Celebrity News
Lee Da-hae’s old pageant photos
by | May 22, 2009 | 251 Comments

Lee Da-hae, in 2001 and more recently

Lee Da-hae (East of Eden, Hello Miss) has been attracting some attention for recently discovered photos of her earlier days, given how different they look from her current appearance.

These photos capture Lee Da-hae from a “Miss Chun-hyang” beauty pageant she had won back in 2001. The images were shown when actress Jang Shin-young appeared on the KBS variety show Happy Together on the 21st, and was asked about her participation in the Miss Chun-hyang pageant. She explained that she had come in sixth, but that in the same competition, Lee Da-hae had won first place.

Although Jang looks pretty much the same, many fans are wondering at the noted change to Lee Da-hae’s appearance, leading to inevitable plastic-surgery suspicions.


Jang Shin-young, in 2001 and in 2009

A couple more of Lee Da-hae:

Meanwhile, Lee Da-hae is newly repped by J Tune Entertainment, and will be joining its CEO Rain on the runway as she walks for his line’s 2009 Fall-Winter collection. They’ll both model items from Rain’s own clothing brand, Six to Five, at a June 6 show in Hong Kong.

Via Asia Economy, Good Day Sports


251 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. eevee

    i think its just her eyes. but then again, im losing my faith in korea’s version of “beauty” anyway, so i can be oh so totally wrong. i think only korean girls can tell the real difference cuz plastic surgery is oh so common in their own country. not meaning to be racists or anything but i can never tell who got surgery or not unless its like drastic in ur face, but all my korean friends can.

    • 1.1 Anonymous

      notice her nose is a little bit thinner with the latter..

    • 1.2 Anonymous

      she’s nothing but a fake!

      • 1.2.1 cassandra

        AMEN……Why change what GOD gave you if you are confident but I guess they have to earn money so they can have more plastic surgery that’s why they are called PLASTIC..nothings real anymore. She looked good then and now she doesn’t look Korean anymore… MEaning how can she proud to say she is Korean if she did not like her original korean face.

      • 1.2.2 sophia

        OMG, WHO EFFING CARES?! honestly!
        where is the correlation between someones outward appearance and talent?! lets be real!

        so what if she got a nose job? or this surgery, or that surgery?.. we can only guess, but how do we know she didnt just change up her diet and exercise, or lifestyle for her career?! i would think a person in her position under the eyes of millions, would be under that pressure of making a change whether it be positive or negative.

        these are the decisions she is making whether by choice or not, for personal reasons or part of the industry, or both! and we would never know exactly!!

        everyone needs to stop judging and being soooo hung up on a person’s appearance, be it friend or celebrity, to define who the person is because.. yes i know as cliche as it is, “beauty is on the inside”. learn to differentiate looks from character. i love her and think of her as a wonderful actress among many others.

    • 1.3 MayCee

      I totally agree with you. I think that plastic surgery helps them feel pretty, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it hurts them in many ways. Thus natural beauty can’t compete, and becomes underrated, which is sad.

    • 1.4 idk

      i totally agree

  2. hbhjjb

    her eyes seem bigger now, and her face looks smaller…
    but maybe she just lost some weight and all that makeup? o_O

  3. Miki

    I can still see her in that face… I was trying to see what was different. But I couldn’t detect anything that looked like a surgery procedure… Her cheekbones and jaw seems more pronounced, her face smaller… I think it’s just makeup and weight loss.

  4. krngrl

    she totally got her eyes done and jaw shaved. maybe also forehead, but not too sure on that hmm….

  5. kimchii

    I think she just took better care of herself..
    Like she became more healthier or in shape.
    Lost weight probably. And the makeup helps too.
    I don’t know. I think the limelight does that to you.
    And her eyebrows now are way better.

  6. fizzle

    This is my first time seeing pictures of Lee Da Hae’s past, although I had heard before that she wasn’t natural. I’m guessing she’s going to lose some supporters/gain more antis because of this, which sucks because I think she’s so talented and very deserving of her large fanbase.

  7. gaga


  8. Stella

    Nose job for sure. But it is a great nose job

  9. babycakes

    Well, you guys have to understand the quality of photo’s before and now. The way how she wear make up now is far better than before. I don’t think she had a shaved jaw or something, she just lost weight. The eyes are the only one that isn’t similar to old photos.

  10. 10 Philippa

    that does not look like her AT ALL!

    • 10.1 Ex-fan


  11. 11 browneyed

    wth! she won the pageant looking like that?! o.0
    she looks like she’s over 30 in her pageant pictures.
    if you didn’t tell me, i would have guessed that her old pageant pictures were of someone else, maybe someone related to LDH but i would have never guessed it was the same person!
    I definitely sense that she had something done but i can’t put my hands on it!!!

  12. 12 Anonymous

    LMFAOOO when i first saw the pictures I was like is that her mom or something
    ohh she is really young and then I read the title my eyes went o__O!!!!!
    Omg and just when I thought she is a natural!!!!

  13. 13 deeta

    Oh, wow! Now this is a punch in the stomach. I vividly remember Lee Da Hae stating in an interview that she didn’t have any surgeries. What to believe, hmm?

    I think the most different features would be the eyes and the nose. Other than that, they don’t look much different.

  14. 14 sophia

    yeah, i don’t think it was major surgery. obviously, she got double-eyelid surgery, but who doesn’t these days in korea? lol and i think it’s the difference of make-up and fitness.

  15. 15 lei

    #11 — i was thinking the same thing, how the heck do you win a pageant looking like that.

    jang shin young’s pageant pics were pretty

  16. 16 anon

    wow… umm… she got a reduction on her face…and her eyes…she got them enlarged and then she got double eyelid surgery. and her nose. *sigh*

  17. 17 Samsooki

    I’ve never had plastic surgery. But if you look at photos of me over the past 8 years, I think it is safe to say that I look way different. Face shape and hair, even eyes and eye brows look different. Of course, people are way more likely to believe me since I’m not an actor/actress, but it is possible for people to look differently after 8 years, no?

  18. 18 kazubaby

    she obviously got ssangapul + raised her nose bridge
    can’t tell if her jawline is different due to weight loss or jaw shave
    but wow she looks sooo different
    I LIKED HER BEFORE!!! she looked so beautifully /classically Korean!!
    WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THAT?? WHy can’t Koreans like Korean features??? I know that plastic surgery is a personal choice, yaddy yaddy yadda but YOU KNOW WHAT? It really affects so many girls’ self esteem.
    [Ok this is going to be rather long. Apologies. Here I go]
    Personally, I’m very proud of my eyes even though I don’t have ssangapul. It’s actually very similar to lee da hae’s pre-surgery eyes (like a half-way ssangapul) and it’s really easy for me to make ssangapul if I want and I’m sure surgery would be really simple, too.
    When I was younger, i used to wear the tape/glue (middle school) because people would always tell me “oh you ALMOST have ssangapul” “maybe in a few years it will grow in” “you look so pretty with ssangapul” and other similar comments, like i was MEANT to have ssangapul, and it really made me believe my eyes were not “right.” Thankfully I grew out of that rather quickly.
    The inundation of korean stars who have fixed their faces to Westernize them is one of the worst insults to our Korean heritage and beauty.
    To all you people who say surgery only affects the one person and is why it’s totally fine, let me ask you this: Do you really want to carry on these twisted beauty standards to your children/ future generations? Our genes do not naturally produce Western looking children. That means a horrific cycle of millions of kids in the future always wanting to have plastic surgery to alter their natural selves. Millions of kids who grow up believe true beauty is something most of them can never achieve without going under the knife. Millions of kids who will look at pictures of old Koreans and say “ew, they were so ugly.” How effed up is that? White/black/latino/every other people can look at people from 100 years ago and still say “wow, they are so beautiful.” BUT NOT US. Because to us, they look like regular people who don’t have the means to white-ify themselves. Is that not disheartening?
    I’m sorry for ranting, but this really struck me deeper than I thought it would. I guess I always brushed the whole plastic infatuation aside as a nuisance but never really got to write down my specific fears and anger about it.

  19. 19 KOK

    If I looked at a pic of mine from 9 years ago and compared it to now then id look like a poster boy for surgery too, other than the eyes I don’t see any surgery done, and no nose job, her nose looks the same.

  20. 20 hmmm

    What exactly is a ssangapul?

  21. 21 breakdancer

    It’s so easy to jump to conclusions…why do people post these speculative articles that just serve to spread rumours? Until LDH comes out and says that she got plastic surgery, nobody KNOWS anything. All this gossip just tarnishes her image.

  22. 22 bluebunny

    OMG, by looking at the 1st pix I would not have thought that was Lee Da-Hae! I’ve always wonder if she had plastic surgery since I never seen any old pictures of her but this confirms it. I enjoy watching her play the cute/funny roles. Oh well, here’s another actresses to add the the list of plastic beauties!

  23. 23 mzpakipot

    i don’t see any changes in her, except she lost her baby chubby cheeks…and the make-up from before is different…

  24. 24 marcel

    lee da hae’s face shape looks the same, but i’m wondering how she magically grew a nose bridge & double eyelids 😛 definitely see the contrast between the classic, traditional look she had before & the new westernized, amped up version of her now…no biggie since she was as pretty before as she is after…plastic surgery is nothing new in the korean entertainment industry or korea for that matter…i really like her as an actress & she seems like a sweet lady…but to come out & say she’s all natural to the public when it’s obvious she had a little somethin somethin done…hmmm…hehe 😀

  25. 25 Asarako

    the make-up made the difference…. even if she undergo surgery or not its her decision not ours to judge. If it would make her comfortable and even more confident let her be. After all surgery in their country are common to them…. i mean very common. Is it a crime to go under the knife, they also suffer too, the pain of being cut. What i mean is if we criticize those person who enhance themselves, dont you think its more painful to hear negative/nasty comment than being cut?

    *Giving nasty comment to other people or even to kids don’t you think were also the one who push them to undergo surgery?

    *Even if that person is not pretty are we entitled to tell them their ugly?

    :I 🙁

  26. 26 haj

    the biggest change i see is in her cheeks and eyes. I’m willing to accept that her cheeks were weight loss, but her eyes are really….

    these pictures really show the difference in beauty standards today and then. I really wouldn’t be able to even imagine someone looking like that being a miss korea/america. to be frank i usually don’t like the miss koreas. the recent ones lack charisma and natural beauty (in feeling, not literally) and the old ones are just… eh.

  27. 27 Maica

    Gosh…I’m so shocked because as if I’m looking at two different ladies. I’m quite sure that there had been a lot of plastic surgeries done to her and not just makeup. One plastic surgery wouldn’t hurt but this is too much…as if she’s a different person!

  28. 28 jdb

    Oh well obviously there is something specially in the eyes and chin but I hope this doesn’t make so much as a fuss coz majority in this business has done something in them. So she’s really a beauty even then because she won in the event but wow I thought she was natural…

  29. 29 jboogie

    She looks pretty much the same. Its probably just age, better health and her eyes. Botox, even.

    But I do have to agree that the more I see Asian actors, the more I question if they are “natural.” Its a little scary to know how many aren’t. And especially since its more of a societal view of beauty than an inner issue of inferiority or esteem.

  30. 30 Ishida

    Wow… by judging at the comments, plastic surgery is really THAT important? By the way, “Natural Beauty” is one of the crappiest expression I ever heard.

    And anyway, What’s the most important thing for an actress? … Yeah, found it, it’s acting. But asking to idolize an actress for this and not for her face is that difficult? I know it’s unlucky not the key, and not only in South Korea.

  31. 31 mariec25

    she had definitely done a plastic surgery on her face.. admit it or not but the truth speaks for itself… anyways.. who doesn’t have??? most of them did…

  32. 32 Yazz

    Well i have seen alot of actresses changing without surgery, lots people change and their facials get more defines. Doesnt mean she hasnt had surgery but i dont think the difference is so drastical that she had to have surgery to get it. Many people looks better after they come away from early 20’s…she was beautiful then and she is beautiful now

  33. 33 Pebbles

    Well…whatever it is.. I like her because of her talent. But seriously, I also don’t look the same 8 years ago but i didn’t do any surgery, i don’t have money for that hehehe

  34. 34 javabeans

    Honestly, I don’t think people (i.e., fans, netizens) care so much about a star having plastic surgery as much as when they insist very righteously that they didn’t, and then are found to have lied. For instance, people responded pretty positively when Lee Shi-young (Min-ji in Boys Before Flowers) was honest up-front about her plastic surgery and age issue. She didn’t make a big deal about it, so nobody else did either.

    For what it’s worth, I think Lee Da-hae was pretty either way and I don’t care that she had surgery, although it’s too bad that the state of the industry is such that she kinda automatically has to go through it to be seen as (more) marketable. But considering that photos abound everywhere, it’s kind of amazing how much stars will lie.

  35. 35 OWELL

    She got her eyes done. you just can’t miss that!

  36. 36 WHY

    Actually there s another photo from the pagent that shows her real face without that smiling face and it looks just like da hae now and also from her high school photo, just the same as now, only she lost a lot of baby face. Actually this has been shown before to the public i.e during her green rose day.

  37. 37 Susie

    Omo, the faces look totally different. I can’t believe they are the same person.

  38. 38 sweetydoodle

    #11 & #15 i was thinking the same thing, how the heck do you win a pageant looking like that.

    You put the words out into my mouth.
    She definitely changed her face.
    Those who can’t see the difference are in denial.

  39. 39 Jill

    i knew she had her eyes done..and she wasn’t as pretty before..but this is no news to me..

  40. 40 popcorn

    I have always looked at her and thought, “such a god given pretty lady.” Now that I look at the photos I can’t help but think, “People really have to make themselves way prettier…”

    I don’t think it is such a big deal since she is in the entertainment industry but I just think that it is sad that even though she is pretty as the photos show she still have to go for the more conventional look. +_+” It makes me realize I’m actually prettier than I thought I am considering what I see in front of me are those who went under the knife of some sort to get to where they are…

    Well, this is generalizing that she did but after seeing the photos I can’t help but think that…

  41. 41 Sonam

    Strange….I find both of them much prettier before. Now they look so generic.

  42. 42 just sayin'

    i don’t feel so bad when i hear about beautiful people having plastic surgery. i mean, i don’t consider myself to be blessed with great looks so i’m only human when i think the world isn’t fair after seeing pretty people like lee da hae. so i’ll be honest and say that it makes me feel pretty good about myself when i hear that there really aren’t perfectly/divinely/stunningly beautiful out there. i still like lee and hearing about this doesn’t change my perception of her as an actress. it just comes down to us, the viewers and how we feel about ourselves.

  43. 43 Jessica

    RE: Winning the pageant

    I think the photos are just bad photos. I bet if we saw video or something else then it would look more like her and then you could see why she won the pageant.

    I have a lot of photos taken at strange moments that don’t look like me at all.

    • 43.1 PA

      I concur they may be just bad photos taken from bad angles as well. These photos could also be altered via PhotoShop and/or other means as well.

      Only Lee Da Hae and the CS if she did go under the knife knows the Truth. It’s also her choice to have a procedure done and/or to reveal and make it public knowledge as well.

      With so much CS being done these days, I have heard of cases where prospective In-Laws WILL Request to see photos of the intended that were taken when they were in Jr. High and/or 13 yrs of age to avoid and “surprises” when their grandkids are born!

      CS is ok to correct birth defects, vision impairment however, to use it to “alter” one’s God given appearance is too much and/or beyond comprehension. To me, it’s a sign of insecurity, low self-esteem, short on confidence, and/or just pure vanity when one chooses to go under the knife. Society IS to blame as well. Too many people have the “pretty face” syndrome…sigh There is that saying “Beauty Is In The Eyes Of The Beholder” and “Beauty” lies/lives within a Pure Heart and Soul. Look into a person’s eyes and You WILL see the Beauty of their Pure Heart and Soul. One’s eyes Are the Window to One’s Pure Heart and Soul which matters and counts more than physical beauty.

  44. 44 Peeps

    What plastic surgery? Age itself (heck, 8 years is a pretty long time!) is the ‘plastic surgeon’. Time changes everything you know? Someone noted that some ugly children tend to grow into great beauties. So? It’s just time and how well you take care of yourself. I don’t think she got plastic surgery.

  45. 45 gee

    wait…isn’t LDH born in 1984?
    and if you said that she did the pageant in 2001, it means she was just 17 when she participated in this pageant.
    DAMN! the girl can fool a lot of people. I would have thought she was somewhere in her 30s in those pageant pics.
    The more i look at those pageant pics, the more I wonder how she won the pageant looking like that!

    LDH is definitely a plastic doll! For sure she did her eyes. And i find if you closely enough her nose is just a tad bit sharper.

    It’s a shame a lot of celebrities are playing with their faces. At first it will start off with tiny, almost unnoticeable touch-ups(in my opinion, in LDH’s case), but I’m sure that when they find something they are unhappy about, the first thing they will do is head straight to the doctor’s office for yet another cosmetic procedure.

  46. 46 pussy

    Looks similar to me, just because of the thick make up and the way they shape the eye, then people thought it is different. Looking at her latest music video with Wilber Pan (I love this guy, sooo cute), I can see her eyes just quite small, circle lens can make it bigger and there is also a technique to make your eyes become double eyelids. Join the cosmetic world and you know there are a lot of technique to enhance your look, not only plastic surgery.

  47. 47 jazz

    wow… her eyes, nose and jaw seemed all done.
    the korean celebs are just so amazingly to pursue the plastic beauty.

  48. 48 asianromance

    though with so many regular korean citizens themselves getting surgery, wouldn’t put it past the celebs to get stuff done too.

    but i think the pictures are mostly cuz of bad makeup. reminds me of Ye Eun from Wondergirls. her makeup makes her look so old and her eyes small. but when she takes off all the makeup- she looks younger, pretty, and more fresh.. Ye eun with makeup looks like a totally different person than ye eun without makeup.

    and in 2001, lee da hae was like only 17? how the heck would she look so old in those pageant pictures? whoever did lee da hae’s makeup and screwed up her eyebrows (looks shaved off and penciled in) should be shot! the only surgery i noticed is the double eyelid surgery- but then your run of the mill korean girl is probably getting eyelid surgeries for graduation presents.

  49. 49 CyNurse

    I gotta congratulate her plastic surgeon for a job well done. LOL.

  50. 50 Lurker

    those are really bad pictures, if you guys watched the video of the actual pageant, it wasn’t that bad. And this pageant isn’t so much a BEAUTY pageant as it is kind of a traditional, Korean pride, talent show.

    I do not understand why people are talking about this again… these pictures surfaced way back in My Girl days.

    Her high school pictures too aren’t that different, her real difference though is it’s obvious she had EYELID surgery but that’s really the prominent thing. LDH still has a round face til this day, she gains a little weight and she goes back to that face shape.

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