The Truth Behind All Of BTS' Plastic Surgeries

In an age where K-Pop has inserted itself into the mainstream and taken the global music scene by storm, world-wide audiences are finding themselves privy to the seedy underbelly of South Korea's pop music industry, with numerous exposés in recent years uncovering everything from sex abuse scandals to suicides. South Korea's capital Seoul might be where the heart of the K-Pop industry lives, but it's also the unofficial plastic surgery capital of the world.

Certain cosmetic procedures — especially procedures like double eyelid surgeries, which are meant to create an eyelid shape that caters more to Western (and white) beauty standards — are routine to a frightening degree.

While a number of K-Pop stars have gone public with their procedures over the years, the supergroup BTS, arguably the most popular K-Pop band in the world, has kept the notion of such procedures tightly under wraps. So, have BTS members (also known as the Bangtan Boys) Jin, Suga, RM, Jungkook, V, Jimin, and J-Hope had some work done and kept it out of the spotlight? Or are rumors of plastic surgery merely that — just rumors?

An expert weighed in on whether BTS had plastic surgery

In 2017, media outlet Digital Music News reached out to an expert — a plastic surgeon based in America's own cosmetic surgery capital, Beverly Hills — about whether, in his opinion, it was evident that members of BTS had ever gone under the knife. The surgeon, who requested anonymity for the article, was firm in his conclusion: Yes. But it came with a caveat.

"Everyone has a perspective[,] but from a professional surgeon perspective, this is not overuse," he told Digital Musical News at the time. "But there's work that was probably performed."

He was also quick to point out that South Korea has a much higher rate of plastic surgery (a 2013 Atlantic article stated that one out of every five women in Korea has undergone surgery for cosmetic purposes, compared to one out of 20 in the U.S.), and that the country views these procedures through an entirely different cultural lens — it's a means to social upward mobility.

Despite this weigh-in from an expert, his opinions are merely opinions. Has there ever been any confirmation from a member of BTS when it comes to plastic surgery? Actually, yes.

RM didn't hide his plastic surgery

BTS' resident rapper RM (born Kim Nam-joon, formerly known as Rap Monster) is the sole member of BTS who has ever gone public with undergoing plastic surgery. But in a slight twist, RM denies undergoing any procedure for cosmetic purposes. According to BigHit Entertainment, the agency behind the boy band, the surgery was medically necessary in order to fix a deviated septum, which affected his breathing.

"It is true that he underwent surgery," BigHit Entertainment said in a press release in 2018 (via Koreaboo). "He recently had the procedure and has been discharged from the hospital. For the time being, he plans on resting and focusing on restoring his health."

As of now, RM's surgery is the only confirmed case of plastic surgery within the BTS ranks. But even if speculation surrounding the other members having work done can't officially be corroborated, it doesn't mean the advent of plastic surgery hasn't affected their fan base, also known as BTS ARMY, in more insidious ways.

Have fans of BTS gone too far?

Even if it remains a little unclear whether other BTS members have had plastic surgery — and if so, how many of them and how much — the overall culture and popularity of cosmetic procedures certainly made an imprint on their fans, encouraging them to go the distance when it comes to idolizing the Korean pop stars. Starting in 2018, a British fan named Oliver "Oli" London spent over $100,000 in an effort to look as much like BTS' Jimin as he possibly could.

Since then, the superfan has gone under the knife for myriad procedures — documenting his journey on YouTube and granting interviews to media outlets like The Korea Times — all to become a sort of walking tribute to his favorite band member. (London has also stressed that he does not consider himself transracial and his procedures are not done with the desire to change his race from Caucasian to Asian. Rather, the goal for his cosmetic surgery is solely to resemble Jimin as closely as possible.)

Ultimately, London's obsession is not without serious consequences. According to a Mashable article from 2019, London has lost almost all of the cartilage in his nose, putting him at risk of losing it entirely and causing irreparable damage to his face.

Plastic surgery may be at odds with the message of BTS' music

While fans like Oliver London might represent the extremity of measures BTS ARMY members will take to show their devotion to the K-Pop group, this opposes most of what BTS' music is about: self-acceptance and love. As Forbes reported in 2018, members of the band have spoken for events held by UNICEF's Generation Unlimited initiative — which aims to educate and equip millennials with the necessary skill sets to achieve quality employment to millions by 2030 — at places as illustrious as the United Nations in New York City on the importance of self-advocacy.

At the event, BTS member and initiative spokesperson RM encouraged others to begin the process of self-acceptance. "Tell me your story," he urged those in attendance. "I want to hear your voice, and I want to hear your conviction. No matter who you are, where you're from, your skin color, gender identity: speak yourself."

We might never know the full story when it comes to BTS and plastic surgery among the group's members, but we do know this: Their music and their message about loving oneself are what gained them a global following. Maybe, when it comes to BTS, that's what matters most of all.