Influencer Oli London recently came out as non-binary (someone who does not identify as male or female) and “transracial.”
(Oli’s preferred pronouns are they/them, which are going to be used to refer to Oli in this article.)
Oli is known for their obsession with Jimin, a member of the K-pop supergroup BTS. The British-born influencer has so far spent over $200,000 (P9.8 million) on 18 rounds of plastic surgeries to look like the K-pop star.
Recently, Oli posted a video on their YouTube channel, with their face still swollen from a series of procedures including face lift, brow lift, temple lift, eye surgery, and they had their teeth done.
“For the first time in my life, I feel beautiful. I’m looking in the mirror and I love the way I look and I feel happy. I hope people can respect my decision,” said 31-year-old Oli, who has been altering their appearance since 2013 and has taken Jimin as a peg for their transformation since 2018.
Oli said they have been struggling with identity issues for the past eight years but decided to come out in a video post-surgery.
“It’s a very tough decision to come out this way but I am coming out as non-binary. I don’t feel like I identify as male or female. I feel like I’m just in the middle,” shared Oli.
In their coming out video, Oli also said they feel strongly about their racial identity and had been trapped in their body for the last eight years. And after they underwent a series of surgeries they called “racial transitional surgery,” Oli said they now “identify as Korean.” They also adapted a Korean name—Jimin.
After identifying as Korean, They have reportedly received death threats and immense online backlash, which are not new for Oli. For years, they have become quite infamous for K-pop fans, especially getting much vitriol from some ARMYs (BTS’ fan base) who are protective of their idols. Oli have also said in the past that they are an ARMY.
Oli has also been accused of appropriation of Korean culture.
Oli lived in South Korea for some time and they said in previous interviews that it was the time they fell in love with the country’s culture, food, and of course, K-pop. They have ventured into the colorful world of K-pop and now have recorded songs like Koreaboo and Plastic is Fantastic.
Oli has gone great lengths to profess their love for Korea and Jimin. In 2020, they married a cardboard cutout of the K-pop star in a Las Vegas Chapel.
Appearing on TV show Dr. Phil in 2020, Oli said they were unhappy ever since they were a teenager as they were teased a lot in school. It was when they moved to South Korea in 2013 when they became obsessesed with the culture, food, K-pop and especially BTS.
In a recent interview with TMZ, Oli defended themselves from those who criticize them for identifying as Korean.
“As much as I love Jimin and BTS, it’s not just about them. It’s also about Korea. It’s about the people, the culture, the food. I’m 100-percent Korean,” said Oli, who said their coming out was partly inspired by Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who identifies as black.
People have questioned Oli’s intention of identifying differently from their birth race, most of them saying that Oli does all of these for attention. Oli has this to say, “Nobody would do this for attention. Nobody would go through this much pain, this much suffering. I’m doing this as how I identify, how I feel,” they said in their coming out video.
Speaking with Sky News, Oli said coming out was not about sparking controversy or negativity. “At the end of the day, I’m a human being living in my truth.”
Banner and thumbnail photos from @londonoli