There are many words to describe Kim Ki-soo: beauty creator, makeup artist, comedian, influencer. And now he can add one more to the list -- author.
Kim recently published a makeup tutorial book, based on his mobile-centric beauty tutorial show titled “Do You Want to Live Pretty or Not?” produced by SBS.
Kim Ki-soo poses for photos, holding his book, at a press conference at SBS broadcasting station, western Seoul, Wednesday. (SBS)
“It’s the first time that a mobile show has been made into a book. The show’s original target were viewers aged from 18 to 24 years old, but the book’s printing shows, the viewers’ range was wider than we had expected,” producer Ock Jung-ah said.
Kim attributes his success in the beauty industry to his uniqueness. He started out as a comedian but turned to the beauty scene after facing a legal battle for sexual harassment. Although he was found innocent, he had trouble finding work in TV from that point on.
After the setback, he started another life as a beauty creator, uploading tutorials on his YouTube channel. At the time, Kim had been unofficially pursuing male grooming for more than 30 years.
“As a child-actor, I saw people going into vans (makeup stations) and coming out looking beautiful,” Kim said, recalling the beginning of his affection for grooming. “I was intrigued, wondering, ‘What makes them so pretty?’”
His secret obsession finally paid off, offering him a chance to teach makeup techniques to a larger public, cooperating with SBS’s mobile platform. The show, launched in December 2016, has recorded more than 100 million hits in total with its 53 episodes. “From not being ‘chosen,’ now I am a person who ‘chooses,’” Kim said.
Kim is a pursuer of genderless makeup. He is usually referred to as Korea’s Jeffree Star, a sensational male makeup artist in the United States. But Kim underlines that he is different from the global beauty guru.
“Jeffree Star pursues drag-queen makeup, women’s maquillage. But I want a sense of masculinity on my face, to accentuate my facial features while still looking like a man,” he said. “It’s a matter of taste.”
While some cast doubts on learning makeup through a book, Gwak Min-ji scriptwriter of the show, is confident. “To produce the mobile show, we first write a script about how to apply a beauty product based on Kim’s tips. Then reading the script, we do it ourselves,” she said. “Doing makeup by reading about it is definitely possible.”
Kim highlighted that he is not arguing everyone has to apply makeup. He said, “I am a male in his 40s who puts on makeup because I want to. Everyone can live as one wants to and be proud of it.”