Korean Sociological Image #36: Beauty and the Beast

( Sources – left; right: K-popped! )

A pair of brief but revealing juxtapositions to ponder this weekend.

First, earlier in the week it was reported that Ha Si-eun’s (하시은) performance as a character with cerebral palsy in the popular historical drama Chuno (추노) was so convincing, it persuaded her representatives to arrange a photoshoot with Maxim, lest “it affect her career.”

My first reaction to this news? Naturally, that I’m never averse to seeing an attractive woman posing in her underwear…but heaven forbid that she become better known for her acting skills. To play devil’s advocate however, in my experience Korean actors do tend to be typecast by the public rather easily, and indeed a representative did express concerns that fans would be unable to dissociate Ha Si-eun’s image in the drama from real life:

하시은 측 한 관계자는 3월 29일 오전 뉴스엔과의 전화통화에서 “‘추노’의 뇌성마비 이미지가 너무 강했던 터라 하시은의 평소 모습과 작품 속 모습을 연결시키지 못하는 이들이 많았다”며 “부족한 점이 많지만 새로운 모습을 선보이고자 이번 화보를 촬영하게 됐다”고 밝혔다.

Given the frame of mind that put me in though, I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of the advertisements accompanying this article in the Korea Times that I read 5 minutes later:

Part and parcel of the tabloidish tone of that newspaper in recent months, those advertisements are not confined to just that article of course. But still, it’s almost worthy of FAIL Blog, yes?

(For all posts in the Korean Sociological Image series, see here)

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