SEOUL—The first syllable in Mimi Shop stands for the Chinese term for “beauty” while the second one stands for “me.” Therefore the name of the shop that offers beauty makeover and healing services means “make me beautiful.”
People from all walks of life enter the red-bricked building tucked away in Mapo District in the hopes that they leave it looking and feeling beautiful. This is the concept of JTBC4’s “Mimi Shop.” Waiting inside are 2NE1 member Sandara Park, HOT member Tony Ahn, actress Shin So-yul, model Kim Jin-kyung and rapper Cheetah.
“It’s a TV program and a reality show. When I talk to people, I don’t tell I am going to film Mimi shop. I tell them I am going to work. The show has allowed me to have another job besides the one I have. I also learned a new skill because of this,” said Sandara.
The show reverses the roles of the celebrities. From being on the receiving end of salon pampering, they are the ones doing the makeup of people regardless of age, gender and skin tone. They offer snacks and drinks and give love advice. They even let your idol put lipstick on you in an effort to make the customers happy.
The customer is welcomed at the reception area where framed illustrations of the makeup artists are displayed. The shop itself is in the warm tones of peach and pink. It has cushioned seats for you to sit on while you have your drink and wait for your turn. There are unicorns, bears and robots on the shelves to keep your little one occupied while you get your service. When you’re done, you can preserve the makeover inside a photo booth. A bowl filled with 500 won coins is available to use on the photobooth. There’s an Instax camera for taking group pictures with the cast against the photo wall.
Tony said that as a reality show, they film for 10 hours on their feet, sometimes on their knees, to put makeup on people. The show has taught him to be grateful and more appreciative of the people doing this for them.
The cast members do not know who will walk inside the shop but they will get a brief on why customers would want to get a makeover. This is where it gets interesting because you watch the members deal with their customers. Sandara is perky, Tony is pleasant, So-yul will make you open up, Jin-kyung will make you feel like a friend, and while Cheetah is quiet, you will want her to give you the signature “Cheetah” look.
“I read the brief of one of our clients. It said that she used to go out a lot before she had a family and a daughter. Then she didn’t have time anymore. She said that she wants to go out on a date with her daughter. I found out later that the client was my mom,” Cheetah said. “It’s my first time to be that close to her and do her makeup.”
Cheetah is the ace makeup artist of Mimi Shop. The rapper’s signature look is a departure from the Korean trend of using fresh, natural and almost no-makeup look. She uses dark eye shadow, eyeliner and mascara boldly. She wears red lipstick and gets away with it.
Cheetah’s look is fierce. This is why Sandara chose her over other cast members to do her makeup. When asked which celebrity she wants to do makeup on, Sandara immediately answered it would be 2NE1’s leader CL.
“I want to do CL’s makeup because CL’s look is always on point. I want to show her that my makeup skills have improved,” said Sandara.
The beauty and healing services of “Mimi Shop” are streamed every Thursday via VIU.