[Villains] Her ID is Two-faced Snake
by Guest Beanie
A fellow Beanie once said that My ID Is Gangnam Beauty is a drama that people either love or hate. I’m one of the ones who loved it, in large part because it was so interesting to watch the characters evolve and grow over the course of the show.
While the show is about protagonist Kang Mi-rae and her life before and after becoming a “Gangnam Beauty” (a.k.a. a plastic beauty), she wasn’t the only memorable character. The other character that made a lasting impression was the one who caused the most trouble for our heroine. It was the villain I loved to hate, Hyun Soo-ah.
It was fascinating to watch Soo-ah manipulate almost everyone around her. The “two-faced snake,” as I liked to call her, had nearly everyone wrapped around her little finger and used that to her advantage. Since this was a coming-of-age drama set on a college campus, that advantage was meant increasing her popularity to become the most popular freshman in college. It may seem silly, but looking back at my own high school and college days, there were plenty of people as concerned with chasing popularity as they were with future career paths.
It was pretty obvious early on that something was off with Soo-ah. She was pretty with a “pure and innocent” character, but something about her was too sugary sweet to be true. Even so, most of the characters were so taken with her right away. Mi-rae was even grateful that Soo-ah was befriending her. But while acting oblivious to the consequences, Soo-ah would draw attention to Mi-rae and call her pretty, thus increasing all the gossip about Mi-rae’s plastic surgery.
Regardless of whether she was scheming or sweet-talking, Soo-ah was able to keep her mask on almost till the very end. When alone she’d mostly brood quietly with this nonchalant expression that made me wonder how twisted she was on the inside. She worked hard to keep everyone mesmerized with her, but there was one person who was totally immune to her manipulations: the most popular guy on campus, Do Kyung-seok. The aloof Kyung-seok saw through her unwavering smile and crocodile tears. Soo-ah’s frustration over this was evident; she could effortlessly charm other guys, but not Kyung-seok. When she saw Kyung-seok was developing an interest in Mi-rae, that just made the target on Mi-rae’s back bigger.
Because Mi-rae was so caught up in her own insecurities, she failed to notice that the cause of some of her problems was right beside her. Luckily Mi-rae snapped out of Soo-ah’s spell and finally confronted her head on. That moment when Soo-ah’s façade completely shattered was one of the highlights of the show. She became a totally different person in an instant and she looked absolutely terrible at that moment. (Actress Jo Woo-ri did a fantastic job portraying that change.)
Soo-ah didn’t orchestrate murders or direct bullying and she ended up hurting herself the most. Looking back, I realized Soo-ah had an extreme manifestation of a desire lots of people have: to be liked by everyone. Her methods and tactics (both on herself and others) were crazy and abnormal, but ultimately I both pitied and empathized with her.
People in this world aren’t simply all good or bad. Soo-ah clearly needed help and a set of friends who could accept her for who she was. The Soo-ah that we glimpsed in the final episode was pretty alright. (That scene of her haughtily assuring Kyung-seok that she never liked him for one second, haha, still got that attitude I see.) She didn’t have to try so hard from the start. Though she schemed and hurt others, Soo-ah might’ve accidentally found some reliable people in her evil quest for popularity, namely Mi-rae. As for how much self-improvement Soo-ah will be able to make, I’ll leave it up to her in the imaginary Gangnam Beauty world. But I sincerely hope she got better.
Tags: Theme of the Month