K-Drama: How Much Does Beauty Mean to You?

by Rebecca Kim

My ID is Gangnam Beauty

내 아이디는 강남미인 (2018)

You might think that My ID is Gangnam Beauty is a pretty lengthy name for a title, and you also might wonder what “Gangnam Beauty” means. In Korea, the district of Gangnam is famous for its wealthy people 💸 If you’ve ever been there before, you might have also noticed passing by many cosmetic surgery clinics. As many people, especially those wealthy people who live in Gangnam, tend to go under lots of procedures, that’s where the idea of “Gangnam Beauty” stemmed from. Basically, it’s a derogatory term that refers to a person who has undergone multiple procedures to achieve their certain idea of “beauty”. Based off the popular webtoon, the title of this drama heavily implies that appearance has consumed the life of our main character to the point where it has become a part of their identity, and that’s where our story begins!

JTBC | My ID is Gangnam Beauty

Our heroine is Kang Mi-rae  (Im Soo-hyang), who was heavily bullied in high school for her appearance. As a result, she has become obsessive about looks, rating everyone she meets with beauty scores out of 100 in her head. Due to the stress and insecurity, she undergoes a full cosmetic surgery makeover, almost to the point of being unrecognisable, to start afresh as she enters university life. The response that Mi-rae now gets and the way that she is treated by others is now entirely different from before, and we see how this begins to affect her confidence in small ways. She becomes friends with the seemingly friendly Hyun Soo-ah (Jo Woo-ri), who she rates as the perfect beauty score of 100 upon first glance. She also runs into Do Kyung Seok (Cha Eun-woo) who attended the same high school as her pre-surgery and knows what her original face looked like. He is quiet, keeps to himself and unlike the other typical boys, he shows absolutely zero reaction to Soo-ah. As Mi-rae and Kyung-Seok start to get closer, he helps her to realise that appearances are anything but the most important thing about a person 🥺

JTBC | My ID is Gangnam Beauty

There are plenty of high school K-dramas out there, but a K-drama in a university setting is actually pretty rare - maybe that’s why I like them even more 🤓 It’s interesting to see how they not only differ from Korean high schools, but how they also differ from our universities. In Korea, there is an idea that high school is much more stressful in the HIGHLY tough competition to get into good universities. Once they are in university, they are generally much more relaxed and have more freedom, which creates an entirely different culture to that of high schools. Another great thing about a university drama like My ID is Gangnam Beauty is the FASHION. We are served all of the effortless and cute outfits, and there’s tons of inspiration to refer to for your own campus looks 🙌

JTBC | My ID is Gangnam Beauty

My ID is Gangnam Beauty, overall, addresses the difficult topic of the pursuit of beauty in Korea. Admist technology that is constantly getting developed and the billion-dollar cosmetics industry that doesn’t seem to show signs of stopping anytime soon, this drama is a breath of fresh air! It poses the question of the price of what it really means to achieve true happiness, beauty and fulfilment 💕

Check out the trailer here!

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