Identikit Korean pageant hopefuls were Photoshopped, claims blogger

Plastic surgery not to blame for beauty contestants' striking similarities, claims writer

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 April, 2013, 2:48pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 April, 2013, 3:06am

It was the story that sparked a heated debate over South Korea's apparent obsession with plastic surgery.

But it appears the story of the identikit Korean beauty pageant hopefuls is not what it seems after new claims emerged explaining the reason why the 20 contestants all looked so alike: Photoshop and make-up.

The debate began after pictures were published last week on under the headline: "Korea's plastic surgery mayhem is finally converging on the same face. Here are the miss korea 2013 contestants", prompting speculation that the young hopefuls had gone under the knife.

However, Brian Ashcraft, writing for, presents a very different explanation. He claims that the girls in the photographs were actually taking part in the Miss Daegu contest, a competition that pre-empts Miss Korea. He argues that the contestants look very different without make-up and Photoshop retouching, which he demonstrates with the images below, apparently showing the very same 20 in an earlier stage of the contest held at Dae Kyung University.

Ashcraft writes: "The assumption is now that the contestants wore their make-up in a similar style and, more likely, the same person Photoshopped the contestants. That would explain why all their smiles and faces are incredibly similar."

The story last week opened up the debate about cosmetic surgery in South Korea. According to data compiled by The Economist from the International Society of Cosmetic Plastic Surgeons and the UN, South Koreans undergo more plastic surgery than any other nationality: in 2011, 13 million procedures were performed on a population of just 50 million.