My ID is Gangnam Beauty (also known as Gangnam Beauty), is a 2018 youth rom-com drama based on popular webtoon of the same title. Gangnam Beauty is a Korean term refers to a person who becomes beautiful after plastic surgery, as Gangnam is a city in Korea with many beauty clinics offering plastic surgery service.
Kang Mi Rae (Im Soo Hyang) used to be a brave girl but keeps on being an object of bully at school for her unpretty appearance. After failing on her “natural” attempt to be “accepted” by doing a strict diet and humiliated by her first crush instead, she decided to undergo a high risk plastic surgery right before entering college life. The now pretty Mi Rae tries to adjust with new kind of attentions at college while meeting friends she would never think of before: Do Kyung Seok (Cha Eun Woo), Mi Rae’s handsome and popular middle schoolmate who despite giving a cold impression turns out to be super caring. Hyun Soo Ah (Jo Woo Ri), the prettiest and nicest girl at campus who insisted to be Mi Rae’s friend. Yeon Woo Young (Kwak Dong Yeon), Mi Rae’s teaching assistant who is famous of being smart, kind and a role model of seniors. Will Mi Rae new life at campus becomes as pretty as her new face? Or will she find true meaning of pretty and happiness?
- Im Soo Hyang as Kang Mi Rae
- Cha Eun Woo (of Astro) as Do Kyung Seok
- Jo Woo Ri as Hyun Soo Ah
- Kwak Dong Yeon as Yeon Woo Young
- Min Do Hee as Oh Hyun Jung
Honestly, we don’t really have high expectation from this drama for two reasons: first, there are plenty dramas/movies about beauty transformation out there so it’s not really something new. Second, their casting were not that convincing as they cast mostly rookie actors (even a rookie idol-actor as the main male lead). But after watching the first episode, we got hooked instantly.
Yes, the main leads are rather stiff especially Cha Eun Woo who sometimes didn’t even know where to put his gaze on but actually they fit the characters just fine as Kang Mi Rae is supposedly not accustom to social interaction so her being stiff is actually make sense (plus we all know Im Soo Hyang is a good actress). As many point out that Cha Eun Woo did a poor job here, but we thought that Do Kyung Seok with all of his scars and nonchalant personality is supposed to be awkward too. Plus, as Do Kyung Seok is described as an ultimate handsome freshman, we could think of no other than Cha Eun Woo (well, Park Bo Gum would do too if he could spread a more chic aura). Jo Woo Ri exceed our expectation as she successfully portrayed the angel-turns-to-be-fox Soo Ah perfectly. With a slight gesture or even a slight smile of her, we could understand her feelings and plot. Kwak Dong Yeon somehow ended up with a lovely character. Again. which is awesome and he did a superb job here portraying a mature character. But can we have him as the main lead now and not having his character sacrificing himself anymore, please?
Yes, this drama comes with “beauty transformation” theme as you might already seen in movies like “100 Pounds Beauty” or dramas like “Birth of a Beauty”. But we especially love this drama for its consideration not to expose the character’s past appearance and they do that beautifully (thanks, director-nim!) because otherwise, they could set wrong ideas to people with the similar appearance. Also, despite being obvious that Mi Rae and Kyung Seok come from a very different family background, they almost did not touch the financial area aside from Mi Rae’s habit of choosing discounted items, Kyung Seok’s shirts that turns out to be very expensive, Kyung Seok’s idea of giving a TV as housewarming party. But other than that, Mi Rae still manages to rent a nice place, Kyung Seok apparently has no issue riding a bus, and the most important thing is they don’t have those classic “take this money and leave my rich son alone, you little gold digger” scene. Yay! The drama also brilliantly focusing on important yet often get forgotten issues, such as the victim of bullying’s feelings, how even women tend to judge other women’s appearance and grade them, one’s desperate feelings, thoughts and reasons before he/she took an extreme solution such as suicide or plastic surgery, the parents feelings (can you imagine what would you feel if one day your child’s face suddenly changed when you used to love and appreciate their past look?), and last but not least, the struggle and hardship of life don’t belong to the “ugly ones” only but also the “beautiful ones” too.
The only downside of this drama is that not every issue developed well and have a good closure. For an instance, we thought that Kyung Seok’s mom might be a “good vessel” for Mi Rae-Kyung Seok-Soo Ah love war especially when they all did a summer activity at the mother’s company. Here, we thought of some possible fun scenes that should be happened, but no… none of that happened. Another example is Kyung Seok’s parents relationship. When no one is actually having new relationship with other people and the father clearly still has lingering feelings toward her, we thought they would finally get back together or something. But again, no. In fact, there is no clear closure about this couple.
So despite being a coming-of-age drama, “My ID is Gangnam Beauty” leaves so many important messages that applies to both youngsters and adults. It’s not a drama that only nice to watch with your friends or lover, but also your family.
Rating: 8.5/10 (need more closure in the ending)
Other Korean Drama set in university: K-Movie Review: Cheese In The Trap (2018 Movie), K-Drama Review: Go Back Couple (Confession Couple)
Other Korean Drama adapted from webtoon: K-Drama Review: Moonlight Drawn By Clouds / Love in the Moonlight, Orange Marmalade Korean Drama Review, K-Drama Review: What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim?
Other Cha Eun Woo drama: K-Drama Review: The Best Hit / Hit the Top (2017)
Other Kwak Dong Yeon drama: K-Drama Review: Moonlight Drawn By Clouds / Love in the Moonlight