Kim Kisoo, a make-up king, used to be sold well as a prominent comedian but his life crashed into a mud pit of malicious rumors overnight in 2010 when he was charged with sexually assaulting a young male composer while sleeping together at his home after a binge.
Although his charges were cleared finally after an intense two-year court battle, Kim was left with nothing but a scarlet letter and found himself ostracized by fellow comedians after being marked with a "promiscuous gay pervert".
To regain his honor, Kim tried hard to explain he was innocent and has no abnormal sexual habit, only to see fans turn their backs. Unable to work as an entertainer anymore, he silently disappeared.
He quickly became a forgotten figure with an online keyword search yielding almost no results. Nobody was interested or knew of his whereabouts and what he's doing to make a living.
"Although my accusations were cleared by court, no one seemed to care," Kim said in a TV interview after he came back this year as a popular YouTube make-up king and mobile TV show host. "It was painful whenever people came to me and said they are still my fans," he said. "I'm 180 centimeters tall, but I weighed only 58 kilograms at that time, sometimes puking up blood."
With his new stage name "DJKISOO", he had to live as an obscure club DJ and built up his fame diligently in the underground music scene until he saw a dramatic turnaround in his life only about four months ago when a strange YouTube video caught the eyes of make-up and cosmetics enthusiasts, shaking online beauty communities.
In the video, a person with epicene beauty introduced various make-up methods and cosmetics, making viewers wonder and debate over gender. Some eventually found out the beauty was Kim Kisoo. Starting with only two video clips, he garnered more than 150,000 views each, followed by more which gained over two million views.
Now, he has become prominent again in a totally different way, commanding a large force of about 650,000 subscribers as South Korea's first male cosmetics reviewer. Money followed him after MAC, an international cosmetics firms, selected him as its Asian market model.
"I was scared of everybody, suffering from sociophobia," he said, recalling that he once became Hemi paraplegic, his left side paralyzed because of stress. "I was so scared of malicious online comments and feared to go outside."
Kim, who always had a passion in practicing make-ups and trying on different cosmetics from his childhood, came out just after one of his friends advised him to do "whatever you are good at, and be proud of it". He had wanted to put on make-up as a comedian but couldn't do because he did not want to stir up any controversy and misunderstanding.
Up until 2009 when a male cosmetics market was created, a man wearing make-up was a social taboo. More recently, however, putting on basic or light make-ups became a trend among young men with the market growing by 10 percent every year. It is not hard to see men shopping at a dedicated section for men's cosmetics in beauty stores. Some share how to put on sun blocks and moisturizing creams in online male-centered communities.
Kim now hosts a popular mobile TV beauty show "Do You Want to Live Pretty?" which has scored total view counts of over 20 million in just three months. Someday, he hopes to launch an affordable cosmetics brand so that his YouTube scribers can easily buy them.
He also wants to forgive those who have haunted him. "I am sorry for making you guys worry. I am grateful for your support," he wrote on his Instagram. "I try to forgive, but I will not forget those who tried to frame me."
Park Sae-jin = firstname.lastname@example.org