Sugar Baby’s Review Corner: Shadow Beauty

Shadow Beauty

Genre: Thriller, Psychological, Romance
Origin: South Korea
Episodes: 15
Air-date: Nov 20, 2021 – Dec 29, 2021
Starring: Shim Da Gil as Koo Ae Jin / “Genie”, Choi Mo Bin as Kim Ho In, Lee Na Gyung as Genie /Sun Mi Jin, Hyo Jung Hee as Yang Ha Neul

Because of her looks, Koo Ae Jin is bullied at school and even insulted by strangers. But after school, she leads a secret life: with heavy makeup and hours of photo editing, she lives as Genie, a social media star with 770K followers. While Koo Ae Jin is toeing the line between her true self and Genie, what will happen when a boy from school discovers her secret?


Happy New Year! My first review of the year! Boom boom! Now as stated in Whatcha Watchin’, I’m in a drama slump and the only thing that was helping was rewatching Yanxi Palace. I was curious about Shadow Beauty and waited until it was complete so that I could binge it. I managed to not lose interest, but I’m not sure if my drama slump is over yet. Anyways, I thought this had a very interesting premise and was similar to True Beauty except that I liked the whole concept of her being an entirely different person online and this was promised to have some psychological elements to it. I also had read the True Beauty webtoon and was like meh about the drama. That being said, I think what this drama has managed to do is make me infinitely curious about the webtoon especially since I’ve heard that it wasn’t just high school but spanned her going into college too.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed watching this even if I did find that there were some plot holes and inconsistency. I felt like we were missing vital pieces of the story that were condensed down into these thirteen episodes and since it is still a currently releasing drama they had to do their own ending. This was probably one of the few dramas where I was able to really and truly sympathize with the bully character. The arc for Ha Neul was fantastic and I will give props where it is due! Heo Jung Hee did an excellent job. Similar to how Shim Dal Gi did wonderfully. I know a lot felt like her acting was OTT or out of balance but she owned the scene and the role. The variations in the way Ae Jin would seem like a poor, sad protagonist but also completely unhinged and vindictive was wonderful. I also liked that although In Ho and Ae Jin were so similar and for a while it seemed like they would become a love line, they didn’t, which was refreshing.

Unfortunately, I do think the story could’ve done a better job at really enforcing the way the beauty standard keeps society in a chokehold. The way the children kept bullying each other as soon as the other fell out of popularity was very typical. I know that the scene of having Sae Hee throw the hot water into Mi Jin’s face as the catalyst for the story, was a defining moment, but I personally believe they could’ve done a better job at character motivations. Then again, I don’t know if this is something that exists in the webtoon or not. I also think that they could’ve done a better job exploring Ae Jin’s relationship with her mother and that’s why dare I say it, this should’ve either been a longer drama? I also wonder about the fall out of all the brands and sponsorships.

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this piece of work and I wouldn’t reject the idea of a season two if the ending wasn’t the way it was. I am definitely finding the webtoon and reading it. I imagine that if you liked True Beauty this would be right up your alley except it’s not as fluffy.

Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Music: N/A
Rewatch Value: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

Published by Unbothered Unnies

A couple of ladies who love to express their opinions from anything and everything. That includes shows and music and anything in between. This blog is dedicated to our love and appreciation for Asian entertainment and culture.

2 thoughts on “Sugar Baby’s Review Corner: Shadow Beauty

  1. …well i have no problem with my kdrama intake (although if you ask my hubby it is probably on the bingeing side…) but i am always on the look out for interesting and unusual dramas…i liked True beauty in a fluffy and comfortable i will now give this one a try and see if it is as interesting as you say…Hope you get out of your slump soon…have you tried with The Red Cuff sleeve? i reckon it could bring (kdrama lovers) zombies back to life…if there was such a thing in this world! kisses from italy, Cristina

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: