Hi everybody, and welcome to a new Something Different Sunday, on which I talk about… well something different from books.
Today I want to talk about a kdrama I recently watched, called True Beauty. True Beauty is a recent kdrama that received a lot of hype. So I wanted to give it a try myself, and let me tell you… it definitely lived up to the hype for me as I absolutely adored it. So let me tell you all about it!
What it’s about:
True Beauty is a kdrama that’s actually based on a popular webtoon. It’s about an 18-year old high-school student, Im Ju-gyeong (played by Moon Ga-young), who is severely bullied at school because of her looks. Her bullies call her ugly and they have given her a huge inferiority complex. When she moves to a new school, she binges makeup tutorial videos on the internet and masters the art of makeup so well, she becomes instantly popular at her new school. Yet, she’s still terrified anyone will discover her ‘real face’.
Why I loved it so much:
The deeply emotional storyline
Going into this series with just the synopsis and stills to go on, you might get the impression that this is just a superficial rom-com type of drama. But you’d be wrong as this story goes so much deeper. Yes, there is humor. Yes, there is romance. Yes, there are some cheesy moments and the make-over trope. BUT this is such an emotional dive into our superficial beauty culture. It’s an exploration of unfair beauty standards and the things people go through to live up to them. How we live in a society where you can be both ugly without make-up, and fake with make-up. How that affects a person. I felt so much for Im Ju-gyeong and the things she had to go through. And I feel like the show really handled this aspect well. It’s not a superficial message about ‘a make-over will get you the hot guy’. It’s a story about self-love and self-acceptance.
Im Ju-gyeong herself
I loved the character of Im Ju-gyeong and the way Moon Ga-young portrayed her. Though she’s been severely bullied for a long time and it’s definitely affected her, she’s still managed to keep her positive outlook, enthusiasm and goofiness. She’s a kind and loyal person and brave when needed. I also loved how she’s into horror comics and metal music. She just felt like the perfect main character to follow on her journey. I laughed for her, I cried for her, I felt all the things she felt.
Before her make-over, Im Ju-gyeong meets this guy on a rooftop. He helps her out on one of her worst days, and then she never sees him again. Until she transfers to her new school, make-up in place, and discovers he’s the popular yet cold and distant guy in her class called Lee Su Ho (played by Cha Eun Woo). So Im Ju-gyeong is terrified that he’ll recognize her and reveal her secret to everyone. Except, Su Ho turns out to become a real ally who ends up falling for her without the make-up. These two kids were just meant to be and I loved seeing their romance unfold.
Hwang In Yeop as Han Seo Joon
It wouldn’t be a kdrama without a second lead, would it? Hwang In Yeop plays Han Seo Joon, another high school student who doesn’t really care about studying. He’s the school bad boy (though actually really soft-hearted, of course) and he used to be best friends with Su Ho until they had a falling out. Throughout the story, we see him becoming friends with Im Ju-gyeong and developing a crush on her. Though I was totally invested in Im Ju-gyeong and Lee Su Ho, I still rooted for Han Seo Joon at the same time. He was such a loveable character who was just a big softie for Im Ju-gyeong and I wanted him to be happy.
The complicated friendships
Ah, the friendships in this story were just so beautiful. They were powerful and heartwarming, but also not without their flaws as the characters each go through their own troubles. At her new school, Im Ju-gyeong quickly finds the friendship she’s been longing for her whole life, though she worries her new friends will reject her once they find out about her ‘real’ face.
And there is also so much to be said about the (former) friendship between Lee Su Ho and Han Seo Joon. Though they’re not currently friends, they share a painful past as something happened that caused the rift between them and made them into the persons they are today. As they each confront their feelings and what happened, is it possible to restore their friendship?
The family dynamics
I loved the family aspects in this story just as much as the friendship aspects! We spend a lot of time with Im Ju-gyeong’s family and while at first they don’t seem very likeable – they’re not supportive, are not even really aware of what she has gone through and even call her ugly too – it’s a joy to watch them grow and learn and become so supportive and protective of her after all. Her family also provides a lot of the humor in the story and while I didn’t like any of them at first, I loved each and every one of them near the end.
If you like kdramas and are looking for something funny yet heartwarming and emotional with a lovely message about self-love and self-acceptance, True Beauty is just the show for you!
Watch the trailer
Have you watched True Beauty already? If so, please let me know what was your favorite part of the drama!
If you have not yet watched it, do you think you’d like it?