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Well, She Looks Better in One than Britney Spears

Tennis star Venus Williams in a hanbok following her victory at the Hansol Korean Open on Sunday.

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  • mins0306

    Russian tennis player Kirilenko was also in a hanbok during the awards ceremony.


    On the outside it seems innocuous, but the fact that the organizers made the winner and the runner ups wear hanbok for the award ceremony, makes you wonder whether they, for want of a better term, overdid themselves with the Korean culture thing.

  • mins0306


    overdid the Korean culture thing.

  • Graham

    I’d also say that Naver overdid it with “흑진주.”

  • dogbertt

    Hey, at least they didn’t call her “the lost Bubble Sister” or something.

    I wonder if this will make up for the infamous “I don’t like kimchi” girl now?

  • babarian

    I think it’s a silly idea, just like those APEC leaders wearing local costumes toward the end of their annual meetings.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Then, of course, there’s always sister Serena Williams without the hanbok (or anything else, for that matter):


    (Probably NSFW)

  • pixel

    That’s one heckuva nice hanbok.

  • wjk

    please stop using heuk-jin-joo.

    I mean, what are they supposed to call a white one?


    No, that’s no good.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    I don’t think they’re trying to be offensive here — they’re just pointing to the obvious, namely, that she’s a) beautiful and b) of a darker hue. The best one was when 1st baseman Tyrone Woods was playing with the Doosan Bears, where he was inevitably nicknamed heukgom, or “Black Bear.”

  • megook

    Haha… “한복 입은 흑진주.”

    Only Korea could get away with something like that.

  • http://sungnyemun.org/wordpress/ dda

    Oink, oink.

    Only IN Korea.

  • http://sungnyemun.org/wordpress/ dda

    Why this blog insists on my being in France, when I can see Chek Lap Kok from my window is beyond my imagination…

  • http://www.korealawblog.com Brendon Carr

    Count me traitor to the Expat Commentariat, but I think having the winner of the tennis tournament dress up in a hanbok and accept a trophy of Korean celadon is smart branding for the Korean Open. After the tournament gets established, in future those winner’s photos will be shorthand for “Ah, they had the Korean Open again.”

    And Venus looks good in it. I hope she had a good memory of the tournament, and gets to keep that hanbok.

    Keep up the good work, Korean Open!

  • abcdefg

    For those not in the know, 흑진주 = black pearl.

    She looks nice but the colors don’t quite match her. Plus, I never did like those “hats”. They seem excessive.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Count me traitor to the Expat Commentariat, but I think having the winner of the tennis tournament dress up in a hanbok and accept a trophy of Korean celadon is smart branding for the Korean Open.

    Of course it’s a smart move to “have” — ie., compel — the winners and runners-up don costumes in fetch ‘n step it and cigar store whitey fashion.It is after all, all about cosa nostra 우리나라, right, not tennis. Would you like toilet paper or a moist towelette to wipe your nose?

  • gbnhj

    Please – it’s obvious opportunism. When’s the last time you saw Usher wearing his hanbok? Or Britney, or any of these other folks who put one on for the photo-op?

    Yeah, she looks nice (Robert Koehler can also fill out a hanbok), but it all comes off after a couple of minutes. This is being done to put the idea in minds of the Korean public that Williams has some sort of affinity for the culture. I think many folks do develop such an affinity, but I don’t think that describes the situation here. This is just a photo-op staged for the press, who are using it to create a feel-good spin. Thanks, but I’d rather see photos of her playing.

  • abcdefg

    Is there an edit bandit here? Is capitalization really that important?

    Anyway, yeah of course. The celebs here are all being forced at gunpoint to wear these ridiculous often mismatched garbs. I’m not being sarcastic. Really. I can totally envision the involvement of guns, a stickemup followed by the final verbal nudge “The hat too, lady. Yes the hat.”

    But then again maybe I’m making a big deal out of nothing; I might even be bordering on something worse.

  • pawikirogi

    venus looks cool in her hanbok. i’ll bet you she thinks the same.

    ‘i feel like a princess.’ britney spears wearing hanbok

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    On the topic of 흑진주, there’s also the 흑진주 of the Korean racing girl world, Seo Da-ni:


  • gbnhj

    I agree, pawi, Venus does look cool. Britney…well, Britney did look cool – I’m not so sure but that her hanbok might not need altering now. :)

    Here’s another quote:

    “I feel okay – really.” – Britney Spears wearing a ‘Promises Residential Treatment Center’ T-shirt and no panties.

    (Don’t get upset – I’m only joking around)

  • http://www.korealawblog.com Brendon Carr

    Some of you guys are so far gone I worry about you. And I resent the insinuation I need to wipe the turd off my nose, Sperwer. Not everything need be despised. Only that which is despicable.

    There is much to appreciate about Korea and since the branding of the place is so dreadful ordinarily why not give an honorable mention when one is due? A little local flavor for the tournament. Venus did just win $20,000 for the tournament’s first-place finish, and 115 ranking points. That’s not Wimbledon but it’s nothing to sniff at.

    I’m sure Usher doesn’t wear his hanbok down to the mall to get an Orange Julius, but I’ll bet he didn’t send it to the Goodwill either. It’s in a box somewhere in his home, where it may or may not be trundled out as a memory of his visit to Korea.

    My clients often get a kick out of purchasing a little hanbok for their kids. I wouldn’t imagine those get worn more than once or twice either.

    I’m not dressing up as Step ‘n Fetchit though.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    I’m not dressing up as Step ‘n Fetchit though.

    hypocrite! :))

    P.S. None of the things you mention are pertinent to the issue of Korea’s foisting a costume on the tennis players, unless you think (as the locals – and seemingly you – apparently do) that Venus “owes” it to Korea for deigning to give her a prize – never mind that she earned that by her performance.

  • gbnhj

    I agree: there is much to appreciate about Korea. It’s for that reason I wrote ‘I think many folks do develop such an affinity’. However, I don’t think that Williams donned the hanbok because of her abiding interest in Korea. Sure, she may like the excitement of wearing culturally-different clothing, but the motive I described also explains why everyone put theirs on at that time. In fact, the argument you suggest – that it was done for marketing purposes – shares with mine the common element that it was a preplanned activity done in order to shape public opinion.

    And, FWIW, no need to worry – it just sounds a bit like an ad hominem.

  • slim

    I’d like to see successful lady golfers from South Korea dressed like cowboys or Indians when they win big US tournaments.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Or at least 32nd Street Room Salon girls.

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  • http://www.korealawblog.com Brendon Carr

    In fact, the argument you suggest – that it was done for marketing purposes – shares with mine the common element that it was a preplanned activity done in order to shape public opinion.

    Except that I don’t think it was planned as a wank for the Korean public — I believe the Korea Open wants to raise awareness of its relatively new (four years old) tour event. Hopefully, the hanbok connects the winners’ photos to Korea.

  • dogbertt
  • gbnhj

    Here’s golf pro Susan Petersen putting on the hanbok in order to pick up her check. That crown is something – it really pulls the whole look together.

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