Things were going quite well, I was marching along more or less happily on the way to becoming a real-deal, grownup history professor. Then I turned on Netflix one weekend while forcing myself to take some time away from writing my dissertation and it happened: I found a ridiculous-looking show called My Princess. I had this thought that I could watch a few minutes, get some material for jokes, and be done with it forever.
So, about that. It didn’t happen. My Princess is a Korean drama, an often dunked-on genre here in the West, that delivered the cracky sweet goodness that I apparently needed to balance out my research on political murder in Renaissance Florence. Hopes that this was just a phase were dashed when I woke up early on my doctoral graduation day to watch the livestream of another K-drama. I have dark circles in the photos. I was hopelessly, irrevocably hooked.
From K-dramas, I found Korean pop music, and then Korean cosmetics. I started blogs about both and spent all my free time chronicling my musical and skincare obsessions. Along the way, I learned how to make websites (I made this one), do some graphic design and photography, translate Korean at a low level, and engage with internet fan culture without being run off Twitter. I made a skincare podcast with my friends and tested hundreds of beauty products.
One day, without any sort of special training, I decided that I was going to be a journalist. It was terrifying and awkward in so many ways, but the best things usually kind of are, and I loved that I could take the skills I picked up while learning to recover erased history and apply them to beauty products and then move the fuck along to something else rather than write and re-write the same academic article for seven years (true story).