Pop Culture & Society
A new Miss Korea is crowned
by | July 8, 2009 | 63 Comments

The new Miss Korea has been crowned, and she is Kim Ju-ri, a 21-year-old studying at the Bolshoi Ballet school in Russia.

The Miss Korea Pageant took place on the evening of July 8 at Seoul’s Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, and was hosted by former Miss Korea finalist and now actress-mother-wife Sohn Tae-young. Kim Ju-ri takes over from last year’s winner, Na Ri (whom you may recall suffered criticism for not being “pretty enough” for the win). Preceding her was Lee Ji-sun, who won in 2007, and before her was Honey Lee in 2006.

The finalists are divided into three distinctions: Miss Korea jin is the sole winner (Kim Ju-ri, in the center), while she is flanked in the above photo by the two Miss Korea sun finalists. The four outer finalists won the Miss Korea mi distinction.

The full list of awards:

Miss Korea (jin): Kim Ju-ri
Miss Korea (sun): Cha Ye-rin, Seo Eun-mi
Miss Korea (mi): Park Ye-joo, Lee Seul-gi, Yoo Su-jung, Choi Ji-hee

Talent Award: Yoo Su-jung
Friendship Award: Yang Kook-hwa
Manners Award: Jo Su-jin
Photogenic Award: Wang Ji-hye
Korean Abroad Award: Kwon Ri-sae
Popularity Award: Park Ye-joo

Miss Korea winner

After being named the winner, Kim Ju-ri said, “Although I’ve become Miss Korea, my dream is to be a ballerina. As a Korean ballerina, I would like to show the world the pride and beauty of Korea’s women.”

Miss Korea sun

Cha Ye-rin (22) is a university student studying English literature and hails from Jeonbuk.

Seo Eun-mi (21), studies Korean art at university and is from Daegu.

Miss Korea mi

Park Ye-joo (22) is from Seoul and also won the popularity award. She is studying fashion design at Parsons Design School.

Yoo Su-jung (21) also won the talent competition and is a university student studying English from Daejeon.

Gangwon’s Lee Seul-gi (20) is in the modeling department (there’s a modeling department?) at university.

Choi Ji-hee (22) is also studying modeling and comes from Kyunggi province.

Via Hankook Ilbo, Now News, Newsen, Hankook Ilbo


63 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Hannieoon

    I don’t understand Korean’s view of beauty. The new one looks average to me. Much better than last year’s but still… not what I view as breathtaking. Honey Lee was the best Miss Korea.

  2. aquarianunicorn

    cool – what’s the difference between the 3 categories?
    what does “jIn” and “sun and “mi” mean?
    will they all have to do something different???

  3. javabeans

    @Hannieoon, it’s not that Koreans have a different standard of beauty — I suppose these things aren’t (supposed to be) strictly about having pretty faces.

    @aquarianunicorn, they’re just category distinctions, like ranking the finalists. The jin is the winner.

  4. Samsooki

    Personally, I think Yoo Soo Jung is the prettiest (and apparently with the best “talent” which is a bonus), but with so much makeup and tricked-out hair and clothes and so on, it is difficult to tell what they really look like (and Yoo Soo Jung finished tied for fourth, apparently). By the by, I also dislike the royal blue swimsuits. It makes their legs look stumpy.

    I wonder whether people think that this year’s Miss Korea has more, less or the same amount of attractiveness as previous years’ Miss Korea’s?

    (btw I am overriding the small voice in my head to compare the Miss Korea pageant to a certain other pageant that some folks might be tempted to go off-topic about. Ahem! Let’s keep this on topic, you guys know who you (we) are! LOL!)

  5. poheijo

    i think the miss korea winners are very pretty….they the distinct asian beauties…i just hope that it’s all natural and not done by plastic surgeries….good show….

  6. elsie

    They are in their 20’s? The winner looks like she’s in her late 30’s. Plastic surgery really ages you and pageant makeup doesn’t help either.

  7. Skelly

    I must have a wierd standard of beauty – I actually thought last years’ winner was prettier (runs and hides)

  8. JiHwan

    I have yet to see a new Miss Korea that is as beautiful and charismatic as Honey Lee. All of these ladies are quite average looking to say the least…

  9. mm

    the winner is pretty ippo !

  10. 10 bd

    A below average Miss Korea.

    Her biggest flaws being that her face is too skinny and her eyes are too close together.

    Don’t particularly care for her chin/jawline as well.

  11. 11 Vivianaaaa

    not one of them looks there age. they look older.
    there pretty but Honey Lee has been the prettiest one so far :]

  12. 12 Anonymous

    How do you study “modeling”? Do they have Pose 101? Make up 101?

    Not trying to be funny…but just really curious. What test do you have to pass to get in this program? Do you have to be pretty or can uggos apply too?

  13. 13 Anonymous

    What’s the point of the swimsuit competition? They all look like they are going to a swim meet! They should at least be allowed to pick their own style of bathing suits. The hoochie shorts and half-shirts costumes are horrible!

  14. 14 nanaee

    Miss korean has the biggest middle body part… she can’t go to miss universe for sure…

  15. 15 veronica

    is it just me or does this years miss korea resemble yoon kye sang?!?!??!?!?!

  16. 16 s

    Her face looks a little long but that could be because her hair is all piled up on her head. She’s not as bad as last year’s (Nari), thank goodness though she’s not amazing. I actually think she’s better than Sun Lee too, Sun was fierce looking but her nose job was as botched as they come. At least this lady looks natural. I see a bit of potential there to be lovely. She does look a bit old but I feel like that’s what MissU judges like – mature and sexy, not necessarily cute and fresh though if you can manage both that’d be nice. Honey Lee still is the best Korea’s seen in years but this one isn’t too bad. At least not as bad as Nari – who I noticed isn’t even making a blip at MissU whereas Japan, China and Vietnam are all stirring up attention. So much for personality over looks – clearly Nari has neither. Actually, overall I think Korea did horrible in beauty pageants last year – for good reason. At least this year the Miss Koreas don’t look embarrassing.

  17. 17 kitty

    Like Samsooki, I also prefer Yoo Su-jung out of the lot, she looks very sweet. As for Kim Ju-ri, I like that pic of her with her hand to her chest, lovely smile there, but otherwise not outstanding to me. Choi Ji-hee reminds me of Choi Ji-woo, which is freaky -_____-.

  18. 18 yumi-chan

    There is no one quite as pretty as Honey Lee, girl was a whole new level of sexy back xD

  19. 19 CrimemasterGogo

    Im sorry but are we suppoused to believe that these girls are natural beauties? Because they all look like poster girls for Plastic surgery to me.

  20. 20 Reese

    Cha Ye-rin and Yoo Su-jung are my favorites. Not to mention those evening gowns they’re both wearing are gorgeous. I would love to get my hands on them. Kim Ju-ri just doesn’t seem outstanding enough.

  21. 21 Hula

    I am glad that they judged these women not only on their physical beauty but also other intrinsic attributes. To be honest, all these women are just average to me, not ugly but none of them wows me. In fact, the pictures that have all the women lined up shows that all these women appear to look alike each other hihihi..hi.

    I was expecting a bikini contest but I guess it’s Korea after all. One piece swimsuit is sufficient to evaluate their body?

    Cha Ye rin looks kinda freaky..something about her nose turns me off.
    I bet if you remove the thick make up on all these women, they would have looked a lot prettier and more natural looking. It’s the make up!

    What is the average height of these women? is there a min height requirement to enter the contest?

  22. 22 Hula

    I am guessing that getting a boob job isn’t that popular in Korea. unlike Ms. Universe women, At least these Korean women don’t have fake boobs.

    Lee Seul Gi reminds me of the girl in Ally Mcbeal’s show, the one with curly hair. I don’t know her name. Choi Ji Hee does remind me a little bit of Choi Ji Woo, especially the most right picture.

  23. 23 Snikki

    Here I go again… like my comment regarding Sung Yuri few entries back. These girls are looking so much alike, not all of them, but a lot of them. Maybe it’s just their make-up. And I wonder how many of them have gone through the knife. I’m not against plastic surgery, but they (in general, not just these ladies) should at least avoid looking like a clone of the other.

  24. 24 E

    why do they all look the same? i can’t tell the winner from all the other ones….i don’t know if it’s the makeup or the plastic surgery.. >.<

  25. 25 Bolt

    @24, yeah, I was just about to say, why all of them look almost identical. Hehe..like she i-robots!!

    Dramabeans, I still think you are right, Honey Lee has some sort of an aura and she is still the best among all the Miss Koreans that I have seen so far.

  26. 26 asianromance

    I also prefer Yoo Su-jung. her face looks like that of a korean beauty to me because most of the pretty, popular korean girls in the colleges in my town look more like her than these other girls. i think it’s the curve in the smiling eyes. i hate the blue swimsuits too- they don’t have the hips to pull it off. though the high-cut means to lengthen the look of their legs- they just look like bananahammock bottoms.

  27. 27 chic


    I kind surprised reading the comments here and in last year posts of this award. I thought people here were among smart people.

    Although this is beauty pageant, but marks given is not merely about physical beauty. The same goes with Miss Universe. All of this girls make to the final or even can enter this competition because their basic premise: All of them are considered beauty from Korean perfective. But what will be evaluate in this award is WHAT will make them significant than others other than their basic premise which is prettiness. That what a pageant is ALL about. The same goes with Miss Unievrse. Sometimes the winners is not the most beautiful among all, but their marks goes with their intelligent, inner beauty and how they see the world.

    It kind of predictable judging from what comments from certain people including in popseoul IS why celebrity tends to do plastic surgery all the times or commit suicide because of common prejudice and shallow persfective.

  28. 28 lei

    @Skelly (#7) — you know what, i think last year’s miss korea is prettier too.

  29. 29 momo


    get real. it’s a pageant. people can argue until they’re blue in the face about inner beauty and intelligence an blah blah blah but you know at the end of the day it’s gotta go back to looks. if not, we’d have a stage full of madam currie’s and gloria steinhem’s instead of some sub-par looking plastic girls who ‘study’ modeling and look like crappy replicas of each other.

  30. 30 djes

    I agree with Samsooki, those blue swimsuits are unflattering. Really made the girls look bigger.

  31. 31 kimchii

    I too agree with Samsooki.
    The bathing suits are doing nothing for their bodies.. It’s quite unfortunate.

    But I think all the girls look beautiful with confidence (:
    I wouldn’t have the guts to strut around in such a horrid bathing suit.. Haha.

  32. 32 anna

    Miss Korea has no chance with the Miss Universe pageant this year. Honey Lee set the bar pretty high. None of her successors seem to be good enough.

  33. 33 Kobe

    #27 chic

    “but their marks goes with their intelligent, inner beauty and how they see the world.”

    Yeah, like the judges can really quantify someone’s intelligence just by asking them a question.

    I agree with momo, this is a beauty pageant after all, and being physically attractive should be the deciding factor. Unfortunately this years’ Miss Korea just fails in the looks department (like last years), but as anna has already pointed out, Honey Lee set the bar too high and it will be a while for someone to come even close.

  34. 34 sue

    the outfits..

  35. 35 Ayame

    is she the one that’s be going to the Miss Universe Pageant?

  36. 36 Jo

    I think javabeans already clarified that the beauty pageant is not only about beauty, but smarts, poise, talents. etc. But I agree with the lot of you, Honey lee was like the best miss Korea ever. she is great in the traditional arts of korea and has a beuatiful face along with a curvy body. 🙂

  37. 37 iknowkarate

    i am not understanding the best manners and korean abroad award. hahahaha. how on earth do you judge who has the best “manners”? what guarantees a win in the korean abroad award? lol it sounds so stupid, i can’t stop laughing.

  38. 38 T

    I can’t tell any of them apart. I guess they must all have the same plastic surgeon – same eyes, same nose, same knee caps, etc. Btw, Miss Korea 2009 here ain’t going to get anywhere with her dreams of being a ballerina with legs like that. Isn’t she a bit too chunky and heavy to be a prima ballerina? She doesn’t have the right muscle definition to prove she’s actually a decent ballerina. And, why don’t any of them workout? It’s clear they don’t.

  39. 39 yvhsien

    In the idealistic world, we would like to think that contestants are judged based on not only beauty but intelligence, talent and personality. However, a beauty pageant is a beauty pageant and we know no matter what they would like to say, the judges are judging based on physical beauty first. Everything else will be secondary.

    With that said, I’m not sure this Miss Korea will make it very far in the Miss Universe pageant. All of them have their own beauty but I think Yoo Su Jung is the prettiest of the ladies; Cha Ye-Rin second.

  40. 40 pussy

    To me, they are all look the same, not easy to distinguish between them-but they are beautiful.

  41. 41 mommy

    i actually think last year’s Miss Korea was far prettier than this year’s. This year’s winner is so so plain…without makeup i think she’ll even be ugly.

  42. 42 :/

    i’m not trying to be mean or anything but the only miss korea who was pretty was like honey lee, son tae young, etc. not the 07, 08 or 09 they all look TOO plasticized and not natural….

  43. 43 rocketfuel

    maybe they should change the event to miss personality pageant.

  44. 44 mellissa

    Yoo Su-Jung should have won, she’s the only one who looks naturally pretty, the rest (including the winner) looks like they owe their beauty to their plastic surgeons. YSJ also looks like she’s really in her early 20s, the rest looks like they’re in their early 30s.

  45. 45 This Is Me Posting

    As a person who’s never seen any of these contestants or controversy until just now, here’s my two cents:

    Strictly speaking on appearances:

    Na Ri is super cute. Beautiful? I can understand if people don’t think she’s “beautiful,” but anyone who says she’s not cute is on crack.

    Kim Ji-ri fell out of the ugly tree and smashed into every single branch on the way down. Then some dude came along and cut down that tree, carved out an ugly bat, and beat her with it. She’s a whole lot of unfortunate from her hair to her feet.

    Seo Eun-mi accidentally took a backswing of that ugly bat to the face.

    Honey Lee is sort of average. She’s a “Butterface.” She looks good in some pics, others are awful. She looks better without make up than with, that’s for sure.

  46. 46 hajung

    i don’t like her but…i don’t like any of te others either…
    maybe she’ll transform- i wasn’t convinced by lee haney when she was crowned miss korea but by the time miss universe rolled around i was in love with her.

  47. 47 GeeNie

    I don’t get it. How come the winner is already wearing her crown during the swimsuit and dancing things? How does the competition actually go?

  48. 48 Annie

    [email protected] one that have a weird standard. ^^

    Much better than the last year. I too wish that it’s all natural. someone who had something done to enhance their look by surgery, remove inches of their teeth, cut part of the eyes to make it bigger, or unknown(well we know it either cili or ass fat) injected to some part of the face. all that, should not enter a beauty pageant. Heck if their not pretty like the last year is fine too as long as natural.

    but one thing that I really proud of all these girls are, their boobies look normal. none have those that either too big till it reaches their chin or their belly button. ^^

  49. 49 yvhsien

    I agree with Annie. Those that have had plastic surgery done should not be allowed to compete in beauty pageants. Though it’s probably not in the rules of the competition but it just seems unjust that someone acquiring beauty artificially can win the pageant and the natural beauties don’t.

  50. 50 waimee78

    did they really undergone plastic surgeries???

    artificial beauties should not be crowned as beauty QUEENS!!!!!

    unless they make their own pageant for that……

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