The Bizarre Online Korean Craze: Would You Pay To Watch This Girl Eat?

The idea of being paid to eat sounds great doesn’t it? It will sound even better once you find out that this South Korean woman makes over $9000 a month just for eating dinner. I know what you’re thinking– where are the job applications!?

But before you go and quit your day job to become a full-time eater, you should probably know that there’s a catch. Seo Yeon Park, the beautiful 33-year-old who makes a living off of eating, must spend her dinnertime in front of a webcam to appease hundreds of adoring fans.

A little awkward? You bet.

But many of the Koreans who tune into Seo Yeon Park’s live-channel argue that paying to watch Seo Yeon eat is perfectly reasonable. We want to emphasize that although Park is noticeably attractive, there is no nudity or sex involved. Many people are quick to assume that her popularity is due to some strange fetish among viewers, but fans argue that they primarily watch Seo Yeon Park to heal their loneliness and their hunger pangs.

“People enjoy the vicarious pleasure of my online show when they can’t eat that much, don’t want to eat food at night, or are on a diet,” Seo Yeon told Reuters.

For this reason, Seo Yeon only eats top quality food that costs about $3000-$5000 a month. Seo Yeon will spend several hours eating (trust us, this girl can eat!) and spend a few more hours chatting with her fans. The entire show is roughly 4-6 hours and available every night. The show contains a live chat room and has become very interactive for her fans.

“For Koreans, eating is an extremely social, communal activity, which is why even the Korean word ‘family’ means ‘those who eat together,'” says Professor Sung-hee Park of Ewha University’s Division of Media Studies.

This is precisely why the show has become extremely popular among individuals who don’t want to eat by themselves.

“One of the best comments I ever received from a viewer who said that she had gotten over her anorexia by watching me eat,” says Park. “That really meant a lot to me.”

As a token of appreciation, many fans send in money. Seo Yeon Park gets paid so much that she was able to quit her day job at a consulting agency and now puts her full attention towards eating.

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Lucky for her, Seo Yeon’s metabolism seems perfectly capable of adjusting to her job. Fans have watched her consume 4 whole pizzas in the span of a few hours and still maintain a fit body. Now that’s impressive!

If you still find yourself puzzled by all this, you’re not alone. In fact, Seo Yeon often receives harsh criticism from people who don’t support her channel.

“I get some really awful commenters who make me reexamine ‘why am I doing this again?’ but at the end of the day the positive feedback overwhelmingly outweighs the bad, so I am happy to continue.” she says.

And she’s not the only one! Over 3,500 people have been doing similar online programs sponsored by restaurants.

We’re not quite sure that this is a fad that will work in America, but we’re certainly interested in seeing how this progresses in Korea.

(Source 1, 2)

Audrey’s Top Ten Stories of 2013

2013 was quite the year for Audrey Magazine. Not only did it mark our ten year anniversary, it was also the launch of our revamped website. While we’re more than excited to kick off this new year, let’s take a moment to look back on all the stories of style, beauty and inspiring Asian Americans of the previous year.

Ranked by which stories were the most popular of the year, we bring you Audrey’s Top Ten Stories of 2013!


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1) Breaking The Asian Myth | Asian Hair
“If there’s one Asian stereotype we’re all very familiar with, its Asian hair. No one knows when this actually happened, but at one point people began thinking that all Asian women had the same kind of hair…”


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2) Not For Weak Stomachs: Removal of a 25-Year-Old Blackhead 
“In September we showed you the results of sleeping with makeup on for an entire month and called it a horror story. Now we take that back. We take it all back. Apparently, that wasn’t a skincare horror story at all. This is…”


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3) Korean Twin Sisters Unrecognizable After Plastic Surgery 
“It’s no secret. In Asia, plastic surgery is becoming more and more common. In fact, double eyelid surgery is so typical that many girls have been known to receive the procedure as a graduation gift. Aside from these minor procedures, just how far has surgery entered Asian culture? According to some, surgery has become a very serious ordeal…”


2013 d4) World’s 15 Most Followed Asian Female Celebrities on Twitter 
“1. Indonesian entertainer Agnes Monica (@agnezmo) — 8,326,171 followers
2. Japanese-Swiss-Polish Brazilian TV personality Sabrina Sato Rahal (@sabrinasatoreal) 3. Indonesian singer Sherina Munaf (@sherinamunaf)…”


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5) Korean American K-Pop Star Embroiled in Nude Photos Scandal
“Korean American singer Ailee has been receiving enormous attention from the Korean media after nude photos of the K-pop star surfaced on the Internet. Allkpop, a popular New York-based K-pop website, published censored versions of the photos last night, igniting a firestorm of controversy…”


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6) The Ultimate Guide to EXO
“EXO is separated into two subgroups, EXO K and EXO M, which promotes in Korea and China respectively. But together? This boy band totals to 12 members. Overwhelming? Just a bit. As much as we wanted to get to know the line-up for KCON, was learning all 12 members worth it? YES. The answer to that question is a very enthusiastic yes…”


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7) False Rumor: Philippines Disqualified From Pageants For The Next Two Years 
“In the midst of all this good news for the Philippines, a strange rumor has begun to spread. According to The Adobo Chronicles, the  Association of Beauty Pageant Franchise Holders (ABPFH) has disqualified the Philippines from international beauty pageants for the next two years claiming that Filipina candidates had an “enormous advantage” this year…”


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8) Asians in Fashion | EXO-K for Ivy Club Autumn 2013
“With the rise of EXO’s popularity, we can confidently say that  Ivy Club made quite a good decision to have the boys model and endorse their Autumn 2013 look…”


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9) Extremely Racist Responses to Olympus Has Fallen
“Its no secret that we still face racism today. Every time I start to believe that I live in my ideal/equal world, acts like this bring me back to the reality that we still have a long way to go…”


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10) Where I Went and What I Bought: Seoul
“I took a dream vacation last month. Not to some tropical hideaway surrounded by crystal clear waters. Not to a romantic European capital overflowing with crumbling palaces and fine wine. No, I went on a shopping vacation. To Korea…”

 

You Won’t Believe Who’s Behind This Amazing Nujabes Cover

 

Nujabes was a Japanese hip hop producer and DJ. The name “Nujabes” is the reverse spelling of the DJ’s birth name, Jun Seba. Aside from owning  Shibuya record stores, T Records and Guinness Records and founding Hydeout Production, Nujabes is most known for his blend of jazz with hip hop music.

Some of his more notable works include the “Luv(sic)’ hexalogy as well as his work in the anime Samurai Champloo.

In 2010, Nujabes died in a traffic accident leaving his many fans to grieve over the 36-year-old.

Of course, much of his work remains popular today. Recently, some students in Korea have been reaching viral popularity due to their impressive cover of Nujabes’ “Aquarian Dance.” The best part about all this? The students are 2nd graders.

Check out the talented students of an elementary school in Daegu, South Korea. For your reference, you can hear the original Nujabes version below.

 

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Nujabes

Korean Twin Sisters Unrecognizable After Plastic Surgery

It’s no secret. In Asia, plastic surgery is becoming more and more common. In fact, double eyelid surgery is so typical that many girls have been known to receive the procedure as a graduation gift.

Aside from these minor procedures, just how far has surgery entered Asian culture? According to some, surgery has become a very serious ordeal. Photographer Ji Yeo tried to call attention to the amount of plastic surgery occurring in South Korea, by showing the physical cost women endure in “Korea’s beauty-obsessed culture.”

Additionally, more women seem to be willing to go to extreme measures to live up to the high expectation of Asian beauty. As a result, some have faced the horrifying repercussions of a surgery gone wrong.

Regardless of all this, many remain undaunted by the possible negative side effects. Plastic surgery remains more popular than ever. There’s Miss Korea who completed in the Miss Universe Pageant 2013. Kim Yumi had absolutely no problem admitting her multiple procedures. Then there’s the woman who was so obsessed with Miranda Kerr‘s looks that she decided to go under the knife in an effort to look like the Australian Victoria’s Secret model.

Now, apparently, there’s a Korean television show called “Let’s Beauty.” Asiantown.net claims that the purpose of this show is to “help those with special circumstances or people who are too ugly to feel confident in their life.” The participant facing “special circumstances” will have their plastic surgery sponsored by the television program and audiences follow along during the transformation.

A pair of twin sisters caught much attention after participating in the show. After their surgery, both twins look completely unrecognizable from their original self. Check it out for yourself:

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So tell us. Is this television show going too far or is it simply an entertaining topic? Watch an episode for below.

(source)

Girls’ Generation’s Tiffany Interviews (And Gets A Kiss From) Tom Hiddleston

Story by Taylor Weik.

As if you couldn’t be any more jealous of Tiffany, one of the members of the global K-Pop sensation that is Girls’ Generation, another bullet point makes the list: on October 18, “Mnet Wide” released a 13-minute video of Tiffany’s interview with the British swoon-worthy actor, Tom Hiddleston.

While Hiddleston was in South Korea promoting his new movie, Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World in which he plays Thor’s deeply complex brother, Loki, Tiffany took the opportunity to interview the star about his role in the film while also showing him around the cultural spots of Seoul.

The pair wandered around on a rainy day in Seoul arm-in-arm with umbrellas while Tiffany introduced him to locations like the N Seoul Tower (“Do you find this really romantic?” Hiddleston says) and the observation deck where thousands of love locks hang off the side.

“[I’ll remember Korea] with enormous passion and affection,” Hiddleston says at the end of their interview, before promising to return to Korea “real soon.”

Watch the interview for yourself below:

Guide to Vacationing in Korea … With Three Generations Worth of Baggage

Story by Anna M. Park. 

In Korean culture, 60 is a big deal, just like the first birthday. Some people throw small galas at a local hotel ballroom. Some buy extravagant gifts. Some send parents on trips of a lifetime. The rationale for the celebration at 60 came from a time when surviving six decades (read: war-torn Korea) was a momentous achievement.

These days, not as much. Now 70 is the new 60, and if family tradition is any indication, so will every decade thereafter be. And as second-generation Korean Americans, often a “sandwich” generation raising kids while taking care of retired parents, there’s the responsibility of upholding Korean tradition and respecting your elders, while setting a good cultural example for the next generation.

So when my mother-in-law’s 70th came rolling around, we decided on a big family trip to the motherland — South Korea — a place half the family had never been. That meant seven people ranging in age from 7 to 70, only one of whom spoke fluent Korean, and another only somewhat familiar with modern Korean society. We weren’t sure where to start, but the goal was eight days, five cities, smack in the middle of spring break. Through trial and error, we learned a lot during this mother of all vacations, something that will prove useful next year for my parents’ 70th, when I’ll be doing this all over again.

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First, find a tour guide. Yes, you have to do a tour. My husband and I generally eschew tours, but for children and retirees, you need a guide. Trust me, it will save your sanity.

There are non-Korea-based English language tours, like SITA, that are pretty expensive. There are also Korea-based tour companies that are quite affordable, but the guides only speak Korean or you’re traveling on a megabus with 30 other people. My brother-in-law chanced upon Sally Tour (sallytour.co.kr) during a Google search. The founder, Sally Kim, had worked at one of Korea’s largest travel agencies, whose clients included FIFA and the LPGA, before opening her own shop in 2010. She specializes in customized group tours of seven to 10 people, with most of her clients coming from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Having lived in Canada for a while, she’s fluent in English, and we communicated with her mainly through email. She was responsive, detailed and patient throughout our myriad tweaks to the itinerary and accommodations. All in all, she made the planning part of our trip a relative breeze.

Second, pack light. This we did not heed. And though we had a minibus completely at our disposal, we were responsible for dragging our own luggage on and off the minibus, the taxi, the train and the plane, and since we changed cities practically every day, well, let’s just say the two men on the trip got plenty of exercise.

Third, personalize the itinerary. The best thing about moving through an entire country in eight days with Sally Tour is you can tweak the itinerary according to your family’s particular needs. Kimchi-making class? Our grandmothers made kimchi in our garages. Pass. A bit too much Korean food? Ask the guide for a free night like we did. We found a surprisingly good Italian place in Busan (with decent wine!). Want a bit more time to shop or linger over the hotel breakfast buffet? Ask to push back the pick-up time. The guides are generally flexible, which we really appreciated, especially towards the end of the trip when the pace of the seemingly nonstop schedule started to really wear on nerves.

Lastly, be prepared. And by that, I mean mentally and emotionally. Your mantra should be: It’s not about you — it’s about them.

You’re going to have trying times. You’re going to disagree. You may even have an almost-bar fight over why you didn’t stand up to Mike Miller for your brother in the 11th grade. But for the sake of the kids and especially your parents, be an adult about it. This trip is a microcosmic reflection of your life — you are now the grown-up. You’ve got the power. Use it for good.

This story was originally published in our Fall 2013 issue. Get your copy here

Viral Alert: Justin Bieber Kisses Sandara Park?

When we think of Justin Bieber, our minds automatically go to his never-ending collection of snapbacks, his on-and-off relationship with Selena Gomez and even to his odd obsession with the color purple.

Of all the things that come to mind when we hear Justin Bieber’s name, we certainly didn’t expect to ever add Sandara Park to that list.

Sandara, better known as Dara, is a Korean idol and member of popular girl group 2NE1. Prior to her success in Korea, Sandara gained quite a bit of popularity in the Philippines through ABS-CBN’s talent competition Star Circle Quest. 

Although we never would have paired the two together, a simple google search will show tons of stories about the duo, all of which are in shock over a picture of Bieber planting a kiss on Sandara’s cheek. Needless to say, the picture went viral and speculations sprouted everywhere.

But before you start any speculations of your own, it may be important to view the entire picture first:

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Clearly, Korean-American jeweler Ben Baller is in the picture as well. In fact he was the one who uploaded the picture and shows no signs of uncomfortable third-wheeling.

But even with the addition of a third person in this picture, netizens are going crazy over the idea of the two stars potentially having a romantic relationship, especially because of their 10-year age gap.  Oh-dara.com reports both negative and positive comments about the pair:

“Please take care Dara,”
“Justin Bieber and Sandara Park, is a fresh combo,”
“A gathering of shining stars,” “No one is even interested at Ben Baller,”
“Nooooo. My Dara-noona,”
“They must’ve talked a bit since Sandara Park can speak English well”
“Justin Bieber, please put into mind that she is a noona to you,”
“Justin Bieber fell under Sandara Park’s charm,”
“Justin Bieber and Sandara Park match each other,”
“A hot expression of affection,”
“You guys surprisingly match well,”
“Does Justin Bieber know that there’s a 10-year gap between him and Sandara Park?” “It’s nothing, Sandara Park makes anyone look good,”
“About Justin Bieber kissing Sandara Park, Justin Bieber’s fans are known to cause mischief, please be careful Sandara Park,”

 

The photo was apparently taken during a launch party for Jay Park’s hip hop label AOMG. According to Soompi, Justin Bieber is currently going through his Asian tour and is (clearly) making friends along the way.


Korean Woman Gets Plastic Surgery to Look Like Miranda Kerr

Story by James S. Kim

Complete makeovers aren’t uncommon. Some of us at some point might need a change in how we do things or in how we look. The question is, then, how far are you willing to change, and what type of person are you willing to become?

For one South Korean woman, it was a question of whom. On a recent episode of Martian X-Files, a Korean reality TV show that spotlights eccentric and unique non-celebrities, one of the guests was a woman who underwent plastic surgery to look like Australian model Miranda Kerr.

The wannabe emphasized that she only had work done on her eyes and nose, according to Soompi. Even from a young age, she said, people would tell her mother that she looked like an “adorable non-Korean child” and asked if her father was from overseas. One time, the guest and her mother got into a taxi. The driver, thinking that they were foreigners, asked where they were from and was surprised when they responded in Korean.

The segment followed the guest as she goes through her makeup ritual. She begins with the universal step one, foundation. The next step is her eyebrows, to which she adds a sharp taper to imitate Kerr’s. She spends the most time on the eyes, then adds some emphasis to her lips to round out the cosmetics portion.

The final step is to add in the colored contacts, given that the hair is the proper style and color. Add in some posing sessions in front of the mirror, and she’s good to go.

So why the obsession with Miranda Kerr, who visited Seoul to great fanfare last June. Some say that Kerr’s appeal is because her looks are a perfect combination of cute and sexy, a look many East Asian young women wish to achieve. For some, by any means necessary.

For those unwilling to go under the knife, here’s an extensive but relatively painless step-by-step makeup tutorial on creating the Miranda Kerr look by YouTube makeup artist Michelle Phan.

This story was originally published by KoreAm Journal

Aaron Kwok, Ken Watanabe and More at the 18th Annual Busan International Film Festival

Glamorous stars, stunning (sometimes shocking) fashion, blinding lights and a seemingly mile-long red carpet.

The Oscars? Cannes? Nope, it’s Opening Night at the Busan International Film Festival. And this time, the stars garnering the screams from fans are some of the most beautiful people from all around Asia.

Since its inception in 1996, the Busan International Film Festival (formerly, Pusan) has grown into arguably the biggest, most important film festival in all of Asia. Located in the seaside city of Busan, about 200 miles south of South Korea’s capital of Seoul, the film festival (also known as BIFF) draws thousands of film execs, media and international stars from around the world.

 

Aaron Kwok in a Longines ad.

Aaron Kwok in a Longines ad.

This year, the 18th annual BIFF, sponsored by prestige cosmetics line Artistry, kicks off this Thursday, October 3, with a red carpet screening of Vara: A Blessing, the third feature film by director and Bhutan priest Khyentse Norbu. Taiwanese mega-star Aaron Kwok is set to moderate the opening ceremony, and throughout the 10-day festival, we can expect to see luminaries like Ken Watanabe, who’ll be starring in Japan’s version of Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven; and Vietnamese American actor Dustin Nguyen, whose film Once Upon a Time in Vietnam, which he directed, with have its international premiere.

Other highly anticipated films screening at BIFF include Joon-ho Bong‘s Snowpiercer, starring Kang-ho Song, Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton and Ed Harris; the controversial film Moebius by Ki-duk Kim; Bill Condon’s The Fifth Estate about Julian Assange; and The Coen BrothersInside Llewyn Davis.

Kang-ho Song in Snowpiercer.

Kang-ho Song in Snowpiercer.

And of course, there will be tons of fashion (and films!) to evaluate. It’ll be a veritable eye candy fest. Stay tuned as Audrey goes to BIFF and gets a firsthand look at Opening Night!

The Busan Cinema Center, courtesy of Busan International Film Festival Korea, biff.kr.

The Busan Cinema Center, courtesy of Busan International Film Festival Korea, biff.kr.

 

The Cost of Beauty: A Look Into Korea’s High Rate of Plastic Surgery

Based in Brooklyn and Seoul, photographer Ji Yeo strives to call attention to a very controversial aspect of South Korea’s modern-day culture: plastic surgery.

In her series “Beauty Recovery Room,” Ji Yeo captures the scars and bruises of women who have recently undergone plastic surgery. DailyMail explains that by showing the painful recovery, Ji Yeo aims to shine light on the physical cost women endure in “Korea’s beauty-obsessed culture.”

“Plastic surgery has become an integral part of Korea’s current culture, often regarded as an integral step in the self improvement process,” say Ji Yeo. “It is a culture where men are judged on their financial balance sheet and women on their beauty. The male-dominated media endlessly reinforces its model of the idea woman. As a result of these cultural forces Korea has become a beauty-oriented society where people are judged more for their appearance than their character.”

“Beauty Recovery Room” has garnered both positive and negative reactions. Some people believe the take-home message is that women simply go too far to meet societal expectations. Others disagree with Ji Yeo’s focus on the negative. “I think people have a right in our day and age to change whatever physical feature they deem necessary” says a Huffington Post reader.

Check out the images for yourself and tell us what you think:

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Check out all the full gallery here.