Since second-generation girl group Blady disbanded in late 2017, former member Tina (now more commonly known as Christine Park) has been gradually opening up about the realities of the K-Pop industry. In a new eye-opening video on her YouTube channel, soobeanie_, Tina delved into the real beauty standards in K-Pop—including how she was pressured to make her eyes look bigger.
Tina started by explaining the reality of eye size, revealing that “bigger eyes” are a beauty standard in K-Pop. “In order to do that,” she says, “a lot of K-Pop idols wear circle lenses.” For those who are unfamiliar, circle lenses are cosmetic contact lenses that make your iris appear larger, giving the impression of bigger eyes overall.
Tina went on to say that up until she joined Star Planet Entertainment at the age of around 19, the only lenses she ever wore were clear, corrective lenses to improve her vision. Even though she knew of circle lenses, she never tried them. When she first joined the company in preparation to debut as a new Blady member, Tina says her members were surprised that she didn’t wear the popular cosmetic lenses. “Oh, I never wore circle lenses before,” Tina recalls telling them, “I don’t know what’s gonna look good on me.”
The former idol thought things would end there, but sadly, that wasn’t the case. In her very first week of being a trainee, Tina found she’d get heavily judged and criticized by her choreographers and dance teachers—all because they thought she “looked tired.” Tina went on to explain that her eyes are naturally on the smaller side regardless of whether she’s tired or not, and she always had trouble opening up her eyes wide during practices.
At one point, I was literally opening my eyes as big as I can, and they just kept on saying that I look tired or that I look out of it.
Eventually, one of her members recommended again that Tina try circle lenses. The member justified her suggestion by pointing out that Tina’s eyes have more white (sclera) showing, explaining that circle lenses would reduce that and make her look more awake even if she didn’t open her eyes fully. “So, that is the first time that I tried circle lenses,” Tina confessed in her video.
Sadly, although she wasn’t unconfident in her appearance beforehand, Tina says she became “addicted” to circle lenses from that point on. “I became very insecure to a point where if I didn’t have my circle lenses, I felt very ugly,” she revealed. It got to the point where she didn’t feel comfortable beginning to ditch the circle lenses until she ended her contract with the company around 2017.
It took me such a long time for me to accept myself again with just regular lenses.
The former idol even went on to explain that her eyes got “really bad” because the circle lenses reduced air circulation. Despite their popularity, these decorative lenses have been known to temporarily reduce vision and even injure the eyes unless they’re made to a very high quality.
And, even though Tina has been free from circle lenses for three to four years now, she still gets why she was pressured to wear them: “At the end of the day, it does make you look better in pictures. Your eyes do look more awake.“