We finally have a chance to watch My ID is Gangnam Beauty so we are watching and recapping it right now. I really hope I love it, but I know that is asking too much so I just hope I like it.
How we do this: We update the post around every 10 minutes. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later depending on the scene. There will be typos which we have fantasies of fixing once the episode finishes airing. Also, there might be lovely updates at the bottom, so check back in!
Shorthand Character Chart: MY ID is Gangnam Beauty
Countdown: RECAPPING! …check twitter for updates.
MY ID IS GANGNAM BEAUTY KDRAMA RECAP EPISODE 1
We open on a subway. it looks menacing. There is a girl in the subway with her face completely covered. There is another woman who comes on, she looks really pretty. This girl with the hoodie looks at this woman and think about all the surgeries she did.
She had everything done on her face – 75 points.
There is another woman putting on makeup. She had her nose, V-line, cheeks, everything done – 70 points.
She obviously had surgery, but she is satisfied with it.
They get off the subway. The girl is with her mother and walks to a plastic surgery clinic. She adds the points of everyone that is walking by who have had plastic surgery done and the points show up on the screen.
They get to the clinic. The secretary tells her and her mother that she will double check everything that was discussed with the doctor. The girl continues to see all the surgery that this woman had done – 83 points and possibly $23k.
Cut to the surgery room. it is empty, cold, and sterile. The mother and daughter talk to the doctor about all the side affects. She might need a blood transfusion but it is not common. The mother is very worried about it all, but she signs anyway. The girl is underage so the mother has to sign for it. Her hand shakes as she signs.
The mother tells her daughter not to worry about the money, the world will change after you wake up. My daughter! It is the last time I will see your face.
The daughter starts to cry. Umma tells her not to cry, I love you. The daughter love hre too. The mom tells her not to cry, fighting Gang Mirae!
The door close to the surgery suite and the mother waits anxiously.
the daughter is hooked up to everything and strapped down onto the table. The doctor tells her that she will feel sleepy….she goes to sleep.
While sleeping, we flashback to a young Mirae. She is chubby and eating at a snack stand. Some little boys go up to her and call her Gang Pig, they run away. She goes back to eating, they keep running up and calling her Gang Pig (her last name is Gang). She tries to ignore them.
Inthe surgery suite, she is draped and the surgery is underway.
Another flashback to her childhood. She is sitting at the playground. The same three boys throw paper airplanes at her with note written on it that says “what are you looking at.” Then they throw her a snack that is called “Pig.”
Mirae walks to the candy. Cut to a moment later where the three kids laugh at the pig ice cream and pig br and how she is a pig. But she confronts them and pushes them away.
VO _ I was a breave kid, I was not a victim, but whenever I got my revenge, I had more attacks.
The kids locked her in the bathroom.
VO – The wish of the victims is to not win the fight. It is to not be the person that is being attacked.
back in the surgery suite, the pencil is handed to the doctor to make the lines on her eyes.
Flashback to Mirae not wanting to eat. her mother wants hr to eat, but Mirae does not want to.
VO – I thought I was the lotto ticket they did not scratch yet. Because the best plastic surgery is dieting.
She starts running and working out. She did not have a yoy, because she tells her self that she will has a good will.
Cut to her as a skinny kid. The attacks stopped for awhile, she thought she became normal. She is the #1 kid in class.
Back to the surgery suite, the anesthesia is going into her eyes.
In the past, Mirae offers something to a boy. He wonders what she is doing. She says it is the questions she picked for the next exam. She likes him.
he is all like, huh? Are you crazy? he looks at her startled. She wonders if something is wrong with that? The boy hits the papers out of her hand and tells her to tell him that it is a joke. Do not spread the word around that you like mea nd don’t tell anyone. He kicks the questions.
VO – I couldn’t be the unscratched lotto ticked.
The boys in school talk about dating Gong Mirae as a joke. In the present, she is getting her faec worked on and her hands and feet clench.
In the past, all the kids are getting their photo taken together, but she hides behind everyone, she does not want to be in the photo. The photographer says that she needs to show her face, they will take it one more time so show your face. SOme girls grumble as to why she is there.
VO – I couldn’t be normal.
Int he past, she walks around alone while other girls have boyfriends.
VO – I can’t live normally.
She walks alone down the street.
VO – I am an ogre.
She walks to the bridge and looks over the edge.
In the present, her jaw line is being cut.
Cut to recovery. Her mother visits her at the hospital while she is outside.
Mother – before you go to school, don’t worry about it and just rest and recover. My Mirae will get all the energy from this mountain and just think about being pretty.
Umma turns to the mountain and yells
Mom – My Mirae – be pretty with this mountain energy.
Mirae – Like a bear that became human after 100 days, I became pretty (Korea mythology)
Cut to the present, she is all healed and got a new drivers license. We don’t see how she looks yet. She walks through a boutique and smells all the perfumes. A salesperson comes up to her and asks her if she has a perfume that she is looking for? The salesperson says that a certain one will be good for her because she is pretty.
Mirae tells her that she is going to college.
VO – I became pretty, surprisingly pretty. But I look like plastic surgery.
Eyes: Big and cool
Nose: High like old Korean socks (pointy)
Face: Close to V line
Mirae’s aboji is a taxidriver. He happily talks to someone in his car about his daughter.
Dad – She is a chemist at Korea University. We did not do any tutoring or Hagwon, you don’t believe it right? People who can’t be successful in studying should do something else. She is #1 even though she studied herself. She went to the Philippines to study English right after the SAT’s. I thought she became a fashion model….she is not pretty but she is cute. People say that she is not pretty, but she is prettier than Kim Tae-hee.
Cut to Mirae at school. She hopes to have a wonderful life in college. A girl comes up to her and asks to take a historic college student. Mirae asks if she should? her and this girl take a lot of photos together.
VO – I never took any photos with my best friend before because I always looked uglier in photos.
She tells her friend that she thinks people are looking at her, maybe because she is still ugly? Her friend, Hyun-jung asks her if she is fishing for complements. A boy comes up to MR and asks if he can have her phone number because she is his ideal type.
She says she does not have a cell phone number. he is all like…..just tell me that you don’t like me. He walks away. HJ is all like, that is stupid Mirae, how does a cell phone not have a number? Gong Mirae, get used to your pretty self and don’t do stupid things in the classroom okay?
Mirae walks off, HJ asks if she is going to give him her phone number? MR gets embarrassed and runs back smiling.
Cut to a montage of Mirae getting all of her items for school. She is so pretty that everyone just looks at her when she passes by. Mirae is still looking at girls faces and seeing if they had plastic surgery. There is girl with no surgery that 80 points. And if she had more care then she would be 85 points.
Another girl had double eye lid surgery, her nose looks natural, she has olive skin and a chubby face. She is cute and likable – 70 points.
Another girl is 2-3 years after eye lid surgery – 90 points. She could be pretty and popular.
Mirae gets to where she is going and introduces herself. She is the class of 2018 (they count class by entering date in Korea, not existing). They all notice her as the person without an online profile. One of the kids think she is a sunbae that is faking to be an undergraduate (X-man).
She says she is a freshman. She gives them her ID and says she is a rabbit. She looks older thought. She apologizes for that, but one of the girls says that it is because she looks so pretty. No freshman looks like this with a nice shape.
VO – What is going on….am I being bullied?
Another girl comes up, SA. She tells themthat they all look better than their picture so she could not recognize her. MR looks at her and notices that she is all natural: nose, skin, face, everything – 100 points. She is the super rare natural beauty. A goddess.
SA asks MR if she is Gong Mirae? Let’s be friends.
VO – Baby powder smell, you can’t make this with perfume. She is pretty and cute. Why am I so attracted to women?
Our hero walks up to his booth. His name is Do Kyung-seok. Someone comments that they have a lot of good visual people in their class.
They group goes to a training center at a hotel. Several busses drive up with all the kids that are going to college. Perhaps all the Freshman are going to this conference. They all sit in an auditorium to listen to a famous professor give them advice from the projector. They also listen to other people talk on the screen. One of them was a foreigner who learned Korean culture well. A woman is an actress who tells them all to enjoy their college life and find what makes them happy.
The boys in the auditorium all the kids are looking at each other on the sly. One guy really likes SA and can’t help but look at her.
Afterward, all the kids walk with boxes and items in their hands. they tlk about being too skinny and looking like primary school students. I like eating but I don’t gain weight. A guy runs up to SA and asks if he should carry it for her. She remembers his name and says he has a good voice, of course he remembers her name. Do you remember my name? he remembers it.
They keep talking about things back and forth. SW says girls have high standards, CA says she does not. he tells her to just carry the items.
At the same time, MR and her friend look at KS as they all walk to their destination.
Inside their individual auditoriums, Everyone sits in a circle. They all have to stand up and talk about themselves. KS is the first to stand up. he says his name is Do Kyung-seok. I like sports and drinking.
VO – Do Kyung-Seok….is he that Do Kyung-seok?
SA stands up next. She tells everyone that she is so nervous. She wants to study but she also wants to make many friends. All the guys want to be her friend. do you have a boyfriend? She says that she has never had a boyfriend. But I ill introduce a pretty girl.
Two of the guys say that this is their frist time to see a Gangnam Beauty to each other .They like those girls.
Mirae stands up, she thinks to herself that she is so nervous, but she does not say it. She says that she wants to be everyones friend. Someone asks if she has a boyfriend. She says no.
Perhaps people are saying “Does eveyrone think she is pretty” but it might be her imagination.
Mirae bows and leaves the center.
He says, how dare freshman drink water? Drink soju! Fill your bottles. Where are your cups? one shot one shot! Eveyrone drinks one shot. CW asks if Mirae has a boyfriend, you don’t right? Then he asks if he can be in that seat.
Mirae does not know what to do.
Time passes and everyone keeps drinking. They all drink a liter of beer. Literally a liter of beer where they all line up with their liters and chug them.
KS is one of them. Mirae wonders if KS is that Kyung-seok, would he recognize me?
A little bit later, they start to play a game where they name song titles. Mirae is not confident, so she says them to herself, and the girl next to her says it out loud. All the answers are right and everyone cheers everytime. it is dance time once the last answer is said so eveyrone dances.
But then they sit to play some more. They are playing a lot of games, my goodness, I am tired just watching them.
The next game will be a personal talent game. Everyone sits in their circles to find out who can do the personal talent for their team. Mirae does not think she will be good at it, but they all cheer for her.
Mirae calls hr best friend and asks what she can do. hr best friend tells her that she can dance, she is good at dancing so just do it. People will think that you are a prissy or coy girl and get upset at you. Mirae wants to run away.
Her friend cheers her up and tells her that she can’t avoid it, if she avoids it then nothing will change. You have a chane to show yourself off, so just show it. Mirae asks if she thinks she can do it well. Her friend says of course. You are Kang Mirae, the King of dancing.
Her friend has to hang up because she is the rapper for her team. They hang up and Mirae is left looking unsure of herself. But she turns toward the room with determination.
Cut back to the team talent show. Hyun Soo-ah is up and sings a song. She looks nervous as she sings and smiles and laughs while singing. ALl the boys think that they should help her and push Do Kyung-seok up there. He goes up there, but he says he does not know this song.
Eveyrone cheers and says it is daebak visuals.
Next up is Kang Mirae, she dances (in that scene from the trailer) and gets everyone up on their feet.
It looks like KS remembers Kang Mirae dancing at a bus stop before her surgery, he is starting to remember her. The song is PSY “New Face.” Mirae points to the croud and does the dance until the end.
Everyone cheers. Mirae has a flashbak where she saw some girls dancing outside confidently in a group. Later on, she practiced the dance by herself. She says that she wanted to show that she could do well.
She starts dancing again when the beat kicks back in and everyone joins in on the dance. (I think this is a dance that PSY made up?).
the dance finally ends to everyones cheers.
VO – I wanted to show off, like others, I wanted to be loved – normally. I wanted to be loved.
Later on, they are back sitting in their group. One of the girls says that she is like an Idol. Mirae tells her that she just practiced a lot at home by herself. CW wants a love shot with Mirae, but one of the other girls notices that Mirae is having a hard time with alcohol. Mirae runs off. CW thinks she is pretending to have a hard time.
Mirae goes to the bridge to be by herslf and thinks that it would be better if they didn’t force her to drink so much. She thinks about her dance and being the best int he talent part. Everyone was cheering her name.
She starts to tear up at the recent memory but tries to shake it off. Her phone goes off. She shakes off her tears and answers, but her mother notices her emotions right away and asks what happened. Mirae is about to tell her and shakes hre head and says that she is having fun. People liked me U-u-umma.
Omma is happy that her daughter is happy. Both mother and daughter try to shake off their tears, umma even has to hang up because she is getting teary.
Mirae says that she shouldn’t cry, if she cries then her surgery line might get red.
Inside, KS sits by himself, but a girl comes up to sit with him and tells him that he can drink well. it looks like this girl is a sunbae because he speaks to her in jongdaemal. But he says he has to leave and goes outside the room. The girl thinks he is chic and is smitten.
In the hallway, SA tells KS that he is good at drinking. he keeps walking by her. She holds his arm and says, I am sorry, maybe I am drunk. She looks at him and asks him if she looks stupid? She becomes like this when she drinks.
KS asks all the guys nearby if they have any medicien to get sober, she is having a hard time.
All the guys run up to her to give her the medicine, KS leaves.
Outside, MR texts with her best friend about what song she did. MR tells her PSY. But then KS comes out. MR stands up and tries to avoid him. he happily walks to the bridge with a drink and somehow opens it with one hand. he drinks his soda while looking over the bridge.
MR tells her friend that she is outside, when she goes inside, people try to get her to drink. She is about to ask her friend if she remembers Do Jyung-seok, but then her phone calls off. Her appa called.
But her appa does not know who she is, he asks why she has his daughters phone. Mirae says she is Miraes sunbae and that Mirae should not use a cell phone during the conference thingy.
Appa says okay and hangs up. But he is confused, that girl feels like she is Mirae, but it is strange. Umma comes home and is all like – um…..well…..Mirae….~. She tries to tell him that Mirae wanted to have double eyelid surgery. But appa shuts all that down. It looks like he is very against surgery and thinks Mirae is very pretty already.
Umma leaves without telling him that his daughter had surgery.
At the school event, the pervert sunbae comes out. he has a water and tells Mirae to drink it. She drinks a little bit. He asks her, if it is difficult, why don’t you take a break at the resting area. She thanks him and leaves. But then he starts walking with her.
This feels sinister. Mirae feels it too.
KS might also think something is off, because he looks at them as he drinks his drink at the bridge.
They go inside this building. The pervert guy sits on the couch and pretends like he will take a break. He tells her to sit as well. Mirae walks slowly and sits in another seat far away.
he tells her that it might be uncomfortable over there, sit closer. Am I making you uncomfortable, lets switch. Or I can sit over here?
he goes to sit in an armchair to the side and she sits on the sofa. She drinks a bit more of the water. He tells her that she is pretty and she starts to choke on a little bit of the water and cough.
He asks her if she really does not have a boyfriend. Why not? She says she just does not have one. he asks if he can like her, he was attracted to her during her dance and the game.
VO – Is he confessing to me?
CW – Don’t think to seriously about it.
MR – People will look for me.
CW – What people? I don’t think anyone is more interested in you than me.
He walks to the door and blocks her from leaving. He is about to lock it and tells her that everyone is playing. But then KS pushed the door open and CW falls to the ground.
KS helps him stand. CE asks what he is doing. KS asks what he is doing. CW tells him it is none of his business. KW says he saw him coming this way and wondered what kind of place this was.
CW says it is nothing, MR was just having a hard time. KW tells him he was blocking the door. CW tells him that he is giving him a break because he must be drunk. Then he tells MR thta they should leave. But MR stays with KS.
KS asks her if she is okay. She says she is okay. Then she tells KS that he can take a break there if he wants. She starts to leave. KS calls her name and she turns.
KS – Are you….from Kajang middle school?
She looks at him with wide eyes.
MR – Huh?
Super cute. I really like it so far. I like how there are two kids who don’t go along with the crowd even though they like being with everyone. On a side note, I cannot believe how much Korean college kids drink, and how it is encouraged. I mean US college kids drink a lot a lot, but it is not encouraged. I am just amazed. Korean college kids make US college kids look like occasional drinkers, and that’s saying something. Is it stress related?
Yay so glad you guys picked this up! I really like it too! Thank you!
The same thought crossed my mind about the drinking. Is this some kind of tradition where seniors force them to drink? This looks dangerous.
One question: is Gangnam beauty a term used for people who did plastic surgery? Does it mean people know she went under the knife but she doesn’t know they know?
Gangnam is a district in South Korea with a high concentration of plastic surgeons. It is THE place to go for plastic surgery. Therefore, Gangnam Beauty means beauty that is gained from plastic surgery. Especially one who had so much surgery done that it looks highly unnatural.
In this show, she is termed Gangnam Beauty because it is obvious she had her face done and everyone, including her, knows what it means. As a matter of fact, those who doesn’t know are considered ignorant.
Thanks so much Birdie for the explanation. It all makes sense now. I saw the second episode and did not understand why SA was chided by KS for being rude.
Now it all makes sense. How awful it must be to go through such a procedure knowing people will judge you for it.
Its so unfortunate and am glad a drama is addressing this.
I am happy that they have the father character who thinks his daughter is so adorable and beautiful and should not have any work done. It kind of shows the cluelessness of dads, but it also gives us a perspective on how everyone sees people differently.
I hope it doesn’t hurt him too much when he finds out. 😬
Imagine finding out your daughter doesn’t exist (i mean he can never SEE her again). What a painful thought that is.
Yes, I think so; I guess it would be similar to referring to “Beverly Hills” in the States or maybe “going Hollywood” but it might not be as bad as calling someone plastic?
I think it means people guess that she had plastic surgery done because it looks like she had plastic surgery done, but I am not for sure about that.
I asked O about all the drinking and he said it is super common place. The weird thing is if you don’t drink.
Thanks so much for recapping this show, really hope you won’t drop it 🙂
I really like that the show is exploring our highly beauty-obsessed culture and the various reasons for someone to become beautiful. Also, the age-old questions:- Do forgive someone for their horrid personality because they are beautiful or can you value a lovely person despite how they look? Do you let someone off just because they are stunning or do you give someone a hard time because they are unpleasant looking?
I hope the show continues the good vibes and messages.
Those of you interested in the webtoon, it’s available in English. You can just search online.
This show really reminds me of that quote by Roald Dahl that goes something like this:
A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.
I copied that from somewhere so I am not sure if it is 100 accurate, but I think it is.
I found the entire thing on Goodreads! Here it is:
“If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it.
A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
Thanks, V! What lovely words indeed and perfectly describes the themes in the show.
I have met real life people who are like the characters in this show and really, it is not far from reality.
From your words, I am also reminded of a simple mantra from the Cinderella movie (the one with Lily James)… “Have courage and be kind”
I’ve already seen 2 episodes, but reading your recaps gives me a fresh perspective. It also helps that you keep the original wording as much as possible, so it feels more true & new even if I’ve watched it already.
You cleared up the fact that it’s obvious she had plastic surgery, because I thought it was obvious, but the show kind of remained ambiguous till where I saw it.
Thanks so much for picking this up!! Was so excited by the premise when I first heard of it a few weeks back that I immediately went to search up the webtoon it’s based on & there were absolutely NO REGRETS reading it!! There’s a Chinese translation that has it in full – the current English translation stops around halfway through. I really loved the messages and the multifaceted characters in the webtoon, and am excited to see how it plays out in the drama 🙂
I like how it deals with tough and real messages like the perception of beauty by society and the strong tendency to want to fit in especially in a country where the people are almost homogeneous in terms of looks, race and culture.
O really love this show, I found the webtoon time ago so I was really happy, can you make “shop the drama” with Mirae, I really love the earring she is wearing in the first episode, when she is dancing with white t-shirt and blue hood, thank you !
I’ll see if I can find some things!
Did anyone find it weird that they had to find another person to play the younger Kyung suk and that guy didn’t look a lot younger.
I THOUGHT THAT WAS SO STRANGE.
Hi! Would you happen to know the name of the chubby kid (Gang Pig) in real life? I really really find her so cute! Almost cried on episode 1 when other kids were bullying her. Please please if you know her name, I would just like to search and follow her anywhere here on the internet. Thanks in advance!!! <3
it is very dramatic story