It is well-known that celebrities have an influence on plastic surgery as some of their fans often uses photos of their favorite stars as inspiration for the look they want to achieve. They want to have procedures like a Brazilian butt lift (BBL) or rhinoplasty to achieve the same look as their favorite celebrity. While the number of changes to the appearance of the fans of celebrities varies per person, there is one cosmetic surgery makeover that is making headlines around the world. The story involves a British influencer and his attempts to look a member of the K-pop group, BTS.
Oli London, a British influencer, is gaining fame across the globe for having multiple cosmetic surgery procedures to look like Park Ji-min, a vocalist with the K-pop group, BTS. In addition to having the multiple treatments, Oil London, who uses “they” and “them” pronouns is being criticized for saying they identify as Korean. In addition, London also tweeted a photo of the South Korean flag that was altered to show it covered in the colors of the rainbow.
Oli London has thousands of followers on both YouTube and TikTok and has released songs such as “Christmas in Korea” and Plastic is Fantastic”. London is also well-known among fan of South Korean entertainment for publicizing their various cosmetic surgeries.
London recently made an announcement they “identify as Korean” following plastic surgery procedures to look like Park Ji-min. The reaction to this announcement, along with the alteration of the South Korean flag, caused a backlash as many people say London was being disrespectful towards both Korean culture as well as the identity of the Korean population.
London first came to prominence through appearances on reality TV shows and interviews discussing their various plastic surgery procedures. In a 2019 interview with Barcroft TV, London said, “I’m not actually changing my race. I have deep respect for Korean culture. It’s cultural appreciation, not cultural appropriation.”
London was also featured on Dr. Phil’s TV show in 2020. According to the segment, London has undergone fifteen surgeries over the past six years (as of 2020) in their attempt to look like the BTS singer. In the pursuit of this goal, London has spent over $150,000 over the years.
In one interview, London claimed “If you look at the pictures of me and Ji-min, we’re identical. When I was in Korea everyone calls me Ji-min. I’m walking down the street. Everyone, they think I’m Ji-min.”
In addition to their attempt to look like Ji-min, London also told a newspaper in 2020 that they had married a cardboard cutout of Park in Las Vegas.
In May of this year, London also got the attention of the press when it was discovered that their Instagram account had been labeled as “memorialized” which usually means that the account owner passed away. It was later reported that London had not died so a regular status was restored to the account.
While some people were under the impression that London was behind the story that they had died, it was later reported London thought the account was hacked and was upset by the incident.
In June of this year, London tweeted the image of the South Korean flag featuring the colors of the rainbow. They said the rainbow flag was their “new official flag for being a non-binary person who identifies as Korean”. London also added they used “they and them” pronouns along with “kor/ean” neopronouns.
(FYI: The New York Times says neopronouns can be a word created to serve as a pronoun without having to express gender, like “zir” and “ze” or a “noun-self pronoun” where a word that already exists is put into use as a pronoun.)
The announcement that London identifies as Korean drew a swift, negative response online. One person wrote the announcement by London “effectively trivializes our identities because they’re suddenly ‘trendy’”.
In addition, the image of the South Korean flags with rainbow colors was criticized as insulting the meaning of the flag as well as being offensive to Korean culture. The Republic of Korea’s Ministry of the Interior and Safety said the flag has deep cultural meaning that is represented by both the colors and the symbols on the flag.
In a video on YouTube, London claimed the flag they posted was “the official flag that all of the LGBT organizations the people of Korea use”. They also made a statement clarifying “Yes I identify as Korean. Yes I’m non-binary. Yes I look like Jimin. But none of this should be a reason to outcast me from society, to dehumanize me and shame me for being who I am, a non-binary Korean person.”
London’s manager says London is “strongly attached to Korea and the Korean culture and feels much more connected to this than his own culture.”