British personality Oli London has apologized to BTS member Jimin and the entire Asian community for their “unhealthy” obsession with the K-pop idol which led to nearly three dozen plastic surgeries.
London, 32, who identifies as a fluid, transgender woman using the pronouns they/them, gained popularity in 2018 after appearing in a documentary series that highlights how much they spent go under the knife to look like Jimin.
Since then, London has faced a lot of criticism, including allegations of racism and cultural appropriation. In February, they caused an uproar after announcing plans to undergo penis reduction surgery become “100% Korean”.
In May, London defended their “transracial” identity to a black woman who claimed she can’t be Korean no matter “how many surgeries you do” or “how much aesthetics you adopt.” To this, London replied, “I’m Korean, people have to accept that.”
Despite years of backlash, London has managed to rise to prominence as a singer and actor. They released several singles since 2019 and starred in a partially fictionalized short film titled “Gangnam Beauty,” which screened at the Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival last year.
London, however, looks set to change. On Sunday they posted an apology video on YouTube directed at Jimin and the wider Asian community for what they described as “overly obsessive behavior”.
In a statement, London traced her obsession with Jimin and plastic surgery to her experiences of being bullied as a child. They recall suffering from various skin conditions and hearing people insult them on a daily basis, which eventually caused them to “withdraw from society, feel isolated and feel like aliens.”
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“I just wanted to cut off my whole face and be a different person, someone beautiful and someone confident,” London said. “At 23, I moved to Korea and lived there for a year, and it completely changed me as a person forever.”
Relocation to South Korea has brought London to the heart of the Hallyu wave. It was 2013, and a group of seven boys from a then relatively unknown entertainment label, Big Hit, had just debuted.
“I found solace and happiness in K-Pop and Korean culture,” London recalled. “It allowed me to escape reality and focused all my attention and love on someone I admired and idolized a lot – Park Jimin.”
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From there, London will undergo 32 cosmetic surgeries in hopes of looking like Jimin. They said they changed their whole lives thinking they could “become as beautiful and as talented as Jimin.”
“But I finally realized that was WRONG and WRONG,” London said. “I have now realized that I can never become another person except a better version of myself.”
London, which married Danny Richardson, 19 in June, said his apology came after undergoing therapy and “a great period of soul-searching.”
“I sincerely apologize to Jimin, BTS, ARMY and the entire Asian community who may have found my obsession ‘too much’, ‘scary’ or ‘unhealthy’. I was just trying to become someone I idolized, which I’m sure is something that many K-Pop fans can relate to,” London continued. “I will always love Jimin and look up to him; However, I now take responsibility for my past behavior that I found was not healthy or normal and I promise to do better and change as a person.
While apologizing for their actions, London maintained that they still identify as “transracial” Koreans. They also expressed the hope of obtaining honorary Korean citizenship.
“I want to deeply apologize from the bottom of my heart to any member of the Asian community who has ever misunderstood or misinterpreted my extreme love of Asia and Asian culture. I generally identify as Korean and transracial , and that’s how I feel inside, but I never want to offend or have people think that I don’t acknowledge the lived experiences and many struggles that Asian people face on a daily basis,” London explained.
They ended their statement by acknowledging the increase in anti-Asian hate crimes across the United States since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying, “It breaks my heart every time I see a person Asian or someone attacked just because of their race. ”
“I always use my voice to advocate for Asian causes and I devote a lot of my time to helping the Asian community and I promise to continue to do so by using my platform to do good and help others who need help. .”
Image selected via Oli London