Three years ago, Shim Jung Hyun (’11, Geography Education) was one normal Korea University (KU) student. Now, she is a world-famous Youtube star beauty creator, Bambi Girl, who has more than 24 million social media followers and flies in and out of the country to collaborate with various cosmetic companies. The Granite Tower (GT) met Bambi Girl and listened to her story as a successful beauty creator, as one friendly girl next door, and also as a proud senior of KU.
GT About your career as a beauty creator—how did it all begin?
Shin I first opened my Youtube channel in 2013. At that time, a beauty creator was unfamiliar to most people, even to myself. However, after a year, I had an opportunity to meet other leading beauty creators with the help of the CJ Beauty In Me platform. Since then, this activity developed more like a profession than a hobby, further affecting the content. There were also ideological reasons behind my choice. After my experience in the Miss University contest, I learned so much from other contestants—especially the virtue of taking care of one’s appearance. Some people view women focusing on cosmetics or clothes as ostentatious. However, I think these are all excellent ways of loving oneself, just like others choose to read or play sports. Therefore, with my content, I wanted to share this happiness of caring for oneself with many viewers.
▲ Bambi Girl. Photographed by Maeng Jun Ho.
GT What were others’ responses like when you started this career, and how has it changed now?
Shin To be honest, I did not expect this activity to flourish this much when I started, and my parents and friends also did not think so. My parents objected strongly at first, since I chose to do something totally different from what I originally studied in university, and also had to postpone my academic activity a bit in order to maintain this job. I thought this objection was understandable, because it is actually hard to blindly follow your dream without any practical backup. Therefore, I studied for various certificates during the vacation, such as TOEIC, Chinese characters, and so on, to ensure a back-up plan. Eventually, my parents began to support my dream, and as it turned out much more successful than all of us expected—they are now proud of me for not giving up.
GT What do you think are the dark sides of being a beauty creator?
Shin As a beauty creator, I think I am on the border between professionals and amateurs. Therefore, our primary focus is to communicate with viewers and get as close as we can. However, in this process, it is sometimes hard to meet all viewers’ standards or their needs. Furthermore, since we are not actual celebrities, most of us work by ourselves without an agency. This brings us freedom, but at the same time, it is burdensome to take all the responsibilities and risks by myself when troubles come.
GT Then, what do you think is the biggest appeal of a beauty creator as a future career? Do you think it has more potential to grow?
Shin Many will be curious about the salary—on average, we earn just as much as a normal office worker of our age. In fact, it is much more reflexive and risky, since I myself had barely earned any salary until 2014. However, this freedom is what I view as the biggest charming point of the job. It is all in our hands to decide what, how, and when to make new content. There are no space and time limits on working, so we can take time developing our content without any external pressure. Furthermore, in the United States (U.S.), many beauty creators already have developed their future careers in various ways, such as a writer, make-up artist, or even started their own business. I think of a beauty creator as a job that can be another career field of infinite potential.
GT Where do you see yourself in the future?
Shin There are mainly two goals. First, I want to work as a product development consultant for cosmetic companies. As mentioned earlier, I see myself as a bridge between the general consumers and the company’s research workers. Therefore, I want to give practical advice from the consumers’ eyes, helping both parties to develop better cosmetics. The bigger goal is to run my own show, like Oprah Winfrey or Ellen DeGeneres. As far as I am concerned with outer beauty, I believe inner beauty is also very important. In Korean society, lots of women lose their identity when they get old, as they live as someone’s wife, mother, or something else. Therefore, I want to make a counseling beauty show for women of all age, so that they can refresh both their looks and minds, to bring liveliness and beauty in their daily life.
GT Last but not least, can you give a piece of advice or any last comments for GT readers?
Shin Ironically, there are times when the name of KU sometimes feels like a demerit—since people expect much for a person of high education. However, I think it is important to break all stereotypes and follow what you really want. Live happy, and enjoy what you are doing! I think that is where real beauty comes from.