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‘The Fabulous’ K-drama lives up to its title

By MONIQUE TODA, The Philippine STAR Published Dec 23, 2022 5:00 am

One thing to look forward to in The Fabulous (aside from the story, of course) is the fashion. The Korean fashion industry is the focus of this “hyper-realistic” series.

The Fabulous is about the “backstage” of the fashion world, where four young friends try to make it. It depicts their individual stories behind the glamorous sheen of fashion. The drama includes their struggles, humiliations, failures, successes, and love entanglements. It is only their passion that fuels them in their chosen careers to make it in the cutthroat industry.

The four millennial friends have a mutual motto, and it’s “ride or die.” When life gets tough for them, they remind themselves by shouting it out. It is all or nothing for these unfazed novices.

Choi Min-ho plays Ji Woo-min, a freelance photographer who was described as “equipped with everything except passion.” This changes as he meets and reunites with his first love. As per Min-ho, “Woo-min is not eager, has no lifelong goal, but he thinks a lot. You see his personal growth as passion for life slowly develops.”

He immersed himself in this role by learning from a professional photographer and gaining knowledge of cameras and lighting. As a K-pop idol and actor, he is comfortable being in front of cameras but now that he knows what it takes to be on the other side, he says, “I have so much more respect for photographers.”

Choi Min-ho and Chae Soo-bin at the press conference for The Fabulous

What was his first impression after reading the script? “It came to me as being really attractive. I could empathize with it because it was a story about the fashion industry, but at the same time, it well represented the stories about the field that I am currently working in. Thus, I made a personal resolution and thought to myself that I should do my best to convey the character.”

His message to cheer on the youth in their 20s and 30s who are living fiercely every day is: “I also lived fiercely in my 20s and welcomed my 30s by living my life to the fullest every day. To all of them, push forward without any breaks!”

The four main characters in The Fabulous are played by Chae Soo-bin, Choi Min-ho, Lee Sang-woon, and Park Hee-jung, here shown at the press con organized by Netflix.

Aside from being a member of legendary K-pop group Shinee, Min-ho has been included in a number of dramas such as Yumi’s Cells, Lovestruck in the City, The Battle of Jangsari, and my favorite, Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth.

Chae Soo-bin plays his love interest Pyo Ji-eun, who works in marketing for a luxury brand agency. If you watched Where Stars Land with actor Lee Je-Hoon, she plays a lovable character. She was also in the interesting Netflix film Sweet and Sour.

To prepare for her role, she visited a luxury-brand PR firm. Ji-eun likes everything pretty and it was natural for her to get attracted to the fashion industry. There were other aspects of the drama that appealed to the actress: “Many parts of the story resonated with me because it showed the work, love, and friendship of the characters who were similar to me in age.”

The Fabulous, streaming on Netflix, depicts the struggles, love entanglements, and passion of four friends in their chosen careers in the fashion world.

What is more relatable to her are friends who are “therapeutic,” as they are there to meet up after work and help relieve stress. “When I get tired and feel defeated, I seek relief from friends.” She further states, “I think the main points of focus for The Fabulous is that the series consists not only of the chemistry of the four protagonists, but also includes the glamorous locations and attractions such as the fashion streets in Seoul and so forth.”

Among the four friends is rising star Lee Sang-woon who plays a designer named Joseph, an innovative artist, lovable, naïve but still confident. He describes his character, “Joseph is ambitious and has a lot of brilliant ideas. He grows through experiences.”

Choi Min-ho from legendary K-pop boy group Shinee plays the role of Ji Woo-min, a freelance photographer, in The Fabulous.

Park Hee-jung plays the role of supermodel Ye Seon-ho. She brings a lot of reality to her character because she is actually a real top model. She was an exclusive model of Louis Vuitton for the 2017 F/W season and has walked the runways of famous brands such as Dior, Balmain, and Burberry.

She wanted this role so much that she flew in from Paris to convince the director to hire her. It is her first acting role. “So, is it easier to act as a model in your first role?” she was asked. “The catwalk was the easiest,” she replied. Despite that, she is still learning acting and would constantly consult with the director of the drama.

Kim Jeong-hyeon of Secret Garden, Gu Family Book, and Korean Odyssey fame is the director of The Fabulous. Director Kim said that after reading the script, he felt that “this was a simple but hip series that broke away from the conventional feel of the romantic comedy genre.”

Chae Soo-bin plays Pyo Ji-eun, the love interest of Choi Min-ho’s character in The Fabulous.

He gained inspiration from fashion documentaries and videos, and focused on creating the right harmony and balance of reality and drama. He also consulted people who are actually working or have worked in the fashion industry. He summarizes the drama as “loving their own fashion, and being passionate about their love lives is the fashion and passion of The Fabulous.”

He had an interesting way of directing the actors. Chae Soo-bin mentioned that Kim included each character’s MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator), which was very helpful to get a more precise view of their personalities. This MBTI is popular in Korea now. Her character of Pyo Ji-eun is an ENFJ, which means she has traits that are extroverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging.

Meanwhile, Choi Min-ho’s character Ji Woo-min is an INFJ, which is introverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging. Director Kim was also instrumental in getting the four actors, who were initially shy, to get along and become friends.

As mentioned, not to be missed are the various and numerous OOTDs. Fashion experts were called in to create the perfect visuals for The Fabulous, which included hair and makeup artists, and famous designers such as the winner of the fashion survival show Next in Fashion Minju Kim, Jaybaek Couture, LEE y.LEE y, YCH, and Doucan.

Minju Kim, whose clothes are described as authentically Korean and beautiful, was behind the designs of Joseph. She thought it was important to “create a collection and design for Joseph that is glowing more brightly than anything else, alongside Joseph who is mischievous, like a child.” She produced an impressive 150 pieces for the drama.

The Fabulous is more than just fashion but also about enduring friendship. Director Kim Jeong-hyeon quoted a famous saying: “When you share happiness, it is doubled. When you share pain, it is halved.”

The Fabulous streams on Netflix beginning Dec. 23.

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For more information on The Fabulous, visit  www.netflix.com/thefabulous .