Beauty

Claudia Kim on Korean plastic surgery, kaya pancakes and her face cleansing addiction!

The bracingly blunt Bobbi Brown beauty shares her recipe for a Singapore-style breakfast (complete with kaya jam!) as well as her insane cleansing regimen and thoughts on facial fillers
 

Shocker! Claudia Kim is no cookie-cutter chanteuse. Sure, the leading lady boasts the delightfully dewy complexion so coveted in today’s K-Obsessed world, but she’s also startlingly sassy, fabulously forthright – and a baker to boot.

Presenting the best bits and bobs I’ve gleaned from the ultimate #GirlCrush during her recent sojourn to Singapore:

She’s Krazy about Kaya! Straight off the bat, the thespian proffers this tantalising tidbit: She cooks! And not just kimchi or kimbap either: This Seoul siren serves up Singapore snacks too. Well okay, maybe not quite, but Claudia cops to craving our very own coconut jam – and makes a mean pancake with the creamy concoction on the side.

Here’s the recipe ripped right out of the pages of the thespian’s cookbook: “So you combine one whole egg and three egg whites together with chia seeds, bananas and a handful of rolled oats,” says the nascent Nigella Lawson. “Put everything in a blender, then cook the batter on a griddle like you would any regular pancake. Finish by spread kaya on top: Yummy.” Career Plan B: Set up a Korean kopitiam? I’ll tap that!

Korean society is super competitive, complexion-wise. Claudia confirms my worst fears: The K-Beauty world is a combative Hunger Games-style dystopia where “just about everyone [needs to have] perfect skin – both men and women.” So yes, it’s a fight to the bitter end with lashings of lacquer and death by dry shampoo.

Picking on someone’s pimple, so to speak, is also apparently kosher in Korea: “It’s really common for people to comment on your skin; if you break out they’d be like, ‘Oh, you’ve got a zit!’ I try to prevent people from ever having the opportunity to make such comments about my skin.” Staying in Singapore it is for me, then; I won’t be able to survive having someone hit on my “sore spot” all the time!

Get this: Claudia cleanses her face between exercise reps. Well, no one can accuse this actress of not working hard for her money. “I have to exercise outdoors as part of training for [Netflix drama series] Marco Polo, and you know how when you perspire and your pores open up? That’s when the dirt goes in,” she explains. “So I tone my face between workouts with cleansing water and a couple of cotton pads before re-applying my moisturiser and sunscreen.” That’s #dedication right there for you.

FWIW, this technique does seem to have worked wonders. Having inspected her mug up close for a good half-hour, I’m happy to report that Claudia's complexion is well-nigh flawless. Being blessed with a mien that’s molded from porcelain comes in very handy indeed when you’re the first Asian face for Bobbi Brown, so all’s well that ends well, then.

She washes her face with water – bottled water, that is. This beauty “secret” would be obscenely ostentatious coming from anyone else, but here goes: “I don’t use tap water when I’m travelling because I can’t be sure how the water will affect my skin,” she reveals. “That’s a trick my model friends have taught me: They carry around bottled water and wash their face with it to prevent breakouts.” The water conservation arm of the Public Utilities Board would like to have a word with you, Claudia!

All jesting aside, the globe-trotting good-looker is hasty to highlight that she finds no fault with our water: “The tap water in Singapore is actually pretty good, but I’d be more cautious when I’m anywhere else in the world.” Oh, that’s fine then. Moving right along ...

She has a serious compulsion for chapstick. “I get panic attacks when I forget to bring along a lip balm,” the actress admits. “When that happens, I have to buy a new one immediately.” Fans, you know what to get her – and Claudia, a boatload of lip balm’s coming your way!

Any #DieDieMustBuy products? Glad you asked. Claudia’s an enthusiastic endorser of a cheerful citrus colour on her lips: “Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge range has a Calypso coral tone and that is my ultimate favourite. But right now, I’m going for more of a cherry chocolate tone – it goes well with my black outfits.”

She has an X-Men-like ability to detect faces that have been “worked” on. “I’m totally against fillers, which I find to be really unnatural,” Claudia declares, eyeballing me with her unnervingly perfect peepers. “I think I have a good eye for such things and can always tell when someone has had fillers.” Cue nervous laughter from yours truly.

You won’t be seeing her mug on a PS ad in Gangnam-gu anytime soon. For someone born and bred in the plastic surgery capital of the world, Claudia is surprisingly sanguine about the spectre of ageing: “My Caucasian colleagues on the set of Marco Polo have opened my eyes to a whole new ideal of beauty – they actually like how their wrinkles give their faces personality.”

As for herself? “I want to age gracefully and look appropriate for my age. So yeah, I’ll probably not have any work done to my face, even if my Asian peers prefer looking like they’re perpetually in their 20s.” I can only speak for myself when I say that I take her assertion at (non-Botoxed) face value!

She finds the frozen faces of certain stars “distracting” to look at. Still dwelling on all things plastic, brace yourself for a rip-roaring zinger of a pull quote: “To be very honest, I would be taken out of the moment by [Nicole Kidman]’s face. The inability to move your face limits your craft and that to me is a loss as an actress.”

And no, don’t expect her to jump on the #KylieJennerLips bandwagon, either. “I don’t use lip liner. Overdrawing your lips can make you look older, plus it tends to fade so you’re left with a ring of colour which I find very unflattering.” Ooh, that’s some seriously snarky #shade!

Ladies, learn to lighten up about your fine lines. Our proponent for “natural” beauty makes a pretty impassioned case against our fetishisation of youth. In her own words: “I think you should think long and hard about why you’re so fearful about ageing. If you’re insecure about an issue in your life, it will show on your face. Taking care of your inner self is so much more important a few extra creases on your face.”

That’s some #QOTD-worthy stuff right there. See what I mean when I say she’s the ultimate girl crush?

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