Miss Korea contestants pick Lee Ha-nui as role model
By Grace Kim
An overwhelming majority of contestants in the 2012 Miss Korea pageant have voted Lee Ha-nui, 29, better known as Honey Lee in Western media, as their role model, according to a beauty website.
Forty out of 55 contestants replied they want to be like Lee Ha-nui in a survey conducted by Beauty Hankook, affiliated with Hankook Ilbo. They regard her as an “alpha woman” who has intelligence combined with beauty, the most important factor in winning the pageant according to 30 respondents.
“Alpha woman” refers to females who can compete with males, and possess intelligence, beauty and talent.
Lee won the 2006 Miss Korea pageant and was the 3rd runner-up in the Miss Universe pageant in 2007. She received praise for her statuesque figure, intelligence and good looks, representing Korea in the international arena.
Even after she entered the entertainment industry, she continued to pursue her passion in traditional Korean music, earning a master’s degree from Seoul National University. She was influenced by her mother, a professor of traditional Korean music at Ewha Womans University.
The alpha woman trend in Miss Korea pageants has become increasingly noticeable in the 2000s, with contestants following their dreams as TV news casters and businesswomen.
“While there have been many highly educated contestants in recent years, their scores do not reflect their levels of educations,” a Miss Korea pageant agency source said. “Intelligence combined with beauty can refer to various qualities such as social awareness and wit.”