Le sigh… Sorry guys, it’s time for yet another South Korean tale of cosmetic surgery woes. I know I write way too much about South Korea’s penchant for cosmetic surgery and how things can turn towards the uncanny valley a little too quickly. I know you guys wish I’d just get off the topic because it’s depressing.

Wait… What? WAIT WHAT?! There’s a person who got serious cosmetic surgery and it actually worked out really well?!

Here, we’re looking at Sonyong Moon, a 29-year-old South Korean woman who underwent an amazing transformation on a South Korean documentary/reality show called “Let Me In” (Kanji readers may get a kick out of the subtle play on words here: Let美人, read “Bijin” in Japanese and “Mi-in” in Korean).

Starting from her early teens, other kids apparently called poor Moon “Old Lady Face,” which has got to give a girl some serious image issues. The teasing supposedly continued into her twenties, when people started calling her, “The 20-something Grandma.” Okay, so, Koreans are apparently not the most sensitive folks around when it comes to outward appearance.


If I may inject some personal commentary here: I’m not a big fan of cosmetic surgery as a principle. But, it’s hard to deny the existence of a kind of genetic lottery that some people win big and some people lose. Study after study has shown that looks can affect your overall success in life (especially in Korea, which we’ve talked about before), and cosmetic surgery – at least for those who were, let’s say, dealt a bad hand – can present a potent equalizer if wielded properly.


Moon was apparently considered so ugly that her employers even pressured her to quit her job because she was considered an eyesore around the office, so when she revealed her dramatic transformation, the Korean public was utterly (and pleasantly) shocked; Due in no small part to her history of being discriminated against, Korean television viewers were so moved that Moon’s name became the top Internet search term in Korea.

surger1 surger2

I think it’s important to separate people who get cosmetic surgery because of psychological issues like body dysmorphia, and people like Ms. Moon. She appears to have had some acne before surgery and possibly some dental issues, and the way people perceived her based on her looks was clearly impacting her life in a negative way. Far from wanting to be a living Barbie doll, I think Moon just wanted to be accepted and have the opportunity for a fair crack at success; Sure, the transformation is a bit severe, but, just this once, I’m going to say this cosmetic surgery was done for the forces of good.

Moon’s total surgical fees ran around US$100,00 and included a nose job, dental repairs, botox and such.

Here’s video of the dramatic transformation complete with sort of cheesy before/after real-time overlap effects:

[ Read in Japanese ]