Another Cinderella-esque rom-com, but unlike the fairy tale, our heroine prefers to see her “Cinderella” character as headstrong and anti-establishment (or disobedient).

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Main cast:

  • So Ji-sub (previously from Master Sun) as another chaebol, this time a chaebol-health nut, Kim Young-ho. At the moment, we dunno why he chooses to venture into training pro-boxers, instead of heading the US branch of his family business, like he should.
  • Shin Min-a (previously from Arang and the Magistrate) as Kang Joo-eun. Used to own the “title” of “Daegu Venus”, Joo-eun has since lost her “shine” (aka her perceived Venusian qualities). In return for putting on a few kilos, she attained her dream of becoming a lawyer.
  • Jung Gyu-woon (previously from Birth of a Beauty) as Im Woo-sik. Joo-eun’s 15-year running beau, who recently breaks up with her. Either he is tired of her as Joo-eun, or tired of seeing a fatty Joo-eun.
  • Yoo In-young (previously from Mask) as Oh Soo-jin. Once Joo-eun’s chubby friend, she has now slimmed down (a lot), and gained a rather nasty attitude typical of second female leads.

Synopsis:

For full recaps, pls read Dramabeans.

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16 years ago, when Joo-eun was still in high school, she was the Belle of Daegu, earning her the nickname of “Daegu Venus” and also a high profile boyfriend, Woo-sik, who was a national swimmer.

16 years later, Joo-eun is now a lawyer in a small law firm, dealing with divorce cases (sometimes for the mistresses involved in the divorce). She has also gained a few pounds, and naturally, lost the “title” of Venus.

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During a flight back to Seoul from a work trip, she happens to meet Young-oh, in rather embarrassing circumstances. Young-ho’s family run a traditional medicine business (?), and he also owns a practising traditional meds license. He helps to revive Joo-eun after she collapses on the flight to Seoul, and their fates get intertwined from then on.

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For no apparent reasons (other than sheer coincidence?), Young-oh is always the one who happens to extend a helping hand to Joo-eun in bad circumstances. Be it being stalked by a weird guy on a rainy night, or rescuing her from shame in front of Woo-sik and his new squeeze, Soo-jin (who also happens to be Joo-eun’s friend — once).

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Soo-jin is no longer the meek, introverted, chubby friend Joo-eun knew though. She is now slim, prettier and has an axe to grind with her ex-best friend. All because of Soo-jin’s first love, who ends up falling for the prettier Joo-eun. Well, Joo-eun isn’t one to sit by and let people walk all over her, so when she finds out Young-ho is the fabled “John Kim” who can “transform” women and their fates, she beelines to him for help.

Review:

Venus gives me a certain Birth of a Beauty vibes. Their narratives are pretty similar — chubby woman gets a makeover, and her life changes from then on. We even have Jung Gyu-woon playing the same archetype of a superficial hubby/ long time boyfriend, who also happen to be the male lead’s corporate competitor. And our male leads in both Venus and Beauty are chaebols, who somehow are shirking their corporate duties. One prefers to buff out in the gym, the other likes to play plastic surgeon. (heck, even the titles are similar…)

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Despite the similarities though, I much prefer Venus over Beauty. Ok, maybe cos of Shin Min-a (i adore her ever since her gumiho days)…but mainly also cos of Kang Joo-eun as a character. While Joo-eun may have lost her “beauty” (actually, she is still very beautiful), she hasn’t become someone else. She’s still that spitfire confident girl 16 years ago, who isn’t afraid to stand up for herself or her friends.

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Though she may at times be a little bothered by the slinky ladies around her, Joo-eun doesn’t develop an inferiority complex from it. She still gorges on chicken, sugar and late night suppers as she likes it. Unlike Soo-jin. Despite transforming physically, deep down, it’s kinda obvious she feels she is still “lacking”. Her petty need to revenge on Joo-eun reveals how deep seated her inferiority complex is. Even though Joo-eun now is perceivably “uglier” than her, Soo-jin still needs to prove she is “better”. By robbing Joo-eun of her long-time boyfriend and trying to make her life miserable.

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That said, I still welcome Joo-eun’s reverting to her former self — for the simple reason of the prosthetic enhancements making poor Shin Min-a lisps a little.

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