K-pop contest tell Shimali De Silva, 14, she looks too old and needs plastic surgery

For anyone worried about pop culture’s obsession with youth, here’s a cautionary tale.

An Australian singing hopeful who got through to the final of an international pop contest saw her joy turned to despair when she was told she needed plastic surgery to look younger – even though she was just 14.
Shimali De Silva, who now lives in Hong Kong, was taken to see a plastic surgeon by organisers of the K-Pop Star Hunt, a Korean talent contest.
She told the South China Morning Post the surgeon proposed major changes to her appearance, telling her, “You’re 14, but you look 30”.
Shimali was flown to Seoul last November after posting an audition on Youtube – shown below – that won her the Hong Kong leg of Star Hunt. She was filmed along with other contestants. During the filming they were told they would be given a “surprise”, which turned out to be the consultation with the surgeon.
Shimali, now 15, told the paper: “The doctor brought out this terrible mugshot and said to me, ‘You’re 14, but you look 30’. He pointed out the curvature of my forehead, the ratio of my nose to my chin, all this stuff that I hadn’t even thought about.
“I was trying not to be affected by it, but as a 14-year-old, people tell you that the way you look is important if you want to break into this industry; that sunk in and I started tearing up.”
After Shimali called her in tears from the toilet in the doctor’s clinic, her mother Ruanthi flew out to Seoul to retrieve her daughter.
“We teach our children to be proud of who they are, that they should be judged not by the colour of their skin but by their good actions,” said Ruanthi, who come from Sri Lanka. “Suddenly, my daughter was told that her skin, her nose, her face are not right; my heart was breaking.”

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