A Look into My ID is Gangnam Beauty
Premiering on JTBC almost a month ago, My ID is Gangnam Beauty is a story that may seem somewhat shallow upon first impression, but the drama holds a lot more to it than what is seen at first glance. The story is based off of a webtoon of the same name and stars Im Soohyang, Cha Eunwoo, Jo Woori, and Kwak Dongyeon.
The drama begins by focusing on Kang Mirae (Im Soohyang), a recent high school graduate undergoing plastic surgery in the first few minutes of the episode. Flashbacks explain that she has been bullied her entire life for her looks, despite losing weight. The initial impression of this is likely negative, as the concept of plastic surgery, while prevalent in many cultures (including our own and that of Korea’s), is still seen as taboo. Mirae takes the time to have the surgery done before college, intending to have a fresh start.
She enters Korea University’s Chemistry program and meets our male hero, Do Kyungseok (Cha Eunwoo). Kyungseok is a cool, emotionally distant man who is looked on fondly by his peers, though he doesn’t seem to care much about anyone’s opinion of him (your classic tsundere protagonist). Mirae panics when she realizes Kyungseok went to middle school with her, and thus panics at the thought he is aware of her plastic surgery.
Our third major character is infamous beauty Hyun Sooah (Jo Woori), the most popular member of her class due to her beauty. Though she initially appears beautiful both inside and out, it quickly becomes clear that her beauty on the outside does not match her inside. She becomes fixated on Kyungseok and constantly tries to sabotage Mirae, though the full reasoning for this has yet to be revealed. Yeon Wooyoung (Kwak Dongyeon) is introduced a little bit later as the chemistry TA who quickly develops feelings for Mirae.
The Important Overarching Theme
The concept of beauty is clearly the main staple of this drama, but it’s not about the importance of it outwardly. While Sooah is presented early on as both a pretty and equally lovely person, it quickly becomes apparent that her looks allow her to get away with being a rather terrible person. In contrast we have Mirae, a kind-hearted soul from a young age who has constantly struggled within society because she doesn’t fit its standard of beauty. She finds that even after surgery she still struggles with being bullied, and thus begins to learn that outward changes are not the answer she was looking for.
Kyungseok plays a major role in emphasizing this idea, as it quickly becomes apparent that despite his good looks, he doesn’t place any merit on them whatsoever. He’s the first to see through Sooah’s sweet façade, and reveals that in middle school he had never held any contempt for Mirae because of her looks unlike many others. The two quickly become close once Mirae realizes this, and Kyungseok spends most of his time looking out for the girl. He never judges her for making a decision to get plastic surgery, either. His ability to see past outward appearance is what makes his character stand out amongst a sea of egocentric male characters.
In addition to this theme, the drama also touches on a lot of other potential issues that young people run into. Mirae has some intense family drama occurring because of her decision to undergo surgery, and Kyungseok’s seemingly perfect life, when examined under a microscope, is shown to be broken. Mirae’s naivety is glaringly apparent from the start, seeing as she doesn’t know how to handle the sudden attention she gets, and even ends up in potentially dangerous situations because of it.
Minor characters are even seen experiencing a sense of discrimination on the basis of beauty, as one second-year student Kim Taehee (Lee Yerim) is repeatedly bullied by male members of the student council for being overweight. When she finally stands up for herself, she’s gaslighted into thinking she’s being too sensitive because the boys were only “teasing” and “looking out for her best interest.”
The drama has aired halfway at this point, so there is still much more to be seen in terms of how the story will go, but so far it’s been a great series and one that is easy to binge. While admittedly we were all about watching this drama for ASTRO’s Cha Eunwoo, we’ve come to really enjoy the story as a whole. Plus, we’re total suckers for the classic tsundere male protagonist who is only soft for our heroine. If you’re looking for a new show to get into, definitely check this one out!
This drama can be found on Dramafever!