It's an accepted truism that all beauty pageant contestants have a certain similar "look," but one Japanese blog has touched off a firestorm of speculation that South Korea's plastic surgery craze may have taken that cliché too far.
It's an established fact that South Korea has one of, if not the highest rate of plastic surgery per capita in the entire world, and a Japanese blog covering South Korean topic recently wondered out loud if the phenomenon hasn't unintentionally turned the country's Miss Korea beauty pageant into a clone parade.
Photos posted on the site claim to show Miss Korea 2013 contestants [see corrections below] before and after their "transformation," but it remains unclear if the apparent similarities stem from surgery or from something far more banal such as makeup or photoshop.
Still, the Twilight Zone-sh quality of the result, along with a group photo showing several beauty pageant hopefuls "pre-transformation" has sparked significant dialog concerning South Korea's "plastic surgery problem."
"You arent racist," one local wrote in a Reddit post on the topic. "Those women in fact do look unnervingly similar and yes, Koreans think so too. This is because they all get the exact same plastic surgeries and the surgeons follow the same formulas for noses and eyes and everything else theyve had done."
"Girls here consider eye surgery just like using make up," another Korean Redditor chimed in.
Others, however, weren't entirely in agreement.
Another user claiming to be from Korea insisted the entrants "dont look the same, but they look eerily similar."
And one top comment pointed out that much the same could be said about Miss USA 2013 contestants, several of whom could be mistaken for each other.
"Even in a country as diverse as the US you'll see a lot of similar looking women in these pageants because there's a certain aesthetic they're looking for (styled or shopped) that changes with what's considered attractive to that particular culture at that point in time," wrote user adlauren.
Correction: A few clarifications, courtesy of our sister-site Kotaku and a number of tipsters: The contestants shown above are participating in the Miss Daegu 2013 beauty pageant, and the winner will go on to participate in the Miss Korea pageant. The women seen in the "before" photo above are contestants in the Miss Seoul 2013 pageant. You can click over to Kotaku to see the real "before" photo of the Miss Daegu contestants.