Before earning the name Wannabe Linda, the body stylist, and being tapped by Adidas Women as its ambassador last year, Linda Shin was a typical office worker whose life was swamped with work and daily stress. And just like any other women in her mid-20s, Linda started working out in a small gym with the goal of losing weight and most importantly, looking pretty and slim like K-pop idol stars.
Nine years later, more than 271,000 Instagram users are now following the fitness icon’s Instagram page not only to look at the glamorous photos of her physique, but also to gain an insight into her lifestyle and self-created workout routines.
Linda appears in an 2016 Adidas promotional video. (Adidas)
In order to communicate with those who share her interests, Linda has been holding workout sessions at her studio called “Wannabe Linda Studio” in Seoul for about a year and a half. In January last year, Linda became one of the faces for Adidas Women, promoting and attending the brand’s events as its ambassador. She also has a partnership with Cosmopolitan magazine where she features as a body mentor.
“About 10 years ago, there was a time I shed about 20 kilograms to become slim. I thought I had an ideal body shape, but one day I saw in the mirror my spine sticking out and thought there was something wrong. That’s how I started working out,” said Linda during a recent interview with The Korea Herald in Seoul.
Linda (Wannabe Linda Studio)
“I had never thought that exercising would become a real job. But after several years of working out, I found it very interesting and finally made the decision to quit my job. It was the biggest and boldest decision I’ve ever made in my life,” she added.
Linda confessed that dedicating herself to a strict diet regime was one of the hardest things before she left her job, especially because she couldn’t enjoy her social life. Since she had to refrain from fats and alcohol, Linda avoided meeting people and co-workers. Some people, including her friends, accused her of being too rigid with her decision.
“But as I began to make progress in my fitness career, those who used to talk behind my back came over to me and asked for my advice. That was the time I felt proud of myself for not giving up on my dream,” Linda said.
“I just followed my heart. Some people still tell me that I looked prettier before I started working out. But I tan my skin dark and grow muscles, because that’s what I want.”
Linda, who gained initial fame through Instagram, said she wanted to have more real-life interactions with people and share her knowledge and experience with others. Believing self-improvement is at the core of happiness, the 34-year-old body trainer has been visiting the US every year to broaden her perspective in fitness and learn new workout routines and trends.
From September to October last year, Linda held her workout sessions in Los Angeles and New York City exercising with fitness enthusiasts and made unforgettable memories.
Just as each city has its own vibes and attractions, people’s lifestyles in the US and Korea are different as well, according to Linda.
“I think, in Korea, fitness has been growing popular with improvement in appearance as the ultimate goal. On the other hand, for people in the US, working out is part of their daily lives. Many of them exercise just to have healthier lives,” she said. She added that one of her goals is to change the commonly held idea that women work out mainly to look better for others.
Linda isn‘t focused on having a perfect body anymore. Instead, she hopes to keep studying to become a positive influence on people who consider her as someone to emulate.
”I’ve received many requests from TV stations to feature in their programs, but I rejected them because I don’t plan to be a star trainer who talks on TV shows. For now, I just want to keep studying fitness and help people take care of their bodies,” Linda said.
“I’m not a planner. But one day, I may write a book about fitness, only if I become professional enough to share my knowledge,” she added.
By Hong Dam-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)