What difference do appearances make? That’s the question at the heart of True Beauty by Yanogyi. The story follows Korean student Jugyeong Lim as she discovers the difference that makeup can make in the way she is perceived by the world (and the way that her perspective changes, as well).
After nineteen-year-old Jugyeong discovers how different makeup can make her appearance thanks to online tutorial videos, her social standing skyrockets. Once the overlooked comic fan, she finds her life changed when she returns from break and her new look makes her one of the most popular students at school.
Jugyeong looks so different with her makeup done that she’s effectively living a double life. While she’s more than content to fully embrace her new, made-up self at school, her “secret identity” becomes a complication when she runs into the mysterious new student at school, Suho Lee, at the comic shop. Did he recognize her without her makeup on?
While True Beauty doesn’t skimp on the romantic drama, the comic also examines the role that appearances play – including makeup, fashion, and social media presence – in Jugyeong’s day-to-day interactions. As more characters are introduced, like Suho’s old friend Seojun Han, the focus broadens to see how different characters play into or subvert their appearances.
The story moves forward quickly thanks to plenty of integrated memes and glimpses of the interactions the characters have on social media, and nearly every episode features an extra-detailed depiction of one of the main characters posing in their newest stylish outfit. The occasionally hilarious parodies of various recognizable brands and logos are just an added bonus. The result is a varied and engaging glimpse at a young woman learning to navigate a world obsessed with image.