From France we fly to South Korea on this jowl-hating journey to combat the global pandemic of ageing and ugliness. Rachel is in Seoul, a city with the highest plastic surgery rate in the world. “You probably think I’m in Los Angeles – where I live – but I’m not”. The big takeaway here is that Rachel lives in LA, and don’t you bloody forget it cobber.
If Los Angeles is the City of Angels, Seoul is the City of Weird Moisturising Boob and Butt Pads. The streets are lined with boutique stores selling all kinds of feel-good gloop. There’s bird’s nest powder, snail secretion cream, and caviar masks. Much to Rachel’s delight, the guys are into it too! “I use BB cream” beams one man on the street. Ah hell, they told us about this in France too. I have got to get me some BB cream.
Rachel visits a 23 year-old who went on a GAME SHOW to win PLASTIC SURGERY. “Now people look at me and think I’m beautiful” she says, voice quivering. “I don’t even know what to say”, says Rachel. Our beauty huntress has a lot to think about now. “My ugly duckling stage turned out fine” she muses, “but what if it doesn’t?!” It’s as if she has suddenly seen the ghosts of millions of teenagers, all without lucrative Trumpet deals. They are chanting, but she can’t quite make out what they are saying.
Full of questions, she heads to a plastic surgeon to get her supermodel appearance ripped to shreds by a man wearing a surgical cap covered in peace signs. “At my age, I know there are things that need to be done,” Rachel says, forlorn. You betcha! Old peace du-rag has got big plans for her face – laser beams, fillers, lifts, liposuction. Rachel is royally owned, whilst peace hat strokes his jowls proudly. “It improves self-esteem,” he says. After that, no wonder.
From the plastic surgery offices of Ed Gein to a more traditional area, Rachel finds her inner beauty being assessed by a traditional healer called Dong Su, who is wielding a very invasive wooden stick. He goes absolutely HAM with it, running it across her body and seemingly up her butt?! Seems crazy for this to be on telly. Rachel is screeching with laughter, and it’s amazing how a stick up the butt appears way a more comfortable exchange than having a manic plastic surgeon tell you to lift your eyebrow by 0.5mm immediately.
Dong Su tells Rachel that she has a “feverish heart”, which sounds to me like the fifth unpublished Twilight novel. To fix it, she needs a LOT of gooseberries. The market yields dried gooseberries, ground up millipedes and bullfrog tea. Rachel downs it all in a single bound, and I realise that she’s actually real awesome. “It smells like urination,” she says. Kiwi legend.
After conquering those market delights, Rachel goes on an absolute bender of miracle snacks. She chows down on some pork skin, because apparently it’s jacked full of collagen. You can also just plaster it on your face as a mask apparently, and I have a flashback to Come Dine With Me NZ. There’s also cancer-curing soup on offer full of tofu, urchin, garlic and seaweed. It looks delicious, and Rachel confirms that it is delicious. And that she still has property in LA.
In the taxi home, Rachel reflects on what she has learned. “I’ve never even seen this kind of thing in LA”, she says, reminding us where she lay her head one last time. With a tummy full of cancer-combatting tofu and a head full of plastic surgeon-instilled insecurities, Rachel hits the karaoke bar to do ‘Gangnam Style’. The perfect end to a perfect episode.
So ends the second leg of the tour. As with last week, I am taking stock of all the things I need to achieve the ultimate, global ideal of beauty and youth. Feel free to copy and paste it into your own shopping list as it grows exponentially:
- boob sticker thing
- caviar face mask
- fricken’ lasers
- brow lift
- peace bandanna
- bullfrog tea
- cancer-preventing soup
- red lipstick
- red nail polish
- BB cream
- dry shampoo
- Trench coat
- Face wine
- Body wine
- Drinking wine
- Large steak, fries, cheeses and pastries
- None of these and just vegetables ^
- Skunk perfume
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The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.