Mun Ka Young And Tumi Have Found The Secret To Staying Stylish, Even While Booked And Busy

The South Korean actress tells GRAZIA Singapore what she loves about Tumi’s new Asra collection and how she keeps her style versatile
South Korean actress Mun Ka Young, Tumi’s latest global ambassador, fronts the campaign for the brand’s Asra collection
South Korean actress Mun Ka Young, Tumi’s latest global ambassador, fronts the campaign for the brand’s Asra collection

Mun Ka Young has a lot of places to be. When she is not filming a drama somewhere in Seoul, the South Korean actress can likely be found in European cities like Milan and Stockholm, sitting front row at a fashion show. In late March, only a couple of weeks after launching her first book, the True Beauty star flew out to Singapore to make her debut as a Tumi global brand ambassador. 

You can immediately see why Mun, a frequent flyer, is a great fit for the travel and lifestyle brand that is best known for its luggage. When describing the actress, Tumi’s senior vice president of marketing and ecommerce, Jill Krizelman, says, “She embodies everything we want the Tumi woman to feel; confident, successful and empowered.” 

She’s all that, but what may be lesser known about Mun—especially to her fans and her 13 million Instagram followers—is that she is also a very practical person. Referring to the popular personality test, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Mun reveals that she is a judging type, meaning that she prefers a sense of structure and organisation. “I need to plan everything,” she says. “In the case of travelling, I usually carry two luggages, because I need to be over prepared rather than underprepared.”

South Korean actress Mun Ka Young, Tumi’s latest global ambassador, fronts the campaign for the brand’s Asra collection
For her first Tumi campaign, Mun felt free to express her personality

It’s no wonder that Mun appreciates functionality just as much as form. The 27-year-old looks for bags that are versatile in real life—not just for showing off on Instagram. There are plenty of them to be found in Tumi’s Asra collection, a new line of women’s handbags that takes inspiration from Singapore’s sunsets and its blend of modernity and heritage.

As the face of the collection, Mun stars in her first Tumi campaign with standout designs like the Asra shoulder bag and the Asra large hobo bag in black. The latter is Mun’s personal favourite “because a lot of things can fit in just one bag,” she says. (For those who are wondering, Mun always packs her earphones and a moisturising mask whenever she travels.) 

When she wants to make a style statement, the actress opts for the shoulder bag, especially in the dusty pink shade, “Cameo Rose”. The bag comes with an elegantly twisted top handle and a pleated exterior, which conceals some nifty features. “If you take a look and actually open the back [of the bag], you will see the microfibre pocket inside, which is a game changer,” shares Mun.

South Korean actress Mun Ka Young in Singapore for the Tumi Discovering Asra event in 2024
Mun is a fan of the Asra shoulder bag in Cameo Rose, which features a pocket with a microfibre lining

Mun has Tumi’s creative director Victor Sanz to thank for that thoughtful detail, and many more seen throughout the Asra line. Before working on the collection, the New York-based designer was frustrated by what he found lacking in bags made for women.

“In New York, I kept seeing that women had two bags with them,” recalls Sanz, who has worked at Tumi for 21 years. “They would have their tote bags, with all their work things and their shoes. And then they would have their other smaller bag—which is an expression of their personality, their emotional connection, and how they wanted the world to see them.” 

That observation has served Sanz as a reminder of what he strives to achieve with Tumi’s Asra line: creating products that are both beautiful and functional. And Mun is very much the kind of modern woman that he had in mind when designing the collection. 

“She really embraced this idea [of being multifaceted] and brought it to life,” says Sanz about the star’s first Tumi campaign. “With her elegance and sophistication, she really could portray what we were trying to get to. It was quite natural, because I think it portrays her as well.”

It’s also important to note that the actress wasn’t playing a role when modelling for the campaign. “When I’m acting, there’s a limited perspective or character that I can show,” Mun says. “So I try to show more [of my personality] through fashion, like when I did this shoot with Tumi. I realised that I could show a part [of me] that the public might not be aware of.”

South Korean actress Mun Ka Young with Thai celebrities Love Pattranite and Dunk Natachai in Singapore for the Tumi Discovering Asra event in 2024
At Tumi’s Discovering Asra event in Singapore, Mun rubbed shoulders with Thai celebrities Love and Dunk. The actress completed her party look with the Asra small crossbody bag in Purple Sunset

Style has clearly become an important form of self-expression for Mun, who has been in the acting industry since she was 10. Despite having worked throughout her youth, the German-born star says she has no regrets. “I would tell my younger self that if you continue to do great and do what you’re doing, you’re going to be in Singapore like this,” she shares with a smile. She also added that if she could come back to the country for a real vacation, she would revisit Universal Studios Singapore—she’s a fan of the souvenirs and dolls sold there—and treat herself to chilli crab.  

For the time being, though, while she was in town for Tumi, the actress attended the brand’s Asra launch event in Sentosa, she flaunted the Asra small crossbody bag in “Purple Sunset”. With its vibrant, gradient-effect handle, the bag stood out beautifully against her black gown for the evening. It demonstrated Mun’s style secret for taking a look from day to night by simply adding a striking “point” to her outfit, she says. She may have been there for business, but her style certainly wasn’t compromised.