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Miss Chunhyang beauty pageant winner says contest was learning opportunity

Kim Min-seol, winner of this year’s Miss Chunhyang beauty pageant (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
Kim Min-seol, winner of this year’s Miss Chunhyang beauty pageant (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)

Kim Min-seol, a 22-year-old student at the Seoul Institute of Art, won the top award at the Miss Chunhyang beauty pageant in Namwon, North Jeolla Province, May 19.

“For me, it was a learning opportunity,” Kim said during a recent interview with The Korea Herald. “I understand that beauty pageants are becoming an issue. By participating in the contest and winning, I found out that the Miss Chunhyang beauty pageant does not focus only on external beauty but also provides a chance to learn the virtues of our time.”

Established in 1950, the Chunhyang beauty pageant is part of the Chunhyang Festival, named after the heroine of the Korean classic “Chunhyangjeon” -- a love story between Seong Chunhyang, the daughter of a retired courtesan, and Lee Mong-ryong, a nobleman’s son.

Kim explained that when preparing for the pageant, she had taken some time for self-reflection.

“I thought about the modern translation of the character Chunhyang and what similarities I may have with her,” she said. “I thought that confidence is what we have in common. This process was important because I could understand myself better and this has helped me during the competition.”

At the beginning of the contest, she was a little intimidated because the other contestants were so talented but she soon learned to enjoy the process, Kim said.

“For nine days, we practiced Korean traditional dance together as a team. It was not easy for 24 strangers who would not have met if it were not for this competition to practice a dance together. But the process helped us to bond,” Kim said.

Kim also shared her experience participating in the Miss Chunhyang beauty pageant amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“The staff checked our temperatures day and night and we tried to keep our distance. Also, there was no audience,” she said. “A special performance was supposed to take place in the Gwanghallu Pavilion, but this was not possible either. So the organizers instead created a special performance in front of the Chunhyang Culture and Art Center with an LED screen. They also prepared hair corsages to make the performance look more splendid. I was grateful for this,” Kim said.

She added that it was too bad she could not stay in Namwon and take part in the Chunhyang Festival after the pageant ended.
 
Kim Min-seol, winner of this year’s Miss Chunhyang beauty pageant (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
Kim Min-seol, winner of this year’s Miss Chunhyang beauty pageant (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)

“After the competition, we had to return home,” Kim said. “But I think we all have to adjust to the new environment.”

Toward the end of the interview, Kim talked about her goals for the future.

“I consider participating in the contest as having given me this identity of Chunhyang. With this identity, I would like to continue to take on more challenges in the future,” she said. “I am studying acting, so my next goal is to show my acting in front of many people.”



By Song Seung-hyun (ssh@heraldcorp.com)
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