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Korean dramas are becoming popular because of widespread access to streaming apps, which also provide subtitles in various languages. K-dramas have attracted worldwide attention for their fashion, style, and culture. One especially popular show, True Beauty, was once a webtoon before it was turned into a Korean drama (a webtoon is basically the same as manga). In the show, Ju Kyung, an 18-year-old high school student with insecurities about her appearance, has been constantly discriminated against by her family and bullied by her schoolmates because she is considered ugly. She begins her makeup education by watching makeup tutorial videos on YouTube. When she masters make-up just before transferring to her new school, her makeover transforms her as she quickly becomes popular and her classmates refer to her as a “goddess.” Ju Kyung still believes she is ugly despite her fame and popularity, and her biggest worry is that her classmates will notice her true appearance. Beyond her makeup, Lee Su-ho, who she had previously seen with her bare face, knows her. Su-ho is well-liked by the school’s female students, but he despises being the center of attention. His hidden past has haunted him for a very long time, and he has his own set of fears. Because of this, he and Han Seo-jun, his previous best friend, have become emotionally distant from one another, and Seo-jun ends up blaming it on Su-ho.
Zoya Mushfiq is a sophomore at Washington High School. Zoya explains that she thought a big conflict in True Beauty was because the main character is insecure about her appearance, and her parents don’t understand why Jo Kyung is obsessed with makeup tutorials and skincare. Zoya’s favorite part of True Beauty was when Han Seo-jun caught Joo-kyung after she fell. She felt all kinds of emotions at that time. She said, “True Beauty is very addictive.” She was unable to put her phone down because she couldn’t wait and had to know what was going to happen next, since every kdrama episode only airs two episodes once a week, and Han Seo-jun is her preferred male lead. She essentially became interested in Korean dramas by watching while in quarantine.
Jocelyn Camacho, a student at Washington High School, is also a fan of the show. She thinks True Beauty is “a cute slow-burn drama with two romantic interests.” She adds, “I like how the other guy likes her regardless if she’s wearing makeup or not, and he’s probably the one she fell in love with first from the bookstore because the other guy was a jerk, but we later find out why.”
Jocelyn’s first Korean drama was 200 Pounds Beauty, about a woman who works part-time as a secret vocalist for a famous Kpop singer and lip syncs because she can’t sing. Rather than being known for her own incredible vocal talent, Hanna hides behind Ammy’s performance stage and sings during Ammy’s concerts. After getting embarrassed at a dinner, she works out and gets plastic surgery until she looks like a completely different person and runs into her old boss/ex-boyfriend and recruits him. Jocelyn became interested in kdramas through friends and YouTube recommendations.
When watching Korean dramas, viewers form close emotional bonds with the characters as they watch them overcome obstacles. When they become attached to the characters, they make up their own story. Most episodes end in cliffhangers, which makes viewers eagerly predict how the conflict will be resolved in the next episode. So, how do you avoid becoming addicted? “Kdramas aren’t addictive because I take frequent monthly breaks and just space them out until I’m interested in watching them again,” Jocelyn says. If you’re interested in this type of content, Asian Crush is a website where you can instantly watch any Asian movies and shows.
Gigi Astrid Monares is a second-year high school student in Washington. She spent her entire childhood in the Philippines before she immigrated to the US in 2018. She became a journalist because she enjoys photography. Her hobbies are watching Korean dramas and listening to music to keep her from becoming distracted while working. Although she’s still considering her options for the future, for the time being, Gigi simply wants to be able to graduate from high school and figure it out.