Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all*
We’ve already heard a lot of rags to riches stories. I’ve always been impressed every time I read them and hoping that my “perseverance” would also work out the way I wanted. The next friend I’ll be introducing has quite a similar tale of success. He’s one of my closest friends here in Korea and I’m proud to say that his story is very inspirational.
Kwan Pil Byeun was born in Busan but moved to Seoul for middle school, alone. He’s good at athletics so he decided to come to Seoul and train for basketball at a famous school specializing the said sports, Yongsan Middle School. His parents supported him all throughout. However, he transferred to another school after graduating, to Myeongji High School, because his family could not handle the fees anymore.
His high school life was never easy. Even if he did not train for a varsity program he was very busy doing part time jobs. He said he almost tried everything. From construction works, hotel, delivery, being a waiter and more menial jobs just to save money. After graduating high school, he did not go to college immediately. He decided to just work for a year and save money but at the same time he was already preparing for his admission to a university.
Now, he is currently a 3rd year student taking BA Physical Education at Sejong University.
One would wonder how he got himself into the “entertainment” business. Kwan Pil was a basketball player in middle school and college but his figure didn’t match the image of an athlete. Figure, meaning weight. One day, his professor recommended him to join a TV program called Absolute Man (절대남자) on XTM last June 2011. Since he needed money, he joined and just thought of it as like a part time job. The mission of the program was to lose weight in 13 weeks. Their diet and exercises were filmed regularly to show the progress. Luckily, the word that he used because he said all contestants were deserving, he won. While doing the mission he was also able to join another competition by invitation. He joined a very popular contest in Korea, the Men’s Health Cool Guy Contest in August and also won as Best Challenger.
So after that he got more offers. He modeled for many clothing lines like Levis, K-Swiss etc. and magazines like Men's Health, My Wedding and more. He also appeared on many TV shows like MBC Prime and XTM’s Keu Dang Ban (그당반). So, I’ll guess we’ll expect to see him more on TV.
Yes you’ve read the subheading right, he’s an entrepreneur. At his young age Kwan Pil is already running his own business through his hardwork. He opened a coffee shop ala restaurant ala bar called Banana Talk last October 21st this year. I call it a hybrid coffee shop because it does not only offer coffee or desserts on its menu. It also offers different food choices like chicken, pasta, sandwiches, burgers, drinks and the atmosphere is really good. When you visit Korea, make sure to stop by this store and get a sign from him!
Despite his success, Kwan Pil is very down to earth and believes that he still have a lot of things to learn. He plans to study culinary and management too. And hmm maybe a bit unrelated, he has a dog named Batteug.