Beauty Killed The Girl

*Black Girls in Korea: Relationships, Beauty Tips, &More*

If curiosity killed the cat, then beauty killed the girl.

There’s nothing wrong with curiosity or beauty, but both can be hard to satisfy; and, in doing so, each one comes with costs. When it comes to beauty, we all know the costs– after all, as girls and women, beauty is something we often preoccupy ourselves with from an early age.

The following is an exaggeration, but the amount of time that you spend staring at yourself in the mirror (worrying), standing on a scale (worrying), and doing your makeup (worrying)– the (equally worrisome) amount of money that you spend on skincare, makeup, and clothes, it’s time and money that you can’t spend on other things, like time spent loving yourself for the way you are (not worrying) or money spent on “dangerously” delicious meals– dangerous to a diet, with family and friends (definitely not worrying).

There IS a balance between having a healthy lifestyle– one that works for you and your body, and having a happy life, one that doesn’t revolve around the way you look but around the things you do and the people you love. Many girls and women have found that balance, but many more of them have not.

Many girls and women are taking beauty to the extreme, so much so that it keeps them from doing the things that they want to do and from loving the people that they want to love.

(There are many reasons for taking beauty to the extreme; mainly, because of the media AND because of those closest to us! >.<)

For example, how many of us have ever wondered if we were ever “good enough” for something or someone– just because of our looks?

This is incredibly relevant to anyone who is interested in or passionate about a country, culture, and people different from their own. However, this is also incredibly relevant to anyone who is different from their OWN country, culture, and people.

So, it’s time to meet The Girl.

The Girl

The Girl stared beauty in the face, and when she looked at her own– she saw too many differences, and she felt ugly. She wasn’t skinny. She wasn’t pale. She wasn’t glowing and radiant, but struggling to control her breakouts and wild, often tangled hair.

The Girl looked to her family and friends– even strangers, for answers, but everyone else was just as obsessed with telling her that she needed to lose weight (sometimes, that she needed to gain weight)– that she needed to stay out of the sun (sometimes, that she needed to get a tan)– that she needed to take better care of her skin and hair (sometimes, that she needed to stop trying so hard and accept her skin and hair the way they were).

The Girl stared at herself in the mirror one day while also standing on top of a scale (she had started to do this in order to save time), and she was fed up with her family, her friends, and even strangers; but, most importantly, she was fed up with herself.

“What’s beauty? No, what’s beauty to me? What do I want to look like?”

The Girl stuffed cotton balls in her ears and decided to define beauty based on the way she felt inside– the sizes, shapes, and shades that she liked.

After a few months had passed, she no longer needed to stuff cotton balls in her ears in order to listen to the voices inside of her head and her heart; and, for the first time in a long time, she looked at herself in the mirror and smiled as she said,

“I look beautiful today.”

Suddenly, she was asking herself:

“Who do I want to be?

Then, The Girl– who was now just one of many girls, went on to conquer the world and find (and keep) her true love, something she could never have done in front of a mirror or standing on top of a scale.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be beautiful, but there is something wrong with obsessing over beauty, which can be deadly: anorexia and bulimia, extreme plastic surgery and skin bleaching…

Beauty is something that you MUST define for yourself.

Why?

Well, despite what the media and what those close to you want you to believe, beauty comes in many different sizes, shapes, and shades; and, to help you reach a better definition of beauty, here are three amazing blog posts from two even more amazing bloggers:

Do Asian Guys Like Thick/Curvy/Big Girls?

My Hair Was Never An Issue With Asian Men

Asian Guy Confessions: I F*CKING LOVE My Black Girlfriend’s Natural Hair!!!

^^

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More Food For Thought

*Black Girls in Korea: Relationships, Beauty Tips, &More*

It’s that time of year again. No, not Christmas…

Finals.

*Sigh*

So, here are seven blog posts that I’ve been wanting to share with you all; and, as I write papers instead of blog posts, stay full with more food for thought!^^

1. Click HERE for more on becoming a Kpop star, and get advice from Cube’s own management!

I really liked this article, and be sure to check out So You Want To Be a Kpop Idol, a Kpop Star? for two new links to full lists of both the artists and addresses of entertainment companies in Korea.

2. Click HERE for more on the “black girl in Korea” beauty tutorial– this one’s all about black hair care in South Korea!

For black girls who want to go natural– by natural I mean not weave, in Korea, then this is a great post about where you can go to get a relaxer. Be sure to check out the rest of the blog posts written by The Wonderful World of Dee AND the rest of the new blogs on my Blog Roll.

3. And, click HERE for more on being a girl or woman in Korea!

These tips and tricks will help you girls and women survive in Korea. Be sure to check out the comments, too.

4. Click HERE for more on how to kick the words “fetish” and “fever” to the curb!

This article is DEFINITELY worth reading, and the following goes for EVERY person of ANY race:

“Personal preferences in dating or sex are not the same thing as fetishes. We can’t help who we’re attracted to, and a lot of us have a type, but no one should project the kind of personality, behavior, and values they like in a romantic partner onto someone else, let alone an entire ethnic group.”

5. Click HERE for more on how barriers between two different people can get broken down, turning into one love– a love that’s capable of changing the world for the better!

This article about a black man and the KKK will definitely shock and surprise you, and I am inspired by his passion and courage to be a part of the change I wish to see in the world– a change in the world that I’m hopefully being a part of through my blog.

6. Click HERE for more on how to have self-esteem and self-confidence!

Even though I’ve talked about self-esteem and self-confidence in The “Black Girl in Korea” Beauty Tutorial and The Self-Confidence Campaign, this article does a great job of breaking the important things down for you in 13 steps.

Last but not least:

7. Click HERE for more on the things that you will never need to stop doing if you are no longer in college!

I’m proud to say that I’ve never done #1, #13, and #14, but I’m (still) guilty of all the rest, and I’m in law school now…

*Sigh*

Black Girls: A Guide to Korean Boys

*Black Girls in Korea: Relationships, Beauty Tips, &More*

First, I want to thank my Korean guy friends for taking the time to respond to our letters. I didn’t write this guide.

They did.

So, who are they?

Some of you might already know about D- oppa. He is Korean-American, and he is also the person who told me to start blogging about building better relationships between black girls and Korean boys, and he didn’t stop telling me until I finally did.

J- is Korean– born and raised there. He is my dongsaeng, or “little brother,” and I met him through D- oppa.

D- is my chingu, or “friend,” since we are the same age. He is also Korean-American, and I’ve known him since middle school! He is big– buff, and so he used to play football and other sports.

Anyway, together, they came up with ONE answer to each of our letters, so read on to find out what they had to say! Just remember: Boys will be boys, so their answers are probably not as helpful as you would like them to be, but they should show you how normal and approachable Korean boys really are can be.

Letter #1:

We don’t only date within our race. So, if you like us, then don’t be afraid to ask us out. True love is color blind.

Most Korean guys DO date or at least marry within their race, but not all of us do. So, don’t be afraid to find out whether or not we do by asking us (or asking us out), either.

Letter #2:

We are open-minded and diverse. A lot of us find different races just as attractive as our own; and, sometimes, maybe even more attractive than our own! We actually are attracted to you, too, but sometimes we have no clue what to say to you, which probably goes both ways.

We like girls, because we’re guys. And, we like Korean girls, because we’re Korean guys. BUT that doesn’t mean we don’t like white, black, Hispanic, or even non-Korean Asian girls.

Sometimes, we’re smooth around girls that we like. Sometimes, we’re shy or awkward around girls that we like. No matter what, if we really like you, we’ll do our best to get to show it and get to know you.

Letter #3:

We can be approached the same way other girls can– with varying results.

If you do work up the courage to talk to one of us, then just because she happens to reject you or be rude to you doesn’t mean that we all will.  And, if you do approach us, be genuine.

We’re not hard to approach, but we know a lot of Korean guys are.  The language barrier is a big problem here, and sometimes Korean guys don’t want to or just can’t speak English. So, you should learn Korean, especially if you plan on going to Korea. It might even impress the Korean guys you meet, and it will definitely help you get along with their friends or family.

A black girl is not your 장난감. A black girl is not your one-nightstand. A black girl is not your fantasy.

Some Korean guys are good, but some are bad, and they will use you for sex or date you just to show off to their friends that they are with a foreign girl. We like to think we’re good guys, and we would never do that.

Letter #4:

Don’t make assumptions about us or our culture. We probably have a lot more in common than you might think! Some of us even speak Korean, and a lot of us are willing to learn.

Korean culture is so popular. (Why?!) A lot of girls like Korean guys, but they expect us to be like Korean idols or straight out of a Korean drama or something. That’s just NOT who we are. I mean, some of us do cute things and some of us don’t. I think it’d be cooler to meet a girl who knew about Starcraft (D- oppa!) or just liked drinking (J-!) or going to church (D-!).   

Letter #5:

You do not have to act like a Korean version of Lil’ Wayne to impress us– just be yourself, and don’t assume we won’t like you for who you are!

We’re definitely not those Korean guys, but we’ve seen them…

So, don’t be afraid to make the first move: Give us a compliment, flirt. We are just girls before we are black girls. So treat us that way– as girls, as people. Don’t only see the color of our skin, but do be careful when you talk about or touch our hair… >.<

We can’t touch your hair? LOL Yeah, just tell us stuff like that, because we’re not going to know! But, if we like you, we will make the first move. Or try to, at least.

Letter #6:

There are quite a few of us who are nothing like the media portrays us– I mean, we are the complete opposite, in fact.

How does the media portray Korean guys? Yeah, we’re not those guys you’re probably thinking of either.

Letter #7:

For example, we don’t want your money, and we won’t get pregnant just to get it. My ex-boyfriend’s mom always thought I just wanted him for his money, since “black people are so poor.” This is also just another false stereotype.

Yeah, stereotypes suck, but Korean guys and their parents might not know more than the false stereotypes about you. So, if you end up dating a Korean guy, educate him. Also, find out about his family, because your family, education, and background might matter to them– but, it might not.

Letter #8:

Basically, many of us do not fall into that stereotypical “ghetto lifestyle.” We don’t all “talk ghetto”, live in the hood, and want a “gangster boy.”

That’s good to know.

Letter #9:

But, we don’t all look like Beyoncé or Halle Berry, either…

We don’t all look like Hyun Bin or Won Bin, either. Looks matter, but we don’t expect you to look like a celebrity, because we don’t either.

Letter #10:

We are all different.

Not all of us are loud. Some of us are quiet. Some of us have short tempers, but some of us don’t. So, take the time to find out about us on an individual basis. How?  Just say, “Hi.” I mean that’s a good start, right?

“Hi.”

Letter #11:

So, please don’t try to lump us all into one category, especially if your entire knowledge of us is based on music videos.

Same: Especially if your entire knowledge of us is based on Kpop idols or Korean dramas.

Letter #12:

Be confident and willing to talk to us and to get to know us. We want to know that you genuinely care about us and that you are willing to embrace us, including our culture and the struggles that go along with it.

Same: Being Korean is a part of who we are, so try to understand Korean from the language to the culture to the food. Try to understand US, too.

Even though we are known for being strong, independent, and opinionated, we want to be loved, treasured, and respected like everyone else. We want someone to lean on, so if you do love us, then be ready to support us and stand up for us, too.

 If you’re our girl, then we’ll definitely do our best not to hurt you, but we’re not perfect, and we don’t always know what to do… 

Letter #13:

Please make sure your parents are okay with interracial relationships, because it will be hard for us (and YOU) if you have to choose us or your parents in the end.

 … Especially when it comes to our parents. But, not every Korean guy will pick his parents over you. BUT, we might, and we think other Korean guys might, too, because family is SO important to us. Our moms and dads really matter to us, and being a good son is really important to us, too. We like to think we’d do our best to make it work.

Letter #14:

We love your eyes. They’re charming.

We love your ass “curves.”

(Sorry, girls. Boys will be boys.)

Letter #15:

We are sexy, but we can be cute and do aegyo, too!^^

That’s also good to know.

Letter #16:

We don’t believe the stereotypes about how you aren’t good in bed or have a small penis; because, “it isn’t the size of the boat, it’s the motion of the ocean.”

Ugh… no comment? Just kidding. Honestly, some of us are good in bed, but some of us aren’t. If we like you, we’ll do our best, though!^^

Well, its over!

Or is it?

You probably still have a lot of questions and concerns, right? I mean, there’s always more to know about the opposite sex– still a mystery to me, so here’s your chance:

Ask Your Unni!

^^

Food For Thought

*Black Girls in Korea: Relationships, Beauty Tips, &More*

I always come across great blog posts that are definitely food for thought. So, here’s something to munch on while I put Black Girls: A Guide to Korean Boys together.

(My three Korean guy friends had a lot to say, and I have ANOTHER final this Friday, because two of my classes ended early…)

>.<

Most of these blog posts cross boundaries and build bridges between different people and different cultures, which I think is important if we want to see true equality in America, an equality based on equal opportunity where we are not judged and discriminated against based on our first language, skin color, or hair style.

My First Language

I went through a short period of time where I couldn’t write: I couldn’t write in English– my first language, but I couldn’t write in Korean– my (almost) second language, either. It was traumatic, and it was crazy; so, this blog post really hit home:

Born Again in a Second Language

My Question:

What’s your first language, and have you ever been “born again” in a second language or even third one?

My Skin Color

Black face happens, but how do we define it?

Dunkin’ Donuts apologizes for ‘bizarre and racist’ Thai advertising poster | The Raw Story

Was the ad really bizarre?

Yes.

Was it racist?

I don’t think so.

I don’t think American history belongs in Thailand, where black slavery never happened; but, Americans like to put everything American everywhere– even where it doesn’t belong.

Different countries that are NOT America CAN and WILL have different concepts of what is “black,” because they have a different history– a different culture– a different language.

My question:

Can black ever be just a color?

My Hair Style

I used to wear braids and cornrows when I was younger.

In Korea, people often asked to touch my hair wig. The same thing happened to my friend who wore her natural hair in London. We both never minded, but a lot of black girls get offended if you ask to touch their hair.

So, I love the way this blog post approaches that famous, scary question:

White Women, Black Hairstyles: Endia Beal’s “Can I Touch it?

My Question:

Why is hair so important?

Finally, I’d like to end this blog post with the most important food for thought, because we always save the best for last, right?

 Happiness

Now, the following blog post won’t actually tell you how to do any of what it says in the title, but it will tell you how to be happy:

How to Get Flat Abs, Have Amazing Sex and Rule the World in 8 Easy Steps

I’m happy, but happiness is fleeting, and I might be sad tomorrow when I wake up alone or maybe even on Friday after I’ve taken my final at 8 in the morning or had one too many drinks by 8 at night.

Happiness is a feeling– at worst, and a state of being– at best; and, I think it takes hard work, concentration, and what I call “remembering to forget” to BE happy.

(I have to remember to forget about the people who hurt me and the people who left me– even if in reality they are still by my side or right in front of me; because, those memories get in the way of my memories of the people who love me and the people who will always be with me.)

So, I’m happy.

My Question:

Are you?

<3

“Are you going to post ‘Black Girls: A Guide to Korean Boys’ soon?”

*Black Girls in Korea: Relationships, Beauty Tips, &More*

I’m sharing this Q & A from my tumblr blog, because I like to keep you girls updated as much as I can!

Soon?

Yes, after I explain what sex, dating, and marriage in Korea are REALLY like.

However, it probably won’t be what anyone is expecting! So far, I’ve been talking to my oppas. To them, we are just “non-Korean” girls. This means that they don’t have any specific advice for us as “black” girls.

(For example, like other non-Korean girls, we should learn Korean and learn about Korean culture, too.)

So, what’s the best way to write the guide and have it be for US?

My oppas are “writing back” to ALL of the letters we wrote.

For example, we said:

“So, please don’t try to lump us all into one category, especially if your entire knowledge of us is based on music videos.”

My oppas said the same thing, but:

“… based on Korean dramas or Korean idols.”

I hope that makes sense and seems like a good idea, because I REALLY want to keep these “guides” personal and real, not shallow or superficial.

In addition, I would like to add the following:

It would be impossible for me to write an actual guide to black girls OR an actual guide to Korean boys, complete with rules and “How To’s.” When it comes to relationships, I don’t believe in rules, and it’s up to YOU to figure out how to make your relationship with the person you love work.

As you can see, what I’ve done with these guides is to start– and now continue, the conversation between black girls and Korean boys.

I hope this conversation is informative, inspiring, and encouraging, because too many people are afraid of crossing language, cultural, and physical barriers when there is really nothing to fear but the failure to even try.

So, stay tuned, because Black Girls: A Guide to Korean Boys is coming soon!

The Self-Confidence Campaign

*Black Girls in Korea: Relationships, Beauty Tips, &More*

I am not my size.

I am not my skin color.

I am not the number of sex partners I’ve had.

But, why is that all anyone cares about– just because I’m a girl, a woman?

I’m a student. I’m a writer. I’m a person; and, I have the right to be different. I have the right to be ME, a me that I– not society or the media, define.

I don’t want to be my size. I don’t want to be my skin color. I don’t want to be the number of sex partners I’ve had.

True love begins with self-love, and if you want to find self-love and true love then you need self-confidence, something I’m slowly realizing that so many girls and women do NOT have.

What’s wrong with YOU?

Nothing.

But, I can tell that our society and our media have done something terrible to the minds of girls and women, because we all think that there IS something wrong with us.

We’re not pretty enough.

We don’t want to be smart. We don’t want to change the world. We just want to be pretty, even if that means changing who we are– and drastically.

Wake up.

Think for yourself.

Don’t believe what you’ve seen and heard in society and the media about what’s considered beautiful.

As girls and women, we are so much more than pretty objects, and we are so much more than sex objects. And, there are boys and men who will see that and love you for who you are, so stop trying to change yourself– and stop judging yourself based on your size, your skin color, and the number of sex partners you’ve had.

You’re not “fat,” you’re not “undesirable,” and you’re not “a slut.”

These are words that we need to stop using.

You’re someone special, and if you can’t see that, then no one else will.

Because,

You are not your size.

You are not your skin color.

You are not the number of sex partners you’ve had.

<3

Korean Boys: A Guide to Black Girls

*Black Girls in Korea: Relationships, Beauty Tips, &More*

Korean boys…

Here?!

Yes.

The SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tools on WordPress show the following search terms that have brought visitors to my blog:

(Please excuse the bad grammar– it’s definitely not mine.)

“i’m a corean boy”

“meeting african girls in seoul”

“are black girls into korean guys?”

“i like black girls and i’m from korea”

“do american girls like korean guys?”

“im korean and i want a african american girl”

I was just as shocked as you might be, although I wasn’t surprised. After all, Korean boys are probably just as confused about us as we are about them; and, when confused, don’t we all go to Google?

So, Korean boys,  here is your Guide to Black Girls. 

I received so many submissions that addressed what we as black girls want YOU to know about us, and I thought about how to put them all together for a LONG time.  Finally, I decided to write this guide as our “hand-written” letters to you.  In it, you will get to find out about us as we separate the fact from the fiction and talk about everything from our fears to our futures to some of our favorite and least favorite things. 

Letter #1:

We don’t only date within our race. So, if you like us, then don’t be afraid to ask us out. True love is color blind.

Letter #2:

We are open-minded and diverse. A lot of us find different races just as attractive as our own; and, sometimes, maybe even more attractive than our own! We actually are attracted to you, too, but sometimes we have no clue what to say to you, which probably goes both ways.

Letter #3:

We can be approached the same way other girls can– with varying results.

If you do work up the courage to talk to one of us, then just because she happens to reject you or be rude to you doesn’t mean that we all will.  And, if you do approach us, be genuine.

A black girl is not your 장난감. A black girl is not your one-nightstand. A black girl is not your fantasy.

Letter #4:

Don’t make assumptions about us or our culture. We probably have a lot more in common than you might think! Some of us even speak Korean, and a lot of us are willing to learn.

Letter #5:

You do not have to act like a Korean version of Lil’ Wayne to impress us– just be yourself, and don’t assume we won’t like you for who you are!

So, don’t be afraid to make the first move: Give us a compliment, flirt. We are just girls before we are black girls. So treat us that way– as girls, as people. Don’t only see the color of our skin, but do be careful when you talk about or touch our hair… >.<

Letter #6:

There are quite a few of us who are nothing like the media portrays us– I mean, we are the complete opposite, in fact.

Letter #7:

For example, we don’t want your money, and we won’t get pregnant just to get it. My ex-boyfriend’s mom always thought I just wanted him for his money, since “black people are so poor.” This is also just another false stereotype.

Letter #8:

Basically, many of us do not fall into that stereotypical “ghetto lifestyle.” We don’t all “talk ghetto”, live in the hood, and want a “gangster boy.”

Letter #9:

But, we don’t all look like Beyoncé or Halle Berry, either…

Letter #10:

We are all different.

Not all of us are loud. Some of us are quiet. Some of us have short tempers, but some of us don’t. So, take the time to find out about us on an individual basis. How?  Just say, “Hi.” I mean that’s a good start, right?

Letter #11:

So, please don’t try to lump us all into one category, especially if your entire knowledge of us is based on music videos.

Letter #12:

Be confident and willing to talk to us and to get to know us. We want to know that you genuinely care about us and that you are willing to embrace us, including our culture and the struggles that go along with it.

Even though we are known for being strong, independent, and opinionated, we want to be loved, treasured, and respected like everyone else. We want someone to lean on, so if you do love us, then be ready to support us and stand up for us, too.

Letter #13:

Please make sure your parents are okay with interracial relationships, because it will be hard for us (and YOU) if you have to choose us or your parents in the end.

Letter #14:

We love your eyes. They’re charming.

Letter #15:

We are sexy, but we can be cute and do aegyo, too!^^

Letter #16:

We don’t believe the stereotypes about how you aren’t good in bed or have a small penis; because, “it isn’t the size of the boat, it’s the motion of the ocean.”

The Last Letter, MY Letter:

I hope that this guide and these “letters” from black girls to Korean boys starts the process of building better relationships between black girls and Korean boys. But, this isn’t just a guide for Korean boys. It’s a guide for the world, which is often too judgmental of black girls– of black people– of Korean people– of people.

Finally, if you’re not afraid to stand up for yourself in this world even if you are different and if you’re not afraid to open your mind and heart to someone else in this world even if they are different from you, then thank-you.

It means you’re a part of the change that I wish to see in the world.

And, stay tuned for Black Girls: A Guide to Korean Boys!

P.S.: I really couldn’t have written this guide without the help of the Korean boys who first stumbled across my blog and the black girls who then gave me their sincere thoughts, words, and hearts as we tried to help them the same way we’ve been helping each other.

Thank you!

^^

The “Black Girl in Korea” Beauty Tutorial

*Black Girls in Korea: Relationships, Beauty Tips, &More*

You might have come here looking for tips to lighten your skin or lose weight. Well, I suggest you leave now, because that’s not what this beauty tutorial is about. Still here? Grab a drink and a snack– it’s going to be a long one.

Why?

Well, I’m going to answer the following question:

Is “black” beautiful in Korea?

Black is beautiful~

Black is beautiful!~

True Beauty

Riding on the plane to Korea, I– a size two, felt like a giant as I sat next to the very tiny Korean girl who had been lucky enough to get the window seat. Her legs were the size of my arms, and when I finally landed in Korea, I– at 5 feet 5 inches, was taller and bigger than almost everyone else.

At that time, I had long, black hair and dark(er) skin. I speak Korean, so I knew when people were staring at me AND talking about me, which was ALL THE TIME.

What did I do?

I stared right back, and sometimes, I smiled and struck up a conversation. Once, I was even in a staring match with an ahjusshi for at least two minutes as he walked past me, turned around, and then stopped to stare at me. Neither of us cracked a smile, but was I bothered?

No.

I am confident and comfortable in my skin, but more than that, I know that I might be the FIRST black girl that many people in Korea had ever seen– at least in person. Furthermore, staring and even talking about someone right in front of them is something that is not considered rude in Korea. Korean people are very close to one another while also being distant with one another, so they are also very straightforward, like family. They will tell strangers, including you, what’s on their mind be it with a look, a gesture, or a word.

So, how did I feel in Korea with the hard, long stares, the loud “whispers,” and the noticeable differences between me and everyone else?

I felt beautiful, because I was accepted.

People were kind, helpful, and genuinely interested in me– they wanted to know why I was in Korea, what I liked about Korea, whether or not I would ever marry a Korean man. Because, what began with a stare would often turn into a smile and a conversation once I realized that people were staring at me because they were curious, interested.  While in Korea, I had so many conversations with Koreans that broke down the barriers between us and made me open up to the people that I met on streets, in stores, in taxis, at clubs, and at school.

Life Lesson 1: When we are confident and comfortable in our own skin that is when people truly see us as beautiful– not a shallow, superficial beauty, but one that radiates from the inside and makes someone’s day brighter and better with eye-contact and a genuine smile.

Life Lesson 2: As women, we should focus more on our inner beauty– our passions, our dreams, our sisterhood and motherhood, being at the same time more supportive of one another and less judgmental of our own “flaws,” flaws that oftentimes, only we are aware of.

However, outer beauty matters, and it matters a lot more than any of us want it to, both to ourselves and to others. I have spent as much time as anyone else struggling to feel beautiful, and it took a lot of time and a little change before I could look in the mirror and be happy with what I saw– because, I wanted people to see me, not my flaws.

Give yourself the time and the change you need, too, but be honest with yourself.

Who is the time and change for?

It better be for yourself, not someone else.

Your Beauty

In Korea, less is more: Less make-up, less skin, but more style, more superficiality.

Image is everything, so make your image more glamorous, more stylish.

Be fashionable.

Wear your natural hair, keep your curves, and cherish your own, individual beauty– which I know can be hard to do when you are surrounded by people who, for the most part, look and dress the same and a media that definitely idealizes pale, white skin and S-lines.

But, just be fashionable.

Asians, especially Koreans, are obsessed with fashion and style. If you are dressed to perfection– no matter what size, then the way people respond to you will change. I know, because I experienced it. So, leave the low cut shirts and sweats at home– don’t even think about bringing them to Korea.

And, if it’s boys over flowers, then it’s also heels over flip-flops.

So, style, fashion, clothes, and of course…

size, Size, and SIZE.

In Korea, the average size that women wear is a two, which is the size that the “one size fits all” clothing comes in. I saw the occasional Korean who was probably a six or eight, but that was rare.

What does this mean for you?

Not much, except that if you are an L or XL you might have a hard time finding clothing in your size. Just go to Dongdaemun, Myungdong, or Itaewon in Korea, OR shop at ASOS online. They have the BEST clothes that flatter every body type from petite to average to plus.

However, if you do want to lose weight, then here’s how you can lose weight while still having a balanced, healthy diet: Special K and milk for breakfast and dinner and bananas, hard boiled eggs, and V8 fruit and veggie drinks in between as snacks throughout the day. Nevertheless, I don’t suggest making any drastic changes to your body before going to Korea, but if you just want to reach your own ideal– not Korea’s, then give it a try!

More than being an outward manifestation, beauty is a mentality; and, if you are tall, dark, and curvy, then you will need to have a strong mind and a strong sense of true beauty and your own in order to survive and thrive in Korea.

(After all, I don’t want anyone to have the experiences THIS girl had; and, if you haven’t yet, read the comments. They are AMAZING.)

Beauty: The Tips and The Tricks

Along with being confident and comfortable in your skin, here’s how you should take care of it and everything else while in Korea to look and feel your best.

First, I strongly suggest buying your beauty products in America and bringing enough of them with you. I can’t tell you where to go to find our beauty products in Korea, but if you are close to it, then Itaewon is a good start.

Eyes

I LOVE circle lenses, and I suggest you try them, too! Check out GEO circle lenses, and get them in your prescription if needed.

Nails

I swear by these nails and couldn’t live without them, because I am too OCD for chips and too low maintenance for nail salons.

(But, my sister just curses them, because they always fall off. She’s doing something wrong.)

These are stick-on nails, and they are amazing. Place them close to the cuticle for a natural look.  It’s not about pressing down hard, but about having a clean nail, so wipe your nails with alcohol or nail polish remover before starting to stick ‘em on.

Skin

If you’re not already using BB Cream because you either don’t know about it or can’t find it in your skin color, then try Kiss New York Aqua BB Cream. It was made for our skin.

It’s a rich cream with lots of color and coverage, but none of that oily residue that most make-ups leave behind. It’s also made in Korea, which matters, and it’s inexpensive. You also get a lot, so try it out along with a cream to powder from the same brand for a flawless finish.

(I have terrible skin with lots of blemishes, and these two together cover everything up!)

Hair

I prefer to wear lace front wigs, but feel free to do your hair however you like. Koreans actually expect you to have your natural hair, and they were always surprised and curious about my “straight and silky” hair. I think they would love the long, rope braids that a lot of black girls wear now, too.

As for me, I wear a 22″ “yaki straight” lace front wig with a silk top in color #4. I love the texture, it looks much more natural. I wear wigs because I like to be as low maintenance as possible. I also like having long hair, which I could never really have in this lifetime. It suits my face more than short hair.

So, if you are interested in lace front wigs and other hair tricks, then check out the hair stuff here.

Body

We talked about diets, but there is also shape-wear if you just want to have a smoother line underneath the tight clothing that we all love to wear.

But, my favorite body trick is this one: Going two cups up– without surgery.

Girls always hesitate to try this, because, well, what will a guy think when he finds out?

Who cares. He shouldn’t be with you for your boob size, anyway. I know I’ve always wanted bigger boobs to get the S-line that I want.

So, check out these ultra cheap, durable, comfortable, and natural looking bras that do more than “push-up.” I found them at Target years ago for $16.00, so be sure to check out your local Target before you buy them online. Trying them on in the store first is also a good idea, because they WILL make your boobs BIGGER.

Putting Your Beauty to Good Use

Well, what’s all the fuss about beauty for?

Ourselves?

No, not really: Boys– or men, if you believe that men aren’t just bigger, older boys with better, more expensive toys.

I think if you want to go on dates in Korea, then you don’t have to do anything except dress up, look good, and notice when men are looking at you in a good way. I think most girls are terrible at doing this: Its about your walk and posture, his prolonged glance, then you smile, and he smiles back. Conversation (hopefully in English) ensues.

So, look around and pay attention to people. Don’t just speed walk through streets or stand on the subway feeling different and awkward. Go out by yourself. Slow down, look around, and remember to smile at strangers– even if they’re giving you that hard, long stare.

(For more on beauty in Korea, be sure to check out Shocking Life – Beauty, a gritty, stunning, and shocking documentary series on DramaFever.)

If you really want to feel beautiful in Korea, don’t pay attention to what Koreans think. You are not Korean. Don’t hold yourself to their standards. Stick to your own, and stay true to who you are.

Because, beauty is relative, beauty is subjective, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, which means someone, somewhere– even in Korea, thinks you’re beautiful just the way you are.

Korean Boys and Black Girls, Part 2: Its Not That Complicated (Or Is It?)

*Black Girls in Korea: Relationships, Beauty Tips, &More*

My oppa D and I go out every Wednesday, which is also known as “hump” day. We do this to celebrate the middle of the work week and being just that much closer to the weekend. D is actually the reason I started blogging. I’ve known him for at least five years, and he always comes to me for advice about relationships, work, and life. He really believes in me, and he has always wanted me to share my stories and positivity with everyone else. So, here I am now doing just that!

Last Wednesday we talked about Korean boys and black girls. He likes black girls and is recently single. There is this one black girl that he really likes, and he will start talking to her again when she gets back from London.

Relationships between Korean boys and black girls– its not that complicated. We’re just like everyone else– we want to find someone special, date, and fall in love. What could be complicated about that?

Well, you’re about to find out!

On Wednesday D reminded me how complicated it is by asking me,

“How many black girls do you know that have dated Korean boys?”

I couldn’t think of anyone except for the couples that I have seen on the internet, which he said don’t count since you can find anything on the internet these days! Then, we got to talking about how Korean boys and black girls have a lot of barriers between them, which is exactly what makes things complicated.

Looking back, though, my relationship with my ex (and only) boyfriend H.J.H. wasn’t that complicated, because we really loved each other. However, now I can see the barriers that we had to overcome before and after we fell in love.

So, in this post I’ll talk about the barriers that stood between us, which might help you see which ones are standing in your way.

You are Your Biggest Barrier

I’ve noticed that a lot of black girls don’t think Korean boys will like them. You should never assume anything about anyone, so make sure you have the confidence and courage to find out the truth.

1. ASK.

Remember Shin, the gu boy who asked me if I liked Asian boys when we first met?

Okay, you ask, and he says yes, but so what if he says no! At least you won’t be wasting your time, and who knows– he might change his mind later if he gets to know you.

2. If you’re too shy to ask, then make yourself AVAILABLE.

Make eye contact, smile, and just do things that will make yourself available. Boys are really sensitive to our body language, so make sure to express your interest (without throwing yourself at or on top of him, of course, although this method does have its time and place.)

Two Languages, One Love

I was just starting to REALLY learn Korean when I met H.J.H. I had been studying Korean on my own for awhile because of my Korean friends, but I was finally in a Korean class. I think I was the only person in my class who actually learned Korean, because I got to practice listening and speaking with H.J.H., who by the way, didn’t speak a lot of English.

It was strange, but from the moment we met we just had a connection. He knew a little English. I knew a little Korean. It was enough for us, and we talked about everything. He was my best friend. He was my lover. He was my boyfriend. He was my everything…

Two languages, one love!

So, language wasn’t a problem for us, and it even kept us from having long, drawn out fights, because there were some things we just couldn’t say to each other, and by the time we had it all figured out we had already forgiven each other and moved on. This might work for other couples, I’m not sure. It depends on your personalities. I could see this totally backfiring, though– after not saying anything, suddenly one day, it ALL comes out.

In the end, I think you should at least learn to speak a little Korean– that should really just be your starting point, though. Your goal should be to understand his culture, which will shape his thoughts, actions, and even feelings. The best way to understand Korean culture is by understanding the Korean language, which is inherently reflective of the culture.

But, for us, finding our own way to communicate was a lot of fun. The language barrier just made us listen that much harder to each other, grow that much closer to each other.

Bow, Use Two Hands, and Respect Your Elders

Learning how to bow and use two hands when necessary is pretty easy. In fact, many Koreans don’t expect you to, and they will tell you not to once you get closer with them unless they are a lot older. But, Koreans really take respecting your elders to a whole ‘nother level!

(I thought Nigerian culture was the highest level, but then Korean culture came along.)

I have to tell you girls about hyungs, or “big brothers.” If a hyung tell someone younger (a dongsaeng) to do something, then the dongsaeng has to do it.

This was a problem if not barrier for my ex and I…

Why?

Well, I didn’t like my ex’s hyung. He was always hitting on me behind my ex’s back. So, I told my ex not to hang out with him. He listened to me– he always did, and he ended up lying to his hyung one night in particular. He told his hyung that he was at home, but really he was out with me. We were at the club when my ex went to the bar and came back furious. He had run into his hyung, who punched him in the face as soon as he saw him.

My ex comes from the older generation, but this is still common among Korean boys:

시키는  대로 해!

(It means, “Do as you’re told!”)

Thankfully, my ex didn’t mind hanging out with me and my friends, so we always had a good time together. And, thankfully, he listened to me and not his hyung, who was always calling him even when we were in the middle of a date.

I’ve run into this situation even in Korea, so my only advice to handle hyungs is this:

You’re not Korean, you don’t have to play by their rules.

His Mom Might Hate You

Honestly, its easy to get over what strangers might think or have to say about seeing a Korean boy and a black girl together. Like, IDGAF! But, its not easy to get over what his family, especially his mom, might think or have to say about seeing you– a black girl, with her son.

D ended up breaking up with his girlfriend because his mom hated her. She was half-white, half-Japanese, but she ALSO had a terrible personality and was extremely rude to his family when she met them. After that, she was seen on Facebook by his sister dancing realll dirty with another guy, so lets just say she put the nails in her own coffin.

They dated for two years, so she had plenty of time to impress his mom, and don’t think that you won’t have to work hard, too. But, I hope if your relationship gets that far you’re ready for whatever comes your way!

Long D

The biggest barrier that came between H- and I was physical– he went back to Korea. We tried to have a long D (long distance relationship), but it just didn’t work out. We never said the words, but we broke up.

Long D has been a recurring theme in my life, but I hope if you meet a Korean boy he stays in the same city, state, and country. Trust me, I’ve been through it all– Y went to Colorado, oppa is going to Minnesota, and of course, my baby J (who I haven’t mentioned yet but will) is in Korea.

The barriers between Korean boys and black girls CAN be broken by love, but it needs to be a strong love or you will both collapse under the weight of those barriers– those burdens.

So, most of all, you need to support each other, because sometimes, you just have to follow your heart.

Now, if you are too comfortable sitting in front of your computer screen and searching for the perfect answer to all of your problems, then please– get a little more uncomfortable. Live your life, wherever it takes you, and just remember that you can always get back up after falling down.

So, what are you waiting for? Go out and change the world– I mean, challenge the standards that the world and other people have set for you.

(You can change the world later.)

^^

Korean Boys and Black Girls, Part 1: Three Questions That Need To Be Answered

*Black Girls in Korea: Relationships, Beauty Tips, &More*

These days, boys from South Korea are really popular, but back in 2008 they were just boys at my university to me, and the horror stories on the internet that almost scared me away from them haven’t changed.

(But, I wasn’t scared away, because in the end who could have resisted THIS).

Jaejoong in 2008 when DBSK was still together~

Jaejoong in 2008 when DBSK was still together~

Back then, I had Statistics with a Korean boy– the third Korean boy I had ever met in my entire life, and no, he didn’t look like Jaejoong, but we happened to go to the same party. I went and said hi to him first, and we ended up drinking and dancing together. We became Facebook friends and talked often, but later, somehow I was deleted from his Facebook. I thought it was him, but he apologized and explained what happened as soon as he found out that his friends had done it as a joke.

Suddenly, I was aware of our differences, and I had to ask myself these three questions:

“Are Koreans racist?”

“Do Korean boys like black girls?”

“Can I meet and date a nice Korean boy?”

Since then, I have found the answers to the questions I had; and, I want to share my answers with you, because they just might give you the courage you need to follow your heart.

Koreans are Probably Not as Racist as You Think They Are

Koreans are still very xenophobic, which is characterized by an irrational fear of that which is perceived as foreign or strange. Meaning, they’re just not used to seeing and might not like foreigners, especially black foreigners.

For example, Koreans often stare at black foreigners.

When I went to Korea, I literally got goosebumps because I realized everyone around was watching me as I walked down a street in Apgujeong with my friend.

The Korean Stare~

The Korean Stare~

But, don’t take the Korean stare the wrong way. Sometimes, they are staring out of genuine curiosity. If you smile, they might even smile back. Even if they do say or do something rude or disrespectful to you, be polite and respectful to them. Not everyone will be willing to accept you for who you are, but you should be willing to try to change their minds by making a good first and last impression.

Tip: If you speak a little or a lot of Korean and show that you are familiar with their culture, Koreans tend be very warm and welcoming.

Korean Boys Like (Some) Black Girls

Koreans tend to have one standard of beauty for both men and women.

Their ideal women tend to be pale and thin, with big eyes, a small nose, and an oval, or “V” shaped jaw line. They also idealize long, straight hair, although the ocean wave is also a hot trend in Korea.

Lee Da Hae~

Lee Da Hae~

Koreans find pale skin tones cute and innocent and tanned skin tones sexy.

So, Beyonce is the perfect example of a black woman who is popular with Korean men, because she is tanned and has a “glamorous,” curvy body. Many idols like Hyosung, Hyomin, and Ailee are known as “The Korean Beyonce.”

Beyonce~

Beyonce~

However, Naomi Campbell is also very popular in Korea, and they call her Victoria Secret’s “Shining Black Pearl.”

Naomi Campbell~

Naomi Campbell~

Korean boys and men also appreciate stylish women, as well as women of all sizes; although, there does seem to be a general preference for smaller, skinnier girls and women.

American girls and women can sometimes fall behind the rest of the world when it comes to fashion, so I suggest looking your absolute best at least– no matter what size you are, which will definitely turn heads and land smiles. You might even get a few compliments, which is always a great way to start a conversation.

(This might seem shallow, but Koreans are very concerned with first impressions and image.)

Tip: Special K can help you drop inches off your waist and thighs within weeks. Circle lenses are also a fun beauty trick that make your eyes look bigger.

Meeting and Dating a Nice Korean Boy: Don’t Break The Three Golden Rules!

The Three Golden Rules:

1. Learn to speak Korean– even a little.

2. Don’t meet Korean boys or men in clubs.

(But, I did meet my ex-boyfriend at a club in America. However, he was definitely the ONE exception to this rule– for the most part, Korean boys and men that you meet in clubs want ONE thing: Sex!)

3. Never sleep with a Korean boy or man that you just met.

A "Love" Motel~

A “Love” Motel~

(Especially if you met him at a club!)

Most girls ignore the importance of the first rule and break the second and third rule.

Korean boys or men might try to sleep with you very quickly because they think foreign girls and women, especially American girls and women, are open about having sex. However, they will probably lose interest in you if you sleep with them too soon, especially if you don’t actually speak the same language and don’t or either can’t find out whether or not you actually have anything in common.

So, you should either talk about what you want from each other upfront or just wait until you get to know each other before having sex.

(I think this goes for any relationship with anyone, though!)

Tip: When you meet Korean boys or men, they probably won’t know anything about you except for what they have seen on TV. So, work hard to help them get to know you and be patient with their questions about your skin or hair.

These answers aren’t good or bad, and you might have different ones based on your own experiences.

However, keep an open mind and an open heart, and someone special– Korean or not, will feel your sincerity and genuinely welcome you, help you, and grow to understand and even love you.

Finally, be sure to check out Korean Boys (and Me) and Korean Boys and Black Girls, Part 2: Its Not That Complicated (Or Is It?). In the first post, I’ll talk more about my relationships with Korean boys, including my best friend from college and my ex-boyfriend. In the second post, I’ll talk more about my relationship with my ex-boyfriend and offer some advice on how to overcome the language, cultural, and even physical barriers that come with being in an interracial relationship.

^^