K-dramas and Kpop have become an international phenomenon. People all around the world have come to know Korea through depictions in the media. Like most countries, the majority of Korea’s celebrities are very attractive. This has led to the formation of the all Koreans are good-looking stereotype. But do Koreans look like Kpop idols, and to what extent?
Kdramas tend to be focused on romance. Most male leads are depicted as prince charmings and many viewers fall head over heels for their idols. So much so, that every year people travel to Korea hoping to meet their idols or their own K-prince/princess.
But, are those stereotypes real? Can anyone find their prince charming walking down the streets of Korea?
Up to fashion!
Maybe not all Koreans look like Kpop idols, but generally, they are all up to fashion. Compared to my hometown in Malaysia, I can see a really huge difference between Malaysians and Koreans when it comes to putting their outfits together. As Malaysians, we just wear whatever we want when we go out to places such as the local market. It wouldn’t be unusual to see people in shorts, slippers, or even PJs. However, in South Korea, it is really rare to see people just throw on the first thing in their closet they grab.
Koreans put a lot of effort into their outfit every time they go out no matter what. They will wear really pretty clothes, branded bags, and shoes to match – just to go to the convenience store. Everyone has their own sense of fashion, but everyone sticks close to the mainstream. In Korean culture, fashion is viewed as an investment. It determines how people think of you. Good fashion means good opportunities, and so most Koreans learn how to dress well from a very young age.
Cheap clothes everywhere!
A huge contributing factor to Koreans’ general good fashion sense is accessibility. Daily expenses in South Korea, especially Seoul, are high but one thing I could not deny is that the clothes in South Korea are pretty cheap. In Seoul, you can find lots of nice clothes sold along the street in places like Myeongdong, Hongdae, Ewha University street, and more. The clothes sold along the street reflect the latest trends and are super cheap. Some of them are even sold for only 5000won during sales which is more than worth it.
Besides fashion, Koreans are really consistent with skincare and makeup. Virtually everyone in South Korea wears make-up every time they go out. Not only girls but also guys as well. Everyone uses at least minimal products like toner or BB cream to make their faces shiny and bright.
Make-up is part of people’s daily routines which can also increase their self-confidence indirectly. They put a lot of effort into keeping their faces looking young and fresh. Having a beautiful or handsome face is an advantage when seeking jobs, and the opposite can lose them professional opportunities. Applicants have to include pictures of their faces on their resumes. And so, people have to take self-care very seriously compared to other places.
Similar to fashion, a main factor in why Koreans are able to put that much effort into maintaining a good-looking face is affordability and accessibility. Beauty products in South Korea are much cheaper than in most other places in the world. Because self-care is viewed as a necessity, not a luxury competition among K-beauty brands is high. As a result, there are lots of high-quality, affordable products on the market.
The next reason why all Koreans look like an idol is that they are slightly more open-minded when compared to countries like Malaysia.
Of course, most of the older generation is still pretty conservative, but the younger generation tends to accept influence from the west. There are many Koreans who dye their hair green or purple. They can be seen in youthful areas such as Hongdae, and it doesn’t lead to many prejudices.
In Malaysia dying your hair in unnatural colors is a big deal. You would become famous on social media and everyone would judge you in a different way, you would undoubtedly get a lot of nasty comments. Because of the open-minded culture, Koreans have the courage to try out new fashion trends.
Finally, the last reason why Koreans all look like Kpop idols is because of the advanced medical technology in South Korea. Among my Korean friends, all have had small cosmetic surgeries. It is not only common for adults to get plastic surgery, many high school students also get surgeries during their holidays. It is not unusual for students to return from a school break looking completely different from when they left. Of course, there are still plenty of Koreans who are good-looking without any surgery, but most influencers and people in the media have had a lot of work done.
In a nutshell, it is undeniable that most Koreans do look Kpop idols, but I think it is mostly related to cultural factors. Not everyone can look like Korean prince charming, so the important thing is to appreciate how we look right now because it is a gift. Each of us is a prince/princess charming in our own way.
If you are interested in Korean beauty culture, >>Click Here<< to read all about plastic surgery and beauty standards in Korea.