A British influencer has allegedly undergone surgery numerous times in an attempt to look like BTS singer Jimin. “I’m finally Korean!” they said in a video shared with TMZ. “I’ve transitioned. I’m so, so happy I’ve completed my look. I’m finally Korean, guys: I have the eyes, I’ve just had the brow lift as well.”
The influencer previously went by Oli London but recently changed their name to Jimin to closer align themselves with BTS. In a series of posts, the non-binary social media star revealed that they’ve felt “trapped” in the wrong body for eight years and now feel like they can finally “be myself” because they’re “Korean.” The process allegedly involved 18 surgeries, took several years to complete, and cost over $150,000 to pull off.
In other parts of the video, Jimin the influencer spoke in Korean and explained why they decided to get plastic surgery in the first place. “I know it’s a little confusing, nobody has ever come out as Jimin or Korean, but this is something you guys know… I’ve really struggled with identity issues with who I am,” they said. “Being Transexual is the same as being TRANSRACIAL because you are born in the wrong body.”
Many fans have spoken out against Jimin’s decision to call themselves Korean, as the influencer is neither from Korea nor ethnically Korean. Prior to surgery, they identified their race as caucasian. But the British influencer has only doubled down on their terminology. “Yes I identify as Korean. Yes I’m non-binary. Yes I look like Jimin. But none of this should be a reason to outcast me from society, to dehumanise me and shame me for being who I am, a non-binary Korean person,” they wrote on Instagram. “I will never stop being the person I was born to be!”
It’s wrong, of course, to bully someone for how they look, their sexuality, or their gender identity. However, there’s an obvious line when it comes to cultural appropriation — and, in this case, straight-up racial masquerading. From Rachel Dolezal to Jessica Krug, attempting to change your race — be it through makeup, haircuts, or surgery — is rooted in racism, even if it stems from good intentions or an intense appreciation for another race. As Robyn Autry, the chair of the Sociology Department at Wesleyan University, said in a piece for NBC News, “This is the power of privilege: The power to opt in and out of identities, to dramatically defend or chastise yourself before the viewing public, the power to redirect virtually every media outlet to your farfetched story.”
There has yet to be a statement from BTS or Jimin about their fan’s surgical transformation. To be fair, BTS may be too busy to comment because they’re scoring their fourth No. 1 single with “Butter” and celebrating the group’s eighth year together with a special two-day concert weekend.