Miss Korea’s Plastic Surgery Scandal After Photos Surface
Author: Chelsea Hawkins
Posted: July 20th, 2012
Filed Under: BLOG
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Photos via naver.com

Recently crowned Miss Korea 2012, Kim Yu-mi, openly admitted to having gone under the knife in order to achieve her pageant-winning good looks.

After high school photos of the now 21-year-old Kim surfaced on the internet, scandal ensued. The delicate beauty is only a shadow of her former self, the images of the much younger Kim little resembling who she is today.

“I was shocked that the papers made it out like I claimed to have been a natural beauty,” she told a tvN entertainment show on Wednesday. “I never once said that I was born beautiful.”

Kim said she never intended to hide she had plastic surgery, and although she understands there are some people who will be disappointed, she wants to look forward.

“From now on, I hope to make a name for myself for my inner beauty rather than my outer beauty,” said Kim, who is currently taking a yearlong break from studying film at Konkuk University.

Read iamKoreAm’s original report on Kim Yumi’s crowning earlier this month, here

  • Selina li

    even with the surgeries,she still looks likes a natural beauty *cries* even though it’s not.

  • Kim Chi

    She looks like she has DOWN SYNDROME! Like her eyes are caved into her socket! INBREDS without a doubt!

  • Kim Chi

    Here’s the FUNNY thing and ALWAYS the DEAD giveaway!! When THESE twats have children the UGLYNESS will be revealed and the TRUTH shall be revealed fucking yikes! I feel sorry for the guys who got hoodwinked and conned into thinking that’s who they thought their wife was! NO she’s really ugly and looks like an INBRED! Just look at your kid as evidence! These fools will probably slice and inject their own children to conceal their bullshit lies! Serves you right! Never fix what is broken or else look forward to looking like a human dart board! Just a bunch of weak minded self loathing screw ball self hating women! Inbreds!

  • Feli

    While I understand for this girl to win, she probably had to change her looks, but the problem is when everyone has so much surgery, they all start looking the same! I can’t tell her apart from the two other girls behind her in the red and in the pink. They all look like they could be twins or triplets.

    They’re making the “look” look boring. I wish they left some part of their face unique. Just imagine if Angelina Jolie were to change her lips to look like everyone else’s!

  • Stupid surgery

    The truth is she does not watch TV so is not brainwashed like all Koreans you can see in the subway, watching dramas on their phones. They are obsessed by the media… such a pity.

    Real Korea is more than that and kpop. President Lee Myung-Bak “2 MB” (Lee can mean two, this nickname makes fun of him and his incompetency) chose the fastest but fakest way to make Korea popular across the world.

  • Stupid surgery

    I have lived in Korea for 1.5 years and it is true most of girls are so hot over there. But after some months I actually realized the prettiest ones all underwent surgery. Every time I went outside I surprized myself wondering what that or that girl changed on her face.

    Perfection is boring ! Double eyelid, v-line… expensive and useless, then they all look alike.
    My girlfriend is korean and really look different (square jaws, single eyelid) yet she is beautiful :)

  • Nia

    Maybe if Koreans stopped making Western ideals beautiful then girls would need to spend thousands on plastic surgery. I saw the rest of the contestants and they all looked like they had work done to look more westernized. How about put a monolid, tan, button nosed Korean girl as a beauty queen and try changing the perception of beauty in Korea instead of blaming her for conforming to what every one in Korea considers beautiful.


    If you ask me…I’d say she was waaay hotter before surgery.

  • farha

    I’m not against plastic surgery. It’s fine to want to look good. But in the case of beauty pageants, isn’t it unfair to other participants who didn’t do surgery? Or should we assume it’s fair because plastic surgery is so common, all participants have sone it somehow? So, person A won because her plastic surgeon did a good job and person B’s surgery is not so well-done ?!?
    Where do you draw the line in a competition where one of the measures is physical appearance?

  • Isaac

    Medical tourists from other parts of Asia (usually Chinese and Japanese) flock to Seoul to get one because it is “affordable” and want to look like Korean celebrities.

    I’ve seen them in the streets of Myeong-dong and Hongdae. It’s pretty standard nowadays.

  • Vhris

    Chinese man sues his wife for being ugly, and the court awards him £75,000


    They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    But for one man from northern China, this was not the case.
    Earlier this year, Jian Feng, divorced and sued his wife for being ugly.

    He won his case and was awarded a little under £75,000 by the judge, Fox 31 reported.
    Mr Feng said he took issue with his wife’s looks only after the couple’s daughter was born.

    He was shocked by the child’s appearance, calling her ‘incredibly ugly’ and saying she looked like neither one of her parents.
    Mr Feng was so outraged that he initially accused his wife of cheating.
    Faced with the accusation, his wife admitted to spending around £62,000 on plastic surgery which had altered her appearance drastically.
    She had the work done before she met her husband and never told him about it after they met.
    Mr Feng filed for divorce saying his wife had deceived him and convinced him to marry her under false pretenses.
    The judge agreed with him and awarded him the damages.

  • gang-name style

    koreans never satisification with natural selves, always is receptioning of plastic surgeryies. if koreans still poor before emergencing of samsung, lg or hyunday, then koreans still walk on dirt streets, eating with fingers instead of chopstikcs, takes bath in rivers. mark smith is correction about 25 years ago korean celeberties. they do not looking like v-shape or contemporury korean stars. psy is typical korean, he no receptioning of plastic surgery. he no shameful of his narutural korean apperunce, and reaons for his succex.

    Gangname style!

  • IVan

    bla bla bla bla, korean? why im not surprise. im asian and life in asia continent, do you think if u say those asian then my face must be same as korea, japan or chines, bitch please asian is continent and so many race in there, but my race not doing this terrible thing like this korean shit, Im proud of what god gave me. btw rusian is in asian continent to MORRROON !!!!

  • Stoned Tokki
  • kawai

    This is so sad. Korean women are so beautiful naturally. I wish they didn’t feel the need to conform to western standards. Just terrible…

  • R_Chiang

    going under the knife is considered the norm in korea. korean middle school girls get it as a rite of passage. high school girls get it for their graduation gift. korean guys get it to “soften out their mongolian mandible” etc. even americanized koraen girls get it. if you go clubbing in k town, so many of them received it you can tell.

    the best looking asianz are ABC, and some nisei and newer japanese american girls.

  • JPong

    Deca you need to back off Mark Smith! As an American and lover of Korean culture I can agree that many Koreans in entertainment look so similar and have westerized their looks. I THINK THE GUYS LOOK HOT!!! Even though they went under knife, who cares! You added Angelina Jollie to the plastic suregery list and Natalie Portman and they haven’t had anything done just look at their teenage photos. They are natural beauties or if they had surgery early then so be it. You really need to stop taking things so personal and take something for that horrible PMS you have!!!!

  • deca

    Mark, for a “MarkSmith” your English is pretty spotty. why dont you just post with your real ethnicity? the fact that you think a Western name gives a cover of less culpability speaks to how insecure you are about your own race.

    first of all, all you Japanese and Chinese crying on this board… do you think it makes Chinese and Japanese look BETTER trolling when you troll obsessively about Korea or more IGNORANT? especially when you FOBS can’t form a coherent argument in your broken English?

    take a rational moment and ponder that answer.

    especially because most Koreans and people around the world who love Koreans and Korean culture dont give a shit about lunatics ranting projecting their own insecurities on the Internet. congrats you made your own cultures look asinine. was that what you were going for?

    second the idea that plastic surgery itself is a valuative proposition is a very queer one. in the modern world there’s all kinds of body modification that people undergo… plastic surgery, tattoos, piercings, even sex changes to make themselves more comfortable and feel better about their bodies

    none of these are valuative. it’s not “right” or “wrong” to change your body. that you think it is shows how backward and stunted the education systems of Japan and China are. the developed West does not think like that, nor does Korea. your own countries are hopelessly backwards and primitive in many key ways

    third, this past year there was a transsexual contestant in the Miss USA contest. this person has undergone way more plastic surgery than this Korean girl. why dont you go troll her? oh. I guess you are too scared to even THINK shit about a Westerner. typical colonial mentality and weak man of asia syndrome. now we see why you’ve both lost those wars to the West.

    plastic surgery is very common. it’s neither right or wrong. regardless of culture, almost every “great beauty” of every race and ethnicity has had some done. a very quick list of American celebs who’ve had significant work done include:

    Angelina Jolie
    Scarlett Johannson
    Natalie Portman
    Kate Beckinsale
    Megan Fox
    Halle Berry


  • MarkSmith

    Koreans look are very different. Majority looks like the before photo of this beauty queen.

  • MarkSmith

    Look at the picture above. All the korean gals look so much alike. This is plastic surgery work.
    Most koreans had plastic surgery in the entertainment industry. Look back at the korean celebrities in 25 or more years ago,none look like that = today fake chin (too “V” shape), save small oval face shape ( too much jaw and cheek bone cutting), those eyes aren’t obvious not very korean looking, and the noses are fake too.

    Sorry koreans, you people are spreading plastic too much!!!!!!!!!

  • DK420

    Most if not all beauty pageant contestants in Miss World or Miss Universe get some kind of plastic surgery. Latinas are notorious for it, so was Miss Thai in 2010 .. ROK is the plastic surgery capital of Asia but I’ve haven’t seen too many bad cases like Michael Jackson, Sammy Sosa, or Lindsey Lohan..

  • To the Haters

    “On the streets of Apgujeong, the Seoul neighborhood that is ground zero for plastic surgery in Asia, there are new faces looking to get lifted. The latest boost to South Korea’s booming beauty industry? China’s wealthy.”


    “Eye surgery by a Korean doctor typically costs $1,500, more than seven times the $200 that Chinese surgeons usually charge. But for many wealthy Chinese, money is no object.”


    “An industry insider in Shanghai also noted that while the cost of plastic surgery has been rising in China, it has held firm in South Korea. Adding to the allure, the appreciation of the yuan against South Korea’s won makes prices in Korea cheaper for Chinese people.

    “The price of plastic surgery in South Korea didn’t change in the past five years, while domestic price has risen by at least 20 to 30 percent in recent years,” said Liu Chunlong of the Shanghai Art Plastic and Cosmetic Hospital.

    He said prices for comprehensive surgeries like facial restructuring is similar between South Korea and China, which retains a price advantage only on small operations like double-eyelid surgery.

    “Chinese plastic surgeons’ capability has caught up with their South Korean peers, but our doctors’ professionalism and aesthetics still lag behind,” he said, adding that many South Korean surgeons have learned art and painting and do more study on the patient for a better surgical plan. “Their surgical procedure is also more elegant.”


    “The shortcomings of China’s medical system are hardly limited to cosmetic and plastic surgery. But the industry now generates an estimated $2.3 billion in revenue, and the government has begun to take note. Officials say new regulations will probably be issued this year.

    One implicit goal is to halt the flow of Chinese patients to better-established hospitals in South Korea. Mr. Ma estimates that Chinese make up 30 percent of cosmetic surgery patients in Seoul.”


  • Jeremy

    It’s a class status issue. If you are a rich female, you get plastic surgery. Most Chinese women are poor, so they don’t get it. But, Korean women are rich and can afford plastic surgery.

  • imma hater aka nuff said

    @12, 14, 15, & 16 read the article in the link. a korean wrote it and it’s straighjtforward, no nonsense, truthful, etc. Yes, it’s true that many non-asians in hollywood receieve plastic surgery. however, they are ridiculed for it by the media. moreover, it’s not a “complete teardown and buildup from groundup” like korean celebrities get. koreans get eye, nose and jaw jobs…that’s essentially your whole face. do you really have that much self-hate for your natural looks?..what a shame! in other words, korean get drastic plastic surgery jobs whereas americans get minor “touch ups.” americans even call their own celebrities “ugly” and what not when it’s discovered that their natural looks are altered; howeveer, koreans do not. this is a sign of insecurtiy and “reflexive obedience.”

    stop rationalizing and using fallacious arguments. plastic surgery was orginally intended for those disfigured from accidents, war wounds, etc. but koreans take it out of hand it’s a full fledged, commercialized, and integrated into korean culture as NORMAL.

  • 38nomA

    Bear in mind that in Korea, it is usually required to attach a photo of yourself to your resume. Therefore, women assume (probably correctly) that they are being judged based on their looks as much as on their skills/experience. Women everywhere probably assume that as well, but the pic requirement gives Korean women extra reason to assume it. Thus, surgery is not just vanity. It’s an investment.

    What fascinates me is that knowing how the older folks feel about half-Koreans, it must piss them off when all these kids get the eye-rounding surgery that makes them look more like half-Koreans.

  • bd

    And some posters really need to get over themselves.

    Many of the best known actresses in Hollywood have had something done (Jennifer Aniston, for example); heck, most of the women in LA have had something done.

  • bd

    I see that charge it on plastic – is another one that is pretty much ignorant about this issue.

    Koreans don’t want to look “white”; they (largely females) want to look like Koreans who naturally have desirable features like Kim Tae hee, Jeon Ji heon, Shin Min ah. Han Ga in, etc.

    Having large, doe-eye eyes, high cheekbones and full lips are universally desired features for females.

    That’s why white females use mascara and why eyelid surgery is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures in the US (to give largely white women more of the ‘open eye’ look since only a minority naturally have the doe-eye look).

    White females also get cheekbone implants and inject collagen for fuller lips (not to mention straighten curly locks), features that are more commonly found in Korean/NE Asian women – but that doesn’t mean that they want to look ‘Asian.’

    And this is hardly limited to Korea – women all across Asia desire the ‘ideal look.’

    In addition, the Asian double fold is different from the typical caucasian double fold, and can range in size of fold and whether they are ‘hidden’ or partially hidden.

    And there are features like the ‘smiling half-moon eyes’ (Hyori) that are seen as really desirable among Asian women that are not really found in white women.

    For Korean/Asian guys, having a thick double fold is actually seen as being less attractive; for guys (both Asian and non-Asian), it’s better to have almond shaped eyes which gives for a more masculine look.

  • Juna

    It’s finally nice to see Koreans demanding natural beauty, but can you really blame her? Korean society worships the plastic surgery look. Had she kept her original features, she probably never would’ve won in the first place. Although I personally think she was quite beautiful in her ‘before’ photos, now she just looks like a dime a dozen in all those K-dramas. So Koreans, either leave her alone because you enabled her to win the title, or stop cutting into your eyelids and shaving your jawlines!

  • So

    Trolls, get off the site. This is KoreAm Journal, a journal directed at an audience of Korean Americans to discuss Korean American issues intelligently and compassionately. If you’re not going to try to be understanding of the culture and instead try to unload your insecurities onto the comments and pollute the site, gtfo. You’re not needed and nobody cares.

  • Nuff said
  • To #8

    “I’m not Chinese neither.”

    So then, you must be LOL. What are you doing on a Korean site? So many haters on here trashing Koreans when they secretly envy Korean actors. LOL.

  • imma hater

    @8, I’m not Chinese neither. “Most beautiful people are born beautiful.” Nice try with the ‘arguing in circles” fallacious argument. At least, if youre gonna make a valid, FACTUAL point, don’t use fallacious argument.s

    if korreans were proud of their ‘natural beauty’ then 98% of you would look like “before pictures.” keep on rationalizing….LOL.

  • To the Haters

    That’s why Korean cosmetics are doing so well, because other Asians want to look like Korean stars and why Hallyu is doing well, too, for more than 15 years or so.


    There’s so much hate for Korean people because people know we look good. Most beautiful people are born beautiful. The haters can’t admit that. Anyone who says Chinese have more defined faces than Koreans is truly fooling themselves.

  • plastic as Barbie

    @5 & 6, when “Western” women get plastic surgery, they are scoffed at. The media ridicules them, etc. There is shame in it. It shows a sense of insecurity and self-hate of one’s natural looks. but koreans on the other hand got no shame in it. the only shame they got is for their natural looks.

    koreans need to do some deep soul searching. and #5 i am calm. usually when i make light of “koreans and plastic surgery” the IMMEDIATE reaction is: “you Japanese envy us Koreans….blah blah blah.” fyi, lots of other Asians other than Japanese dislike koreans. no, we don’t envy you because koreans got nothing we’re envious of. however, what we dislike is that koreans are so immature, attention hungry, and downright classless. nobody gives a f*(k about your k-pop, dramas, queer looking guys that you presume every girl (other than korean) finds attractive, and so forth. you arrogant koreans presume that everybody is so enamored by your recent “hallyu” garbage. it’s a fad and will die with everything else that isn’t meant to last.

  • Jeremy

    Who cares if they get plastic surgery? Western women do all the time. If they have the money, then let them.

  • dee

    @ charge it on plastic I’m not sure who accused you of being Japanese, but you make no sense and need to calm down.

  • charge it on plastic

    @concerned hangook,

    East Indians fyi are technically “dark white people.” I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but Indians physically are more aligned with white European genetic structure than East Asians i.e. Koreans, Chinese, Japanese. Look at their facial structures, high nose bridges (something Koreans are so obssessed with because it’s not natural for them), recessed eyes, etc. They don’t got flat facial profiles like Koreans. Even Chinese and Japanese people got a “more pronounced” profile than Koreans. Koreans got the flattest faces I’ve ever seen…LOL!!!!!

  • charge it on plastic

    Koreans will not accept their innate looks as “beauty.” That’s why they’re constantly trying to look “white” or European. They argue pointlessly, use fallacious arguments (false analogies, poisoning the well, loaded ?s, letc.) when they dEFEND the reasons why they get plastic surgery. They even straight out DENY that they even received plastic surgery. There is a difference between “indigenous Korean” and “altered Korean.” Accuse me of being Japanese, LOL, because you foolish Koreans immediately presume anyone who points out the fact that Koreans and plastic surgery go hand in hand is Japanese. It’s not just the Japanese who aren’t too fond of Koreans…it’s other Asians too…LMFAO. Now go to the plastic surgeon to get your rhino plasty, double eyelids, or face lift!!!!

  • Concerned Hanguk

    Somehow, I feel shame when My friends define the meaning of Beauty. a lot of people around the world say Koreans have attractive eyes, Face, Skin…etc. and for Some reason, we think we’re ugly.
    I even wonder why this mentality isn’t found in other Asians like Indians, Thai…etc

  • pay with plastic

    Again, we all know Koreans and plastic surgery go hand in hand. Why the denial? look at the before and after pics above. Even she admits in shame. Why are the rest of you koreans in denial. we all know your jaw lines, noses and eyes dont look like the “after” photos.

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