenced feeling "mad depressed and overworked," a poem that reads in part, "i just know / the more i gain / the more lonely it is," and, most of all, the fact that her last post was titled "say hi to forever," has apparently been too much for major news sources to resist. These mostly quote selectively, ignoring the fact that Kim said she felt depressed and overworked in Seoul and was happy to be leaving for Paris, that Kim titled virtually all of her posts with "say hi to..." and that the post in question was just a YouTube clip of one of her favorite house DJ's tracks, and that in her poem, the lines about feeling lonely were followed directly by lines about falling in love. "but when people grow together," wrote Kim, "its something that is not easy but is nice / and that is something."
It's probably a good thing Kim died in Paris, not in New York, or else we'd have to contend with Geraldo Rivera's opinions of her verse, and television cameras filming the removal of her body, as we were treated to last year, when 20-year-old Kazakh model Ruslana Korshunova jumped to her death in the financial district.
It's understandable that reporters would look to a blog for insight into its author's mind when the author is no longer available for questioning, but it should be done in such a way that the excerpts accurately reflect the whole. Kim often wrote about being busy, yes, and sometimes seemed lonely — but she also wrote about loving Milan Kundera, Klaus Kinski, and Boy George, joked about how she would make a good wife one day, and posted pictures of her paintings. (She had a solo show in Seoul in 2007.) In one of her earliest posts to I Like To Fork Myself, she wrote mock-seriously about ending her life, and then immediately followed up: "KIDDING. I'm fine. Just tired." The overwhelming impression given in her blog wasn't that of a depressive lost soul crying out for help in post after tragically ignored post: it was of a smart young woman with an interesting life, managing bewildering array of responsibilities with a wickedly dark sense of humor. And some issues with insomnia. Not everything in her life should now be re-evaluated in light of her death. To try and turn it all into a series of "signs" diminishes the person that she was.
While it's natural that her next of kin would want to put a stop to quoting out of context, Kim's words have already been featured in articles published from here to Australia. The "I know I'm like a ghost" quote, the "mad depressed and overworked" quote, they're out there. They will be repeated from article to article, from broadsheet to broadsheet to tabloid to tabloid, until all context is erased. Ending access to Kim's blog, while it may tamp down interest in the short term, in essence only serves to deny interested parties a chance to glimpse the wider context of Kim's life. Or at least to see her life as she wished it to be understood. While of course, in the case of a 20-year-old's death, there are no parties more "interested" than her actual family, blogging was evidently important to Kim — she found time to write sometimes several times daily, even as she traveled to three or four countries in a week — and in my opinion, it would be a shame if the record of her life Kim chose to publish were to go permanently dark after her death.
I Like To Fork Myself [Official Site]
Daul Kim: Model 'Had Become Fed Up With Work' [Telegraph]
Daul Kim, La Jolie Fleur S'est Fanée [Paris Match]
Daul Kim S'est-Elle Vraiment Suicidée? [20Minutes.fr]
Enquête Relancée Après Le Suicide Du Mannequin Daul Kim [Le Parisien]
I Know I'm Like A Ghost: A Cry For Help Before Dying [Sydney Morning Herald]