Ji Chang Wook promotes Shokubutsu in Singapore

A Korean actor chosen as a brand ambassador for a Japanese skincare company’s new range of products only available in Singapore?  Given the reach of K-culture beyond its domestic shores, a recent report that South Korean men are the largest consumers of skincare products compared to their counterparts in every other country, and the soaring popularity of Healer and Empress Ki actor Ji Chang Wook, perhaps this multinational collaboration was not a stretch after all.

Ji, who is currently filming a television drama in China, rushed to catch a redeye flight, landing in Singapore on Sun., Dec. 6, and launching straight into a packed schedule of events on his first official visit to the city-state (and only his second ever).  As he attended a press conference and a private meet-and-greet for 160 attendees chosen through a sweepstakes, fans began to gather at the Suntec City West Atrium as early as 9 a.m. for a chance to see Ji at the 5 p.m. main event, a free public appearance promoting the new Shokubutsu RevitaCare body foam line.  Although onlookers lined the walls of the upper levels that circled around the small open venue below – which itself was surrounded by more fans – it was a lucky few who had front and center stage access via a priority section.  From here, as the actor made his way from the first meet-and-greet to the second, five women were chosen about an hour in advance to tell Ji Chang Wook what they would do if they could spend a day with him, then receive a goodie bag and pose for photos with the man himself.  (A dangerous question, one must admit – especially after all five actually rehearsed their answers on stage, which included scenarios such as quickly arranging a wedding ceremony to him, jointly chomping on dried persimmons while riding roller coasters like Lee Kwang Soo a la Running Man (that one must be seen to be understood), and cuddling with him in bed.)

Despite not really having eaten throughout the day, a cheerful Ji appeared, grinning and answering more questions about himself than the products he was endorsing.  About his great skin?  “Well, I think my make-up artist did her job very well today,” he quipped through a translator, adding a chuckle.  About what he can cook?  “Well, I’m not the greatest cook in the world, but something that I can do is cook instant noodles (ramyun) very well,” adding that it is essential to add an egg (Amen to that, brother), use the leftover broth with a bowl of rice, and include a side portion of kimchi.  About a great thing that he has done for a girl?  “To be honest, I’ve not done anything big before. I personally fantasize about the day that I could have this big event, but I haven’t gotten the opportunity yet.”

One gets the idea.  But the reason for the selection of Ji Chang Wook for a cross-cultural promotion of a body foam line that includes such ingredients as chamomile, oat milk and shea butter was actually quite simple: the actor’s “warm and gentle” image, as the event co-hosts mentioned throughout the meet-and-greet.

“This is something that I don’t say very frequently, but I just want to let you know that I am a very, very gentle person, and you guys [seem to] like me that way,” confirmed Ji, who smiled and waved at fans as his answers were being translated into English.  “I think [that image] goes very well with the brand that I am endorsing.  Shokubutsu is very mild and gentle, and I think I fit it perfectly…I will work hard to be even more gentle and mild next year.”

Photos: Ji Chang Wook x Shokubutsu meet-and-greet, Suntec City, Singapore – Dec. 6, 2015
all photos by Yuan-Kwan Chan / Meniscus Magazine

Video: Ji Chang Wook x Shokubutsu meet-and-greet excerpts, Suntec City, Singapore – Dec. 6, 2015
video by Yuan-Kwan Chan / Meniscus Magazine