The chiseled features -- can Korea's gene pool really have produced the perfection that graces TV screens all over Asia without the help of the country's otherwise so very busy army of plastic surgeons? The Chosun Ilbo listens to the rumor mill to discover just how natural the Korean Wave is.
◆ Kim Tae-hee
Kim Tae-hee hit the big time when she was still in high school in Ulsan. She attended a nationally renowned school that brought together top students from local middle schools, yet even there the actress was able to stay on top of her class for the entire three years. And her looks have not changed since then: they made her the object of desire among the boys of all the surrounding schools. One rumor circulating about the actress at that time was that she studied for free at a private tutoring college. According to the rumor, her presence there was thought to attract so much business from male students that the institute waived the fee.
◆ Ko So-young
Ko So-young has been a great beauty since her school days. So haughty, yet so pure -- no wonder the tongues are wagging. The rumor is that when she left home to head to school of a morning, a line of expensive cars lined up in front of her house driven by men who yearned for the privilege to chauffeur her to school.
◆ Kim Hee-sun
Kim Hee-sun is a doll; and, would you believe, she has always looked like this.
◆ Lee Young-ae
Lee Yong-ae spearheads the Korean Wave. Childhood pictures and photos of young Young-ae in hanbok from her school days can be found all over the Internet. Devoted Netizens can attest, therefore, that no surgeon's knife was needed to improve her.
◆ Jeon Ji-hyun
Jeon Ji-hyun also remains unaltered by science since her school days.
◆ Kim A-joong
A picture of Kim A-joong at the age of 20 has recently been circulating online, from an interview where she confessed to her dream of becoming a model. There is the body, there is the face, already perfect.
◆ Han Ga-in
Han Ga-in appeared on a TV quiz show when she was a high-school student, and she was also captured in TV footage of interviews with high-school students. Her looks needed no improvement. The story of how entertainment bigwigs spotted her in the news clip and immediately went to her school to offer her a part is already legendary.
◆ Song Hye-kyo
Song Hye-kyo also started out in entertainment while at high school. "She was active in show business when she was in the first year of high school, and she appeared on a TV show in the third year, so she wasn't able to attend class often," a teacher recalls. "But with her cheerful character, she mixed well with her friends and was always in a bright mood." Needless to say her looks are said to be entirely nature's work.