One weekend in Korea. My brushes with Seoul of late have been frequent, short, and sweet, what with the turn of the new year’s 24 hours of madness and this past month’s weekend in Seoul. I’ve been partnering with Laneige for over a year now, ever since my Uniquely U campaign with them last year, where I introduced you guys to the behind the scenes of life as I know it – struggles, cat, and all. Over the past year I’ve been both a fan of and collaborator with the brand, and it’s been a blast thus far. So we decided to make our union official with a little honeymoon to Seoul..

I kid, I kid. I represented Laneige Singapore in Seoul for the Laneige Global Beauty Camp this year, despite not being very much in the way of a beauty blogger. In my head I initially thought this meant a boot camp of intensive make up classes, learning to tightline and contour, so on and so forth. But Laneige had something pretty different in mind – something much more aligned with my own line of thought..


Night 1 in Korea
The tenet of the brand’s messaging this year is to find your own sparkling beauty. It’s a generic term that immediately draws links to makeup, and let’s be real – Laneige is a company that deals predominantly in cosmetics and skincare. Which is valid and reasonable and totally fine. But every brand has its own approach to the industry they sit in, and this is where Laneige and I see eye to eye the most – finding the delicate balance between beauty and confidence. Because so much of the chatter surrounding the beauty industry is criticism of societal norms and standards, and this is something I’ve always struggled to come to terms with as well. A part of me resists the idea of being dependant on makeup as symbolic of a giving in to/reliance on media-curated standards of beauty, but another part of me just really freakin loves glittery eyeshadow. This is an issue I have with many aspects of my life – is it possible to be a feminist and still enjoy the song Blurred Lines ? I mean, it is so damned catchy. And so on.

There is a point where you have to come to terms with the idea that you can be totally yourself and also have green shimmery eyelids and golden hair. And this point is unique to every individual, of course. Some people are happy to never wear make up. Some are happy to spend every morning sweating it out along with Cassey Ho on youtube, even if that does sound like my personal idea of hell. Some can’t stand having a single hair on their body, and so obsessively shave and epilate and pluck, and some others can’t be bothered and so let it all hang. You know. Whatever rocks your boat. I’ve said this before – as long as you find your own balance, and not impose that balance on others, it’s generally all cool.

And so Laneige has concurred, if not in word, then in deed, with their latest campaign. Find your sparkling beauty, they tout, but they don’t tell you what it is – the onus of creation and discovery is on you. Instead, they provide the arsenal of tools with which you might use to carve your idea of what your best and most comfortable look is..


Prepping up with the Laneige BB cushion, which I swear by
I do have to put it out there that being a global beauty brand, the underlying assumption we all operate under is that people who attend the beauty camp (i.e. me) or walk into their stores (i.e. also me) are there because we are interested in skincare and makeup. There is no parading of lifestyle here, pushing people who dont care about foundation to try the latest iteration of their signature bb cushion. In some sense, Laneige is preaching to the converted – which does simplify things. And to the converted, they say: know your skin tone.


At a color consulting class
We all have a general idea of what we like and what we dont when it comes to color and cut. And vaguely, what works for us, and what doesn’t. But a huge part of this is understanding what your skin tone is and how it relates to the colors you wear on your body or even your hair. I’ve always heard the words blue undertone and yellow undertone thrown around but not really understand it, and over the course of the beauty camp I came to realise that they were all just schmancy terms for cool and warm skin tone.

The right tone can cause your skin to look brighter and clearer the same way the wrong one will clash with your skin tone and cause your entire face to look duller. And it’s never really about the color, but the tone – which means to say that everyone can rock a red lip, as long as they find the right red tone! During the color consulting class I was informed that my skin tone was cool and that my hair color was totally wrong for me. HAHA. To be fair, my hair color was a really warm blonde that had faded from a previously cooler shade of ash, and I’d just never been arsed to go get it redone. So, serves me right I suppose. I flew back to Singapore the following week and got it done in grey.. After all, when a professional korean colourist tells you your hair color’s just not working for you, you don’t ignore her!


one on one styling session with celebrity stylist 같은 한씨 히히히
We also did a style consultation with the same stylist that styles Song Hye Kyo. That’s her name in korean – 같은 한씨 히히히, pronounced Han Hye Yeon. Despite it being the first time meeting her, I felt so overwhelmed by her warmth and cheery nature. It’s awful that we often expect the mega-successful and talented to write us off, but we do, and so when we meet the extremely talented and equally humble and generous in spirit, it bowls us over. The style consultation was one of the most enjoyable bits of the trip because Hye Yeon is amazing – she was just so easy to get along with and so kind!

This was the thread of our trip, essentially, meeting all these industry experts who were there for the specific purpose of teaching us how to create the best look for us. I had the stylist-assisted epiphany that my sparkling color was deep purple – ie. the color I look best in, and so should wear for special occasions like when i want to go for a job interview, impress my boyfriend, etcetera etcetera. HAHA. And it’s true – when she lifted the purple fabric to my face, everyone in the room gasped. Very Princess Diaries moment. Or One Day: But Miss Morley, you’re beautiful! So on and so forth.

But one other thing I appreciated that stood out for me was the way they weaved in a holistic understanding of what beauty is to them as a brand: confidence, ambition, and making the most of life. On our first night Laneige threw a gala dinner with a mentoring class by Kim Soo Young, korean author and motivational speaker. This was something the PR team gave me a heads up about before the trip because they knew it’d be interesting to me specifically – getting to meet and learn from an author who knows what’s what in the publishing industry, even if it’s an industry in a completely different language! And it was – but not in the way i expected. The main takeaway I got from her talk wasn’t so much the technicalities of publishing in Korea, but the knowledge that if you’re putting your mind to it, there’s really nothing you cannot do. So much of the limitations we face are self-imposed (and fine, plenty of them are society imposed, but if we live according to that all the time we’re in a fair bit of trouble) and for some reason we’ve always assumed that we can do about one thing as a vocation, in our entire lives. Well, not so. Kim Soo Young was an author, wrote a screenplay for television, hiked a ridiculous mountain, worked in fashion, and did a ton of other things because she decided she was going to. And it wasnt easy – obviously it wasnt – but i have come to believe that some people make it look easy simply by not whining about it and by just DOING IT. And that was fantastic, to me. That talk was one of the highlights of the trip, and I have now committed to doing MULTIPLE AWESOME THINGS with my life. So thanks, Kim Soo Young.


We also got to meet Song Hye Kyo. Because sometimes beauty is just beauty.
The trip wrapped with a shoot for their Global beauty lookbook. It being my first time on a high-budget korean production, the shoot was a total eye opener. Koreans really do go all out. We were split into different looks, mine being Chic (because duh) and the four set ups were incredibly gorgeous and detailed. Mine went with a very glitzy gold and monochrome look, and it felt like a total harper’s bazaar spread come to life.


Getting my hair and make up done by the team

on set for laneige
New experiences, am i right? But as glamorous as the whole thing was, nothing beat meeting the people behind the camera and clothes..

And then with our hair and make up conveniently already in place, we got changed and huddled off to their afterparty where we met a really nice guy who is also famous.


Song Jae Lim everybody
After which I was whisked away in a black car to the airport before i turned into a pumpkin at midnight, because real life called: ie. teaching in NTU the next morning halfway across the globe.. ah, the things we do for this double life!

So: a compressed weekend of glamour, beauty, and life lessons. There are few better ways to spend a weekend – that’s for sure. And I think Laneige achieved its goal pretty well – the integration of beauty and balance in a way that came across as totally authentic and absolutely heartwarming. To more beauty camps to come x

Thank you for having me, Laneige Singapore x Global!