27 February 2014

미스코리아 Miss Korea

Title: 미스코리아 Miseu Koria
English Title: Miss Korea
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean
Year: 2013
Episode: 20
  • 이연희 Lee Yeon Hee
  • 이선균 Lee Seon Kyun
  • 이미숙 Lee Mi Sook
  • 고성희 Go Sung Hee
  • 허태희 Heo Tae Hee
  • 이기우 Lee Ki Woo
  • 장용 Jang Yong
  • 정규수 Jung Kyu Soo
  • 정석용 Jung Seok Yong
  • 백봉기 Baek Bong Ki
  • 이성민 Lee Sung Min
  • 송선미 Song Sun Mi
  • 오정세 Oh Jung Se
  • 최재환 Choi Jae Hwan
  • 홍지민 Hong Ji Min
  • 하연주 Ha Yun Joo
  • 강한나 Kang Han Na
  • 문지인 Moon Ji In
  • 김예원 Kim Ye Won
  • 유은호 Yoo Eun Ho
  • 최현서 Choi Hyun Seo
  • 박하나 Park Ha Na

제이민 J-Min - 후 Hoo (Later)
Set in 1997, Oh Ji Young was the most popular girl back in high school but she now works as an elevator girl. When it seems that her job is being phased out in the department store where she's working, Ji Young is lamenting her lack of career prospects because she did not take her studies seriously and she does not have a college degree.

Beauty school owner Ma Ae Ri has approached Ji Young and asked her if she's interested to undergo extensive training and to compete for the Miss Korea pageant. Ae Ri develops promising young ladies in order to prepare them for the competition and she sees Ji Young's raw potential as a future beauty queen.

Kim Hyung Joon has set up ViVi, a cosmetics company, with his classmates from South Korea's premier university Seoul National University. The company is having financial difficulties and to gather investments, Hyung Joon came up with an idea to sponsor a woman who can become Miss Seoul, and later Miss Korea.

Miss Korea is a fascinating drama about beauty queens and beauty pageants. It is actually a drama about the beauty industry, as it is also about cosmetics and marketing beauty products.

I was really looking forward to Miss Korea because it is about an ordinary (but beautiful!) young woman who undergoes extensive training in order to compete in a beauty pageant. Given the premise, I had assumed that the drama will share a lot of insights about how hopeful beauty pageant contestants prepare and train rigorously for the competition.

To be honest, the first couple of episodes were quite disappointing in the sense that it took a lot of time for the drama to set up its world and to introduce its characters. If I wasn't quite interested in the drama's main premise, I would have probably dropped it after watching the first episode. I stuck with it though and I'm glad I did.

I'm quite satisfied with the drama as it exceeded my expectations in a lot of ways. I like many of the characters, particularly the lead female characters Oh Ji Young, Ma Ae Ri, Kim Jae Hee, and Go Hwa Jung.

I like Ji Young as she's feisty but she's not loud, she's assertive but she's not violent, and she's pretty enough to be a beauty queen but she's quite raw so there's a lot of room for improvement. Although I think it's a little sad that her motivation is ultimately the man she loves, her feelings for Kim Hyung Joon are what drove her to succeed and that's all that matters in the end, I suppose.

Ae Ri is someone I find admirable, considering how much she's achieved personally and professionally. She became Miss Korea against all odds and she's managed to become a legend in the beauty pageant world for training many beauty queens over time.

I think Jae Hee is an exceptional person for her desire to define her success on her own terms. She came from a privileged background so she is fortunate in many different ways but she has also worked hard and gave her all. It's quite  distressing really that although she also deserved first place, there could only be one Miss Korea so she has to be second place.

It took some time for me to warm up to Hwa Jung because of her brash personality. It doesn't help that she was initially presented as smart but not necessarily pretty, as if a woman can only be one or the other, and not both.

미스코리아 Miss Korea