An individual’s greatest struggles are often the catalyst for their future success. Such is the case for Eunchae, also known as ITSEUNCHAE and ITSEUNCHAEOFFICIAL. Eunchae’s journey was born out of her struggle with Korean beauty standards. Yet, she boldly defied conventional them and pioneered a new vision of self-acceptance and body positivity.
This South Korean content creator, drawing her inspiration from her experiences with bullying and body shaming, has quickly taken the internet by storm, becoming a TikTok sensation. Eunchae’s making her mark as the ‘Korean Chun Li’ and the first ‘Thick Asian’ to achieve such viral fame.
Growing up in Seoul, Eunchae was a target for bullies due to her non-conformity to Korean beauty standards. Tall, not rail-thin, and with a skin tone darker than what was considered ‘ideal,’ she was constantly subjected to demeaning comments and body shaming. This incessant torment left her feeling like an ‘ugly duckling,’ an outsider in her own culture.
However, Eunchae’s move to the US three years ago proved an eye-opening turning point. She soon realized that the beauty standards she grew up with, which had caused so much pain and insecurity, were not universally accepted. Instead, they were toxic and harmful, especially to impressionable teenage girls. “Hearing words like ‘you have elephant legs’ affected me a lot as a teenage girl who was unsure of herself,” Eunchae confesses. “I learned that some Korean beauty standards are toxic. It makes young teenage girls insecure and gives them unhealthy ideas about their appearance.”
In a courageous decision to challenge this toxicity, Eunchae turned to TikTok and content creation. She aimed to show that beauty isn’t a singular, standardized concept and that it’s okay not to fit into the mold of ultra-thin K-pop idols. The platform became a haven for her creativity. It also became a vehicle to share her personal journey, experiences, and interests, ranging from fashion and travel to teaching others about the Korean language and culture. Eunchae’s content quickly resonated with a broad audience, gaining her over 1.5 million followers and multiple viral videos, some boasting upwards of 18 million views.
Defying Asia’s ‘fat-shame’ culture, Eunchae proudly embraces her ‘strong legs’ and ‘anime build,’ elements that initially led to her being bullied. Her journey, coupled with her resilience, has earned her the nickname the first ‘Thick Asian.’ But Eunchae is quick to clarify, “I’m not thick at all. What I have is just a normal body, maybe with strong legs. Asian media spotlighted thin, pale girls as standards of beauty, creating stereotypes that make me look more unique.”
Looking forward, Eunchae aims to leverage her growing influence to create a clothing line, a YouTube channel centered around Korean culture and travel tips. In addition, she aspires to become a prominent Korean YouTuber, TikToker, and actor. Her ultimate goal? To be the first name that comes to mind when people think of Korea.
The girl who once hated her strong legs, darker skin, and unique build now celebrates these attributes, viewing them as what makes her stand out. She has proven that beauty is indeed more than what meets the eye. As a result, she has become a role model for countless young girls who’ve ever doubted their self-worth, proving that, indeed, “it is ok to be yourself.”