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'True Beauty': Here's how rookie idols of NMIXX and IVE inspired the 2018 webtoon

'True Beauty' was also adapted into a hugely popular K-drama in 2020 starring Cha Eunwoo, Hwang In-yeop and Moon Ga-young
UPDATED APR 14, 2022
The author states that the latest episodes of the webtoon 'True Beauty' are inspired by NMIXX's Sullyoon and IVE's Wonyoung (@tvn_drama, @ivestarship, @nmixx_official/Instagram)
The author states that the latest episodes of the webtoon 'True Beauty' are inspired by NMIXX's Sullyoon and IVE's Wonyoung (@tvn_drama, @ivestarship, @nmixx_official/Instagram)

‘True Beauty’ was one of the biggest K-dramas of 2020 based on an equally popular webtoon of the same name that began in 2018. The drama is pretty iconic as it starred Astro’s Cha Eunwoo, rookie actor Hwang In-yeop who stole everyone’s hearts and K-drama favorite Moon Ga-young. There were also guest stars like SF9’s Chani, WJSN’s Dayoung, four main leads of ‘Extraordinary You’ and more.

With the plot focusing on Lim Ju-kyung, the female protagonist’s beauty and society’s double standards on how a woman should look, it isn’t too surprising that ‘True Beauty’ took inspiration for Ju-kyung’s looks from K-pop female idols. On April 13, the webtoon’s author, Yaongyi appeared on MBC’s ‘Radio Star’ to talk about the webtoon that is still ongoing and has achieved almost a cult-like status. She also revealed that she was inspired by NMIXX’s Sullyoon and IVE’s Wonyoung.

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‘True Beauty’ inspired by Wonyoung and Sullyoon

Well, for confused viewers who wondered how 2022-debuted idols inspired an old webtoon, Yaongyi elaborated. ‘True Beauty’ is still released every week and it's important for the plot to stay up to date with the ongoing fashion and beauty trends. She explained, “I combine a lot of trends into the comics…Webtoons…reflect a lot of the fashion of that time. Idols are also used as a reference a lot. In particular, these days, I pay a lot of attention to Jang Wonyoung (IVE) and Sullyoon (NMIXX).”


Fans have also found a lot of similarities between Wonyoung and ‘True Beauty’s Ju-kyung in the past. This is possible since Wonyoung was part of the K-pop group IZ*ONE in 2018 before she re-debuted with IVE. Yaongyi had also shared that she was a fan of IZ*ONE before they disbanded and that she loved member Minju who is now a soloist. On ‘Radio Star’, the author also shared that Wonyoung and Sullyoon were the perfect models for the recent episodes of ‘True Beauty’, since they’re both pretty, liked by everyone including men and are even popular overseas.

Ju-kyung in the latest episode of 'True Beauty' (True Beauty/Webtoons)

‘True Beauty’ is about Lim Ju-kyung who was bullied for her appearance in middle school to the point that she had to change schools. She ends up discovering makeup and fashionable clothes that change her appearance and she becomes popular in her new school. While the K-drama ended with her revealing her secret to everyone and still being accepted, the webtoon is still ongoing. She is now a popular makeup artist using her makeup skills to help her friends and clients.

The webtoon can be read on Webtoons and the K-drama can be watched on Amazon Prime.