How often have we heard the lament “but they all look alike” from those unfamiliar with Kpop? I’ve heard it a lot and I bet you have too, and I will admit that at first I had some trouble remembering who was who. But for me it was less their looks than placing the correct name to the right idol. Particularly for the big groups.
So are all Kpop idols ‘cookie cutter’ replicants of each other? I don’t think so, and so today I have chosen a small number of those who I think stand out, or are unique.
Unique can mean, ‘being the only one of its kind’, ‘unlike anything else’, but it can also be used in the sense of ‘special’, ‘notable’, ‘unusual’, and ‘exceptional’, which expands on the definition and allows far more idols to fall within the category of ‘unique’.
Since I’ve been following Kpop since 2009 probably two of the most unique faces that immediately come to mind are TOP and Daesung from Big Bang. TOP is in all ways an ‘individual’ to the extent that his style has often been recognized and emulated by younger idols. And he’s one of the few idols that still looked like himself in his military training photos. He is definitely unique in the world of Kpop, and just plain overall gorgeous.
Daesung on the other has been called many things, but handsome isn’t what first comes to mind. However, his ‘eye smiles’ and character have made him a favorite of many, including me. His looks are not traditionally handsome, but he himself is attractive, and his voice is phenomenal. He has a silly and charming sense of humor, and is even known for making fun of himself. And being quite unlike any other idol indeed makes him unique.
Key from SHINee is also unique in both looks and character. Is that what makes all my choices super attractive and sets them apart? Do we notice not only that they have a distinct look that draws us to them, but that their personalities are also far from the ordinary.
Or is it that they are not afraid to show us all sides of their character and that’s what attracts us? Eunkwang from BTOB can go from mild to wild in a heartbeat, and his scrunched mischievous face is always recognizable.
Some days a particular idol can be the most handsome man in the world, other days, not so much. This I think is a trait that is common among most of those I’ve chosen for this article. They have interesting, expressive faces which allow them to go from kinda plain to drop dead gorgeous. For me RM of BTS has that kind of face and it is always fun to watch his face change during interviews.
Or could it be the faces that we empathize with, the wtf faces or the resting bitch faces that set some idols apart from the rest? Hyungwon from MonstaX has become so famous for his glares, stares and general attitude that he has even become a popular meme.
Instead of toeing the party line and appearing pleasant and attractive we see their true feelings, whether that is actual distain or just exhaustion. Leo from VIXX never used to smile, he always looked glum, like he didn’t want to be there, but lately he has begun to smile more and show that he actually has a very attractive smile. But his glum face will probably always be my favorite.
Or can a trait like being goofy make an idol unique? If so it might be a long list, but Bobby from Icon would definitely be up there near the top.
He’s also known for his devil may care attitude and non conformity in an industry and culture that has conformity as one of its core principals. His eye smiles, slightly crooked teeth and smile also set him apart.
A famous goofy smile belongs to Bang Yongguk, formerly of BAP, whose fans judge how happy he his by how ‘gummy’ his smile is. If we see those gums we know he’s really happy. He probably has the widest smile in Kpop and he is unique in other ways too.
And lastly for today I have to include Niel from Teen Top, firstly because he is so recognizable in all the ways we see him in the media and in real life, and secondly there really no mistaking him for anyone else.
As I wrote this it became quite apparent that there are a lot of unique and interesting faces and characters in Kpop so I think a part 2 will be on the agenda for the new year. Who would you add to this list? You can let me know in the comments below.
Have a great day everyone.
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