In an effort to look Korean, a Brazilian exchange student has undergone 10 rounds of surgery and spent US$31,000 to alter his appearance.
The formerly blond and blue-eyed 25-year-old, who identified himself only by the name “Xiahn” in order to protect his family’s privacy, is of German descent and a native of the southern Brazilian city Novo Hamburgo.
In interviews with local media, Xiahn said that he had long been interested in Korean popular culture and a year at Busan’s Dongseo University had made him eager to undergo plastic surgery.
“Koreans have many surgeries to modify the shape of their eyes and become more like Westerners,” Xiahn said in a report by The Korea Herald. “It was easy to tell when one of them had done it, walking on the street wearing sunglasses and a surgical mask.”
Xiahn said that changing the appearance of his eyes was his first priority, reported Brazilian newspaper Zero Hora.
"I put my fingers inside the eye and pulled. That was the way I wanted to have my eyes," he said. "I was not afraid that something would go wrong…[and] everything worked out. My vision is perfect."
Currently, Xiahn wears black contact lenses and has also dyed his hair to enhance his Korean-inspired appearance.
After becoming a minor celebrity online after news of his surgery went viral, Xiahn shot back at critics on his Facebook account, pointing out that he is satisfied with his current look and has no regrets.
'Regardless of religion that the person is [sic], whether or not you believe in past lives, you have only this life, you have to be who you want to be,” he wrote.
Plastic surgery is remarkably commonplace in South Korea, a country which has the seventh-highest total number of yearly procedures carried out worldwide, according to data from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.