Baby-faced Beauty – Episode 1 (excerpt)
I’ve decided to attempt to recap a KDrama series like a series of novels. Below is an excerpt from the first episode of “Baby Faced Beauty” starring Daniel Choi and Jang Na Ra. Warning: Each chapter / episode is going to several thousand words.
There’s nothing worse than starting out your day finding out you’ve just been let go from your job of fourteen years. This is our Lee So Young’s day began. Sure, the job wasn’t all that exciting, working for a fabric company, but she had always wanted to work in the clothing industry. Now, at 34 years old, her manager, make that her former manager, advised her to get married while she still looked younger than her years.
So Young decided that evening to appeal one last time to her boss; unfortunately, she needed a little Dutch courage and drunkenly staggered into the company’s nightly noraebang party.
“If I don’t have a job, my family will have to live on the streets!” she drunkenly begged, hanging on to her surprised boss. The awkward silence doesn’t last long, and So Young found out the real reason: she’s been let go for a younger and perkier twenty-something.
Disheartened and drunk, she staggered her way home; stopping to clear out her stomach in the time-honored tradition against a nearby light pole. A poster of SNSD presented her with a chance for conversation, but the Girls just didn’t have any new insight for her situation.
In a nearby part of the city, a lonely man sat at a pojangmacha, surrounded by empty soju bottles. The exasperated proprietress rolled her eyes at his inebriated announcement that he quit before he was fired, and quickly chased him out so she could close down for the night and get back to her two daughters.
So Young stopped by and briefly chatted with her mother, but, since her momwas shutting down the p’macha, it wasn’t the best time to announce her job loss.
The next day dawned bright and early for the busy workers at The Style, and Marketing Director Choi Jin Wook was already in full speed mode; he dodged the other workers as he ran pell-mell for the Designer Room. A runway couture show was scheduled to begin almost immediately, and the special jewelry pieces never made it to the hall.
“You should have checked that well in advance,” he grumbled to Manager Jang Ki Hong over the phone, “since it’s an important accessory”. He wasn’t able to find the items needed, so Jin Wook scooped everything into a bag and hoofed it over to the showcase venue.
With the grace and quick moves of a linebacker, Jin Wook made it to the changing rooms with minutes to spare. He was quickly directed to Ki Hong by the other harried workers.
Ceiling lights dimmed as everyone’s attention concentrated on the stage. Music pulsed from strategically-placed speakers as this season’s Olivia Lauren fashion show began, the parade of beauties strobed by camera flashes as they strutted their stuff.
In the audience near the end of the catwalk, The Style’s President, Ji Sueng Il, clapped politely as each model showed next season’s designs. So far, everything appeared to be running smoothly.
Everything was NOT running smoothly behind the scenes. In his haste, Jin Wook tripped and ended up sprawled at Ki Hong’s feet.
“Why are you so late?” The designer all but yelled at the young man on the floor, “It’s about to start!” He dropped to his knees and frantically upended the bag, scattering the piles of beads and ribbons. “Quick, help me look!”
Jin Wook took a moment to catch his breath, then replied, “I’m the Managing Director, not the designer.” Nevertheless, he began to root through the colorful pile, although he had no idea what he was looking for.
“There it is!” crowed Ki Hong, pointing at a large grey bead. Unfortunately, a passing model kicked it with her Jimmy Choo knockoff, sending it rolling away as the frantic director scrambled to his feet to chase after it. Completely focused on the prize and with a final lunge, he grabbed the errant ball.
A sudden flurry of camera flashes made him realize he had ended up onstage, but only the executives knew something was amiss. A bluff was in order.
Jin Wook stood up, put on a cheeky grin, and worked the crowd. Everything from James Bond to Michael Jackson, the audience was entranced at his outrageous behavior.
However, a cold look from Sueng Il to the stage director promised retribution.
Jin Wook was oblivious to the glowering executives as he flung his hat to a cheering audience and ran back behind the stage. He quickly gave the errant bead to the designer, who immediately dangled it on a necklace and all but shoved the model downstage for the final tableau.
The audience complimented President Ji on a wonderful show as the two conspirators backstage smiled at each other.
It had been a grueling experience for So Young this morning. The excuses against hiring were legion, the most egregious being her age (older than her potential boss). She knew she would do a terrific job, if only someone could get past her age and give her a chance! She sighed and continued her search for employment. A family friend hailed her as she passed by his shop.
“An alteration shop nearby is hiring, and right away I thought of you,” he cheerfully said as they walked down the alleyway to the small business. Although it was not something So Young had ever tried, she was desperate.
The ahjumma owner almost immediately dismissed her, and So Young tried again.
“See these clothes? I designed and sewed them myself.” And with that, the business owner agreed to take her on a trial basis. It wasn’t glamorous, but it had the potential for good, solid work.