Psy taught us what Gangnam Style means, but who is a Gangnam beauty? One can’t help but wonder, especially when the premiere of a K-drama called My ID is Gangnam Beauty is just around the corner.

Kang Mi Rae (Im Soo Hyang) is a Gangnam beauty in My ID is Gangnam Beauty.

Gangnam beauty refers to someone who’s attractive but looks as if they went through a number of plastic surgeries for a pretty face, a hot body, or both. Gangnam being Seoul’s most affluent area, 36% of plastic surgery clinics in Korea are located there according to Gallup. Gangnam beauty is a euphemism for a plastic beauty or a plastic beast, depending on the context. Both expressions, which are pretty self-explanatory, have been around since the early 2010s.

Beauty in Korea is defined as having strong facial features which stand out. An example is the Western double fold of the eyelids or a visibly prominent bone structure of the nose. Defined facial features aren’t common for a Korean face. But uncommon doesn’t mean fake. A natural beauty can have defined features, just as someone who had surgeries can look they were born that way.

Hyun Soo Ah (Jo Woo Ri) is a natural beauty in My ID is Gangnam Beauty.

Appearance is important in life according to 86% of 1,500 participants of the aforementioned Gallup survey. This trend remains unchanged since 1994. Three out of 10 women in their 20s have had a plastic surgery. 65% of Koreans find men undergoing plastic surgery for better job prospects and women for marriage socially acceptable.

The statistics are depressing, but that’s the reality. Celebrities have openly admitted to plastic surgeries. Brown Eyed Girls filmed a parody m/v of plastic monsters for SNL Korea. There's a reality show dedicated to the plastic surgery experience called 'Let Me In,’ and an online store for plastic surgeries called Gangnam Sister.

And My ID is Gangnam Beauty is here to change the plastic surgery narrative. It doesn’t glorify or denounce plastic surgery. Plastic surgery is simply a medium for this bildungsroman which follows Kang Mi Rae (Im Soo Hyang), Do Kyung Suk (Astro's Cha Eun Woo), and Hyun Soo Ah (Cho Woo Ri) grow over the course of the story.

My ID is Gangnam Beauty, episode 1, airs tomorrow on DramaFever. Add to your watchlist below.


My ID is Gangnam Beauty

Starring Cha Eun Woo and Im Soo Hyang

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What do you think of the expression Gangnam beauty?

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