How many times have you wanted to steal an outfit from Gossip Girl
's Serena van der Woodsen or Duchess Kate? Or, for that matter, Alexa Chung? Well, multiply that by 100 and you'll understand the Jun Ji Hyun effect in South Korea (and beyond). When this beloved actress and model reaches for something, fans worldwide follow suit.
It all started last summer, when Jun shot to superstardom for her role as the mildly obnoxious, but lovable actress Cheon Song Yi in the Korean drama My Love from Another Star.
The story goes like this: Do Min Joon (played by Kim Soo Hyun) is an alien who’s lived on Earth for centuries. Right before he’s about to ditch the planet for good, he falls in love with the famous Cheon. Yeah...don’t ask — just watch
. As wacky as the plotline is, Jun has succeeded in making the drama go viral and proved to the world — and brands — that every product she touches turns to gold.
Celebrity endorsements carry serious weight in fad-chasing Seoul. Celebs make trends catch fire — fast. When your face is stamped on coffee mixes, maxi pads, and laundry machines, it’s a sign that you’re a prominent and relevant fixture in Korea’s society — and these powers are even more at work than they are stateside. To understand the sheer magnitude of Jun's influence, picture this: If you take a short walk down the street in Seoul, you’re guaranteed to see her face staring back at you, on ads for department stores, cosmetics shops, optometrists' offices, fried-chicken joints, and seemingly every bar and restaurant. She's Cara D, she's Kate Moss, she's those K sisters who shall not be named.
In China, you'll see echoes of Jun in people's haircuts, makeup, and shoes. She's made lipsticks sell out in Australia. In one episode of her TV show, she shared a little ritual: “On a snowy day, I feel like eating chicken and beer.” Subsequently, fried chicken and beer sales
surged in China. It's reached Regina George-like proportions (except, you know, on an international scale).
Jun's show has had a global effect, too: ABC is adapting the drama into a remake
catered toward U.S. audiences. Until then, though, you can check out just a few of the many products she's made famous, ahead.
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