In Korean entertainment, many of its celebrities — especially the ones who are huge Hallyu stars like Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo — do their best to present themselves in way not only appealing to their local and international fans, but to the Korean people. Generally in East Asian countries, specifically Japan, China, and Korea, this is known as face, a respectable representation of one’s self within society especially in front of elders. The strictness of face has eased up, but it is still in effect. As a matter of fact, we can say that face has expanded even more, especially with the internet and social media.
However, not all Korean celebrities are big on face or the representation of one’s self to others. Case and point: Korean actress Sulli. A former K-pop idol for f(x), Choi Jin Ri — better known by her stage name Sulli — has been one of the most controversial Korean celebrities when it comes to what she does and what she says to and in front of others. To be fair, a lot of Sulli’s apathy towards face comes from the abuse certain K-pop fans who identify as MeU, the official fan club of f(x), gave her. Sulli can only take so many insults, being said she cannot sing or dance, being called the “weakest link” of f(x). Sulli officially parted ways with f(x), continuing her solo career in acting while the remaining four members of f(x) continued on as a girl group without her, starting with “4 Walls.”
Right now, Sulli can be labeled as one of the few Korean celebrities who does not care what she says or does in front of other Koreans. With that in mind, Sulli has caused numerous netizens to be concerned for her mental health after recent images she uploaded in Instagram.
The first set of images to cause controversy for Sulli were uploaded last August. According to Soompi, Sulli posted an image of her and Hara, former K-pop idol of Kara, in the same T-shirt supposedly promoting Johnson’s Baby Oil. Because of how the photo was shot, there was a possibility of both girls being nude under the shirt. This caused many netizens to argue that Sulli and Hara were promoting the “lolita” concept. It also did not help that the photographer of the image, Rotti, was under fire for lolita photos in the past too.
There has been some back-and-forth interaction between Sulli and netizens on the images, but more recent images are getting far more attention. Where Sulli and Hara’s images by Rotti supposedly promoted the lolita concept, Sulli’s more recent images have a more provocative direction. According to AllKpop, Sulli posted up images of herself gazing into the camera with a mischievous look only dressed in a one-piece slip.
Netizens once again were up in arms as they became angry at Sulli for her provocative pictures. The comments ranged from feeling sorry for Choiza, to wondering if Sulli was on drugs or had mental health issues.
“If I were Choiza, I’d be thinking hard about how to end my relationship with her… She’s gotten to the point of scary.”
“Does she have mental issues? Why does she keep doing this….”
“Are you on drugs?”
Sulli’s final image that received netizens’ criticisms was of rice on a hibachi grill spelled out in the acronym for “I Love You.” What got everyone’s attention was the shape of the “I” and “U” as they look like male and female genitalia respectively. Of course the netizens had to make their voice known, calling Sulli crazy, out of her mind, insane, or mentally sick.
Ultimately, only Sulli knows her intention behind the images she posts. Either she is causing controversy for the sake of promotion, or is just living her life; the one thing that is clear is it got people’s attention. This will definitely be good, especially when her upcoming K-movie, Real, releases later on this year.
[Featured Image by SM Entertainment]