Lee Hyori’s Behind-The-Scenes Photos of Her DIY Wedding on New Lifestyle Blog

 

Gathering greens from her homemade garden at her quaint, new home on Jeju Island, South Korea, former Fin.K.L leader Lee Hyori has come a long way from her glamoured-up K-pop star days. On her new blog, she sheds her sexy pop star image and reveals what’s underneath — her organic, vegetarian lifestyle, her undeniable love for animals, and her insight on what it’s like to be a new housewife, as told by text and photographs.

“It’s been a long time since my friends from Seoul have come down [to Jeju],” she wrote in Korean, in her most recent blog post. According to Korea Times, the name of her blog, “so-gil-daek”, refers to her home in Sogil-li, Jeju Island. The site, which went live on May 29th, has already amassed more than 8 million views as of Thursday.

Scrolling through 20-some pages of her Naver blog reveals photos of her friends wandering the woods, her latest embroidery ventures, her adorable dogs (and her imaginary conversations with them) and what’s on her dinner plate, all accompanied by short and sweet blurbs about her day. There’s nothing glamorous about it. She’s almost — dare I say it? — one of us.

Surprisingly, Hyori has received some backlash from critics who say that she is making a fuss, using her fame to glamorize her “simple” life — a life that many ordinary people lead. Characteristic of her rather humble and honest demeanor that is apparent throughout her blog posts, Hyori responded to this criticism in her blog post titled, “Irony.”

“I am famous, but I want to live a quiet life,” she wrote. “I am living quietly, but I don’t want to be forgotten. I’m simple but rich, and I’m rich but nothing is really different. I confess to my ironic life.”

Don’t worry, Hyori — we’re all for it. Even without her fame and popularity, her blog holds its own. Imbued with an overall artsy, bohemian, hipster-esque aesthetic, her photos tell the story not of Hyori, the K-pop Queen, but a down-to-earth human being who just loves adventure with her husband, friends and dogs. She shares her life in simple and candid terms.

Speaking of her husband, here’s what you’ve been waiting for (unless you just skipped to the photos, because I wouldn’t blame you): the adorably adorable wedding photos of Hyori and Lee Sang-Soon! The two talented musicians tied the knot last September in a very private, intimate wedding at their home on Jeju Island, and Hyori recently uploaded exclusive behind-the-scene photos on her blog early July. The whole affair gave off strong vibes of DIY decorations and accessories — from floral crowns to homemade backdrops — that just may inspire your own bohemian, outdoor wedding.

 

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The caption under this last photograph reads: “When night fell, we were all exhausted. Everything that I was worried about fell away, and after drinking beer, my body just collapsed. ‘How will I live from now on, on this foreign ground bearing my husband’s name?’ I thought to myself, and my heart felt heavy. Then I saw a small light flying around a nearby bush. It was a firefly. It felt like it was the first time I saw a firefly since childhood, and it seemed like the firefly was dancing, flying in between and around us and shining its light all over the place. If I believe that the firefly was telling me that it will all be OK and that I will do a great job, would that be too sentimental? But I looked at the scenery around me, and I realized that there was nothing more that I could ask for. Then, my heart seemed to feel a little lighter.”

Damn. Leave it to Hyori to be beautiful, down-to-earth and poetic all at the same time.

All photos courtesy of Lee Hyori’s blog.

 

Lee Hyori for “Dazed and Confused”: Appropriation or Appreciation?

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As I was making my daily K-Pop news round-up, I couldn’t help but notice a photo of K-Pop diva Lee Hyori’s new cover for Dazed & Confused (Korea). Besides the interesting use wordplay and homonyms on the cover (“Beach Bitch”), what is most striking is the editorial concept used for the cover and accompanying editorial. Hyori is styled with face paint, a head dress and feathers, with her hair in two braids, supposed indicators of “Native American” dress, very reminiscent to Michelle Williams’ cover of AnOther magazine released earlier this year. At least for me, the “Indian Summer” concept (as indicated on the cover and is another issue in and of itself) is taken too literally and crosses the fine line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Hyori; she’s stunning and has an awesome personality (Family Outing, anyone?). It’s just disappointing that the editors of “Dazed” would allow this and that she, or at least her management, would agree to it. An editorial with summertime clothes wouldn’t have sufficed?

For me, the issue with this cover and with many other instances like this, is that traditional cultures are used like thematic costumes, with a lack of understanding about the cultures themselves. The beautiful, rich, and diverse culture of the Native American community is being diluted into a stereotype or simple archetype that assumes homogeneity. Or more simply put, photos and images like these re-emphasize the idea that all Native Americans are the same, which is blatantly inaccurate and culturally insensitive.

But, why does this even matter? It’s just a magazine, right? Well, not exactly. As put best by Metcalfe (Turtle Mountain Chippewa from North Dakota) in an article for Jezebel:

“There isn’t just one Native American culture. There are hundreds. And there are millions of Native people. And we’re being ignored. We’re being told that we don’t have rights over how we are represented in mainstream America. We are being told that we should ‘get over it’ – but the people who are saying this don’t even know what the issues are. When people know of us only as a ‘costume,’ or something you dress up as for Halloween or for a music video, then you stop thinking of us as people, and this is incredibly dangerous because everyday we fight for the basic human right to live our own lives without outsiders determining our fate or defining our identities.”

Though this particular cover is directly related to the Native American community, this is an issue that is not exclusive to them; for years, various cultures, including Asian cultures, have been and continue to be commodified into cultural products for mass consumption, and not necessarily for cultural understanding. Geisha costumes run rampant, Selena Gomez’s stage costume includes a bindi, and that’s just the tip of the metaphorical iceberg, the majority of which can’t be examined in this brief post. But, that difference between using culture as an aesthetic accessory versus using it as a tool for cognizance is what separates what is “okay” from “not okay.” More interestingly and more notably, the Korean cover itself proves that this issue extends much farther than the borders of the US and is a global issue.

Yes, cultural appropriation is a hot-button, sensitive topic.  But instances like these remind us of the continued importance of understanding and appreciating other’s histories, cultures and backgrounds for the simple, but powerful reason of respect. And as an increasingly global community, it’s even more important to view cultures, customs and dress that’s different from our own as more than just trend, but as an integral part of someone’s identity and history.