We all know that K-pop stars are expected to meet rigid beauty ideals, such as having large double-lidded eyes, pale skin and a slim build. For idols, however, things get much more specific, with every strange little body part being crafted to perfection, even if it’s a body part the rest of us would never think about.
The sheer number of the times the phrase “from head to toe,” or meori butteo balkkeutkkaji in Korean, comes up in K-pop songs is a good indication of just how much attention goes into every weird and wonderful physical feature. So, what are some of the lesser known body parts that are valued in idol-land?
Who knew the importance of foreheads? Appearances can be transformed by pushing a floppy fringe off your face, instantly going from cute to striking. If you’re a believer in physiognomy, a pretty and wide forehead can be tied to wealth and success, perhaps explaining why foreheads are so valued, especially for male stars. At the start of his career, SHINEE’s Key was even told by Lee Soo-man that he was bound to be successful because of his prominent forehead.
A rounded forehead is also seen as prettier than a flat one, supposedly because it makes the face more three-dimensional, with some even getting fillers to create a more cushiony forehead. Famous foreheads include Orange Caramel’s Nana, former Wondergirls member Sohee, and 2PM’s Nickhun. Ultimately, though, a forehead is a relatively minute part of someone’s overall appearance, so does it really make a huge difference?
Generally, straight and medium-sized noses are preferred in the industry, but for idols, the requirements are even more specific. Not only must the noses be proportional, but the bridge must be high, resulting in a defined, 3-dimensional look. A high nose bridge is said to result in a confident, striking look, with male idols like TOP and INFINITE‘s L being praised for this feature. Those who prefer the cute look tend to like so-called ski-slope noses, which Hyuna, Luhan or IU have.
Everyone likes a pearly white smile, but for K-pop idols, it’s not just the teeth that are important. Having a mouth with upturned corners is valued, as it helps to combat accidental resting bitch face. One such idol is Exo’s Chen, who is famous for his consistently cheery expression.
Also, every idol knows that a smile is about more than just the mouth: it involves the eyes too. An adorable eyesmile is something that many idols have at their disposal to disarm unsuspecting fans with their cuteness. A-Pink’s Eunji, Girls Day’s Minah and Exo’s Baekhyun have some of the cutest eyesmiles, with their eyes scrunching up every time they laugh.
In the K-pop world, it is not enough to have a slim stomach, but additionally, this stomach must be so perfectly chiseled that it resembles a block of chocolate. Taeyang manages to cancel out his shorter stature with his proportional frame and famous chocolate abs.
Others idols renowned for their chocolate abs include BTS’s Jimin, 2PM’s Taecyeon and Super Junior’s Siwon. In contrast to chocolate abs, some K-pop stars such as Baekhyun admit to having nutella abs, the melted, mushy and more realistic counterpart to chocolate abs.
This attention to detail in the K-pop industry is unsurprising, but also amusing for us to learn about. Readers, can you think of any other specific K-pop ideals that have you shaking your head in confusion?
(YouTube, Images via SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, BigHit Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, CUBE Entertainment, Pledis Entertainment)