Confessions of a Miss Korea Contestant!

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Confessions of a Miss Korea Contestant!

Postby kimmy » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:18 am

    

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At 5’8” Kim is considered to be very tall compared to the average Korean woman. Her face is a little rounder, her body curvier. Her almond-shaped eyes are smaller, her eyelids heavy, single-lid–unlike the majority of contestants who have double eyelids, natural or not.

Of course, all of this was hardly new information for Heejin Kim, when she traveled with her mother to the Miss Korea pageant in Seoul, back in May. She knew exactly how her looks would compare to the other contestants.

“I knew that going into the competition I had sort of a disadvantage,” she says. “I don’t look like the traditional Korean beauty pageant winners. I was okay with that. I was always proud of what I looked like.”


Some of the rules:
1. No Smoking. To ensure the girls did not smoke (because Miss Koreas don’t do such things) each of the rooms’ windows were closed shut at all times. Girls were also subject to random room and bag searches.
2. No leaving the premises. None of the girls were allowed outside the hotel even to go to a local market, or buy anything they needed.
3. Girls were to wear their numbers at all times. Each of the girls were given a number so that when they lined up handlers could easily spot who was missing. Kim was #38, Lee, #49.
4. None of the girls were to ever be out of sight. Whether changing into their next outfits, eating at lunch—or inside a bathroom stall, security was to always follow.

“This wasn’t a beauty pageant,” Lee says. “This was a prison full of pretty people.”

The daily schedule was absolutely gruelling, Lee remembers. Each of them woke up every single morning at 5 a.m. which wouldn’t have been so bad if they had proper time to recuperate.

Instead, each contestant was given two to three hours max to sleep. Because the schedule was so tight and there was so much to accomplish throughout the day, girls would find themselves arriving back in their beds around 3 a.m.

After the morning alarm at 5 a.m. each was expected to quickly get ready, eat a small breakfast and then go off to their daily makeup class where they would master techniques for hours upon hours. This was followed by hair, smiling, etiquette, walking, posing and dance classes, among others.

It was difficult for Lee to stay awake. She was utterly exhausted. While the other girls applied their mascara ever so perfectly in their makeup class, Lee would doze off, attempting to get a few more minutes of sleep in her system.

On the other hand, Kim says, “I actually learned so much from these classes. Before I entered the Miss Korea New York pageant I YouTube-d Kim Kardashian applying her makeup. Now I would be able to learn how to master makeup for an Asian face.”

If classes weren’t intense enough, every day the girls were required to shoot one photo shoot after another–each of which might require several costume changes–that would on until the early morning.

After only eight days in the competition, Lee started having doubts that she even wanted to remain in the pageant.

And it made matters only worse that she couldn’t understand the language: some days she’d show up to class wearing the wrong color or arriving at the wrong location. All of which had consequences of having points taken off her overall total score.

Other instances where her score was deducted: Tardiness, talking back, and sleeping in, among others, all of which she admits she was guilty of.

So it was only a matter of time when Lee—who became a ticking time bomb—would eventually explode. She realized this one day when she lashed out against handlers who began verbally assaulting her.

“They were yelling at me in Korean, and I yelled back because I didn’t understand,” she says. “It easily escalated. I was complaining to them that in my country (United States) this is so illegal to torture people like this. I was questioning if we had human rights. It became really scary.”

By the eighth day she completely broke down and finally decided she would have no other choice but to leave. Sitting alone in her bed one early morning while the other girls were fast asleep, she began devising a plan to escape.

She realized she couldn’t just walk out of the doors. Not only would handlers not allow it, she had signed a contract stating that all girls were required to stay throughout the training process before the actual competition.

Lying there wide awake, while the sun began to creep its way into the day, she finally figured out a loophole.

“At the camp my teeth legitimately started hurting and I remember I was definitely suffering,” she recalls of her wisdom teeth growing in. “I figured this was the only out of the competition and I went with it.”

That very day, she finally found liberation. Packing her bags, she explained to the organizers that because of a medical emergency, she would no longer be able to participate in the competition. To her surprise, they obliged.

She didn’t know it then, but she would go down in pageant history as one of the only girls who left the competition.

But the pageant went on for Heejin Kim and the 54 others. Unlike Lee, Kim wanted to at least place in the top three. And she wanted it badly. So for the next month she sacrificed hours upon hours of sleep, grit her teeth, and somehow made it to the end–blistered feet, dark circles, and tired limbs, in tow.

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When the pageant finally came around it was all a blur to her.

“I mean, I was really bloated that day of the competition, that’s really what I remember,” she says, laughing. Kim, you see, had felt uncomfortable going to the bathroom, because of the pageant’s security detail, which was required to wait just outside her stall.

After weeks of training–weeks of security following her every move, sleepless nights, exhausting hours–she walked onto that stage prim, proper, and every bit perfect. Lights shining down on her, she realized the entire country was watching her. It was exhilarating, absolutely exhilarating. The entire event drew expected television ratings when the pageant’s 60th queen was crowned.

Kim didn’t end up getting crowned that night–the title of Miss Korea went to a girl named Ye-bin Yoo. But that was expected: While women from a handful of women from outside of Korea are invited to compete, they’re not allowed to win.

“For me, the Miss Korea pageant really helped me a lot,” Kim says, in retrospect. “I’m so grateful for the entire experience. I learned so much from the other girls, makeup tips, hair tips, and really how to get through life.”

Very diplomatic of her to say, I tell her.

“I don’t see it that way,” she replies. “I honestly met some of the best girls and made so many great memories. More than anything though, life skills. After Miss Korea, I definitely can handle anything. I’m tougher, stronger. I’ve grown up.”

Since the pageant, Kim has returned to Long Island where she’s finishing up her degree in pharmacy at St. John’s University. She hung up her badge and has retired from pageantry, though she hopes that the exposure will help her land a modeling gig. Already, an agent from Barcelona has reached out to her.

Lee, on the other hand, is still trying to close this chapter in her life. When she returned to New York City after leaving the competition early, she says she entered a deep, dark place.

“I’m a really happy person; I’m usually in a good mood, never depressed,” Lee says. “I think I got clinically depressed when I got back to New York. I was stuck in a really dark cloudy place in my head. I was depressed for the first day of my life, ever. I was worried Miss Korea did that to me.”

Currently Lee is still searching for her next big move and is unemployed. But happily so.

“I’ve put Miss Korea behind me and I’ve finally become my old self–my old, happy self,” she says.

With that, the Miss Korea competition still lives on with a brand new batch of hopefuls trying their luck at becoming the country’s next new face.

The pageant is currently working on Miss Korea 2014 and will be holding local competitions in the new year.

The Miss Korea New York chapter, sponsored by The Korea Times, has not responded to any of Fashionista’s e-mails or calls.


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Re: Confessions of a Miss Korea Contestant!

Postby Saraswathy » Sat Aug 31, 2013 11:08 am

Miss Korea is a reality show ? If yes, then the girls shouldn't complain that people ( with cameras ) followed them around. If they disliked this, she shouldn't have joined the contest.
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Confessions of a Miss Korea

Postby gatecrasher » Sat Aug 31, 2013 1:42 pm

Interesting read from:
http://fashionista.com/2013/08/inside-miss-korea-scandal-glory-lee/


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Yesterday, in part one of this series, we met Miss Korea beauty pageant contestant Heejin Kim, and took a closer look at the country’s plastic surgery obsession. Today, we’re going behind the scenes with the girls as they prep to compete for the title of Miss Korea, to reveal just how gruelling training for a beauty pageant can be.

The Miss Korea pageant has traditionally allowed countries outside South Korea with large populations of Koreans to participate. Every year three from Los Angeles (the biggest population of Koreans outside of South Korea), three from New York, and one from Washington DC are allowed to compete. In total, 56 girls, mostly from Korea, head to Seoul each year to compete for the title.

Besides Heejin Kim, one of the three New York winners was Glory Lee, a recent graduate from the University of Maryland. Up until recently the 23-year-old was in administrative finance.

Currently, Lee is enrolled at FIT for a couple of courses and wants to eventually pursue her own business, possibly a makeup line or maybe dabble in culinary school.

“I’d love to be on Chopped one day,” she says. “I figured being in this competition and labeled a Miss Korea contestant would make me interesting enough for the show.”

For now, she blogs for her site NYCGlory.com.

“One thing that I have to mention is that you’re at a huge disadvantage in the competition if you’re committed to a career or if the competition sees that you’re ambitious,” Lee says. “It makes [the competition] wonder if you’re committed to Miss Korea.”

Lee admitted that in order to compete, each of the girls would have to sign a contract that they would be completely celibate–free of any and all relationships. At the time, Lee was engaged to her fiance. She later decided it’d be best to postpone her wedding for an entire year so there wouldn’t be any conflicts.

“It might sound crazy,” Kim says. “But the judges are looking for girls who are completely focused and who really want the crown. They want a blank canvas where they can paint the girls’ futures.”

When the girls finally arrived in Seoul, they were taken to a beautiful resort just outside the city. The hotel seemed to be everything and more, filled with lush furniture, modern decor, and breathtaking architecture.

Immediately after arrival they were separated from their mothers who had accompanied them on the trip–which came as a surprise, especially to Lee who relied on her mother to speak on her behalf since she wasn’t fluent in Korean.

It was also there that they sized up their competition for the very first time.

“We go through an orientation process when you first meet your competition and size them up while comparing yourself to them,” Lee remembers.

She noticed that at 5’6” she was one of the shortest girls there.

One by one, Lee recalls, she observed each of the girls. Most looked so different from her even if they were ethnically Korean. For one, all of the other girls had porcelain skin, and thicker, shorter eyebrows.

“In America we copy people in Hollywood with arched eyebrows that are thinner. [In Korea], girls have straight, short thick eyebrows. And they’re pale—ghostly pale. In America we’re just more tan, we love the sun.”

Then there was that weight issue. For the first time Lee–a size 2–felt she was the biggest girl in the room in a sea full of size double-zeroes.

“In the States I’m really skinny but here, I was definitely the biggest in the room.”

Another difference? Most girls in the room had undergone some sort of cosmetic surgery, whether a minor procedure, like double eyelid surgery, or more invasive surgery, like rhinoplasty.

“It was obvious that more than fifty percent of the girls had [the double eyelid] surgery,” Lee says. “I could see when they looked down, their scars. And what real woman has a pencil straight nose?”

Lee–who has natural double eyelids–says she used to be completely against plastic surgery. But after being in Seoul for a couple of days, she says she’s become more open to it.

“Everywhere you go there are advertisements to get plastic surgery,” she says. “Women walk home bandaged up like it’s completely normal. I do think that getting plastic surgery gives [girls] a higher self esteem.”

“And I don’t think they would have that confidence if it weren’t for these enhancements. A lot of the girls were comfortable admitting it, they’re not ashamed of it at all.”

Lee says she didn’t think there was any competitive advantage to having an all-natural face.

“Everyone has an opportunity to get plastic surgery,” she says. “It’s not an unfair advantage [to have not had surgery] because I could have gotten it myself. I think it’s an exception for Miss Korea. In any other pageant it’s not respected but Korea it is. It tells the judges that the girls are serious about their careers. Ninety-nine percent of the reason why they go in is that there’s a much bigger and better chance of becoming an actor, singer or entertainer. So this is great exposure for them.”

“Going into it I thought that Western beauty was the advantage,” Lee says. “In Miss Korea they look for traditional Korean beauty. The more Korean, the better. No one in Korea is going to their doctors and saying they want to look like a Hollywood celebrity. They just want to look more beautifully Korean.”

Which is possibly a good explanation as to why no Miss Korea has ever won a Miss Universe pageant. The closest was Ha-Nui Lee who came in fourth in 2007–one of the sexiest (and curviest) women to have come from South Korea in a while. While Miss Universe looks for bronzed skin, sexy curves, and a bombshell body, Miss Korea looks for the complete opposite: slender bodies, small faces, and porcelain complexions.

“Your confidence level drops to zero when you’re surrounded by all these beautiful women,” Lee says.

But she had no time to think about that for too long. The demanding schedule proved to be more than she could handle. Everything was militant and the handlers were extremely strict, she says. No girl was allowed to speak up, nor were they allowed any form of privacy.

Some of the rules:
1. No Smoking. To ensure the girls did not smoke (because Miss Koreas don’t do such things) each of the rooms’ windows were closed shut at all times. Girls were also subject to random room and bag searches.
2. No leaving the premises. None of the girls were allowed outside the hotel even to go to a local market, or buy anything they needed.
3. Girls were to wear their numbers at all times. Each of the girls were given a number so that when they lined up handlers could easily spot who was missing. Kim was #38, Lee, #49.
4. None of the girls were to ever be out of sight. Whether changing into their next outfits, eating at lunch—or inside a bathroom stall, security was to always follow.

“This wasn’t a beauty pageant,” Lee says. “This was a prison full of pretty people.”

The daily schedule was absolutely gruelling, Lee remembers. Each of them woke up every single morning at 5 a.m. which wouldn’t have been so bad if they had proper time to recuperate.

Instead, each contestant was given two to three hours max to sleep. Because the schedule was so tight and there was so much to accomplish throughout the day, girls would find themselves arriving back in their beds around 3 a.m.

After the morning alarm at 5 a.m. each was expected to quickly get ready, eat a small breakfast and then go off to their daily makeup class where they would master techniques for hours upon hours. This was followed by hair, smiling, etiquette, walking, posing and dance classes, among others.

It was difficult for Lee to stay awake. She was utterly exhausted. While the other girls applied their mascara ever so perfectly in their makeup class, Lee would doze off, attempting to get a few more minutes of sleep in her system.

On the other hand, Kim says, “I actually learned so much from these classes. Before I entered the Miss Korea New York pageant I YouTube-d Kim Kardashian applying her makeup. Now I would be able to learn how to master makeup for an Asian face.”

If classes weren’t intense enough, every day the girls were required to shoot one photo shoot after another–each of which might require several costume changes–that would on until the early morning.

After only eight days in the competition, Lee started having doubts that she even wanted to remain in the pageant.

And it made matters only worse that she couldn’t understand the language: some days she’d show up to class wearing the wrong color or arriving at the wrong location. All of which had consequences of having points taken off her overall total score.

Other instances where her score was deducted: Tardiness, talking back, and sleeping in, among others, all of which she admits she was guilty of.

So it was only a matter of time until Lee—who became a ticking time bomb—would eventually explode. She realized this one day when she lashed out against handlers who began verbally assaulting her.

“They were yelling at me in Korean, and I yelled back because I didn’t understand,” she says. “It easily escalated. I was complaining to them that in my country (United States) this is so illegal to torture people like this. I was questioning if we had human rights. It became really scary.”

By the eighth day she completely broke down and finally decided she would have no other choice but to leave. Sitting alone in her bed one early morning while the other girls were fast asleep, she began devising a plan to escape.

She realized she couldn’t just walk out of the doors. Not only would handlers not allow it, she had signed a contract stating that all girls were required to stay throughout the training process before the actual competition.

Lying there wide awake, while the sun began to creep its way into the day, she finally figured out a loophole.

“At the camp my teeth legitimately started hurting and I remember I was definitely suffering,” she recalls of her wisdom teeth growing in. “I figured this was the only out of the competition and I went with it.”

That very day, she finally found liberation. Packing her bags, she explained to the organizers that because of a medical emergency, she would no longer be able to participate in the competition. To her surprise, they obliged.

She didn’t know it then, but she would go down in pageant history as one of the only girls who left the competition.

But the pageant went on for Heejin Kim and the 54 others. Unlike Lee, Kim wanted to at least place in the top three. And she wanted it badly. So for the next month she sacrificed hours upon hours of sleep, grit her teeth, and somehow made it to the end–blistered feet, dark circles, and tired limbs, in tow.

Pin It

When the pageant finally came around it was all a blur to her.

“I mean, I was really bloated that day of the competition, that’s really what I remember,” she says, laughing. Kim, you see, had felt uncomfortable going to the bathroom, because of the pageant’s security detail, which was required to wait just outside her stall.

After weeks of training–weeks of security following her every move, sleepless nights, exhausting hours–she walked onto that stage prim, proper, and every bit perfect. Lights shining down on her, she realized the entire country was watching her. It was exhilarating, absolutely exhilarating. The entire event drew expected television ratings when the pageant’s 60th queen was crowned.

Kim didn’t end up getting crowned that night–the title of Miss Korea went to a girl named Ye-bin Yoo. But that was expected: While women from outside of Korea are invited to compete, they’re not allowed to win.

“For me, the Miss Korea pageant really helped me a lot,” Kim says, in retrospect. “I’m so grateful for the entire experience. I learned so much from the other girls, makeup tips, hair tips, and really how to get through life.”

Very diplomatic of her to say, I tell her.

“I don’t see it that way,” she replies. “I honestly met some of the best girls and made so many great memories. More than anything though, life skills. After Miss Korea, I definitely can handle anything. I’m tougher, stronger. I’ve grown up.”

Since the pageant, Kim has returned to Long Island where she’s finishing up her degree in pharmacy at St. John’s University. She hung up her badge and has retired from pageantry, though she hopes that the exposure will help her land a modeling gig. Already, an agent from Barcelona has reached out to her.

Lee, on the other hand, is still trying to close this chapter in her life. When she returned to New York City after leaving the competition early, she says she entered a deep, dark place.

“I’m a really happy person; I’m usually in a good mood, never depressed,” Lee says. “I think I got clinically depressed when I got back to New York. I was stuck in a really dark cloudy place in my head. I was depressed for the first day of my life, ever. I was worried Miss Korea did that to me.”

Currently Lee is still searching for her next big move and is unemployed. But happily so.

“I’ve put Miss Korea behind me and I’ve finally become my old self–my old, happy self,” she says.

With that, the Miss Korea competition still lives on with a brand new batch of hopefuls trying their luck at becoming the country’s next new face.

The pageant is currently working on Miss Korea 2014 and will be holding local competitions in the new year.

The Miss Korea New York chapter, sponsored by The Korea Times, has not responded to any of Fashionista’s e-mails or calls.
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Re: Confessions of a Miss Korea Contestant!

Postby HerbertBrasil » Sat Aug 31, 2013 3:46 pm

:-O
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