Enduring the pain of five plastic surgery procedures done in a span of a few hours, Jessica Choi told ABC News that she felt she sinned.
"I feel like I've sinned," Choi, 33, said in a "Nightline" broadcast last week. "I just kept hearing God's voice saying, 'Sweetheart, why would you do this? I made you perfect.'"
Choi was one of the subjects of "Nightline's" feature on South Korea's plastic surgery obsession. According to ABC News, one out of five women in the small but populous East Asian country goes under the knife to improve their looks.
Plastic surgery in South Korea has been a much talked about issue in the media in recent years. Business Insider noted last year that everyone is going for the same look: light skin, tiny nose, wide eyes with double lids and a small face with a v-shaped chin. Julia Lurie was teaching English in Korea when she told Jezebel.com last year that her students all define beauty with the same standards.
"... what's really unnerving is the push towards uniformity," Dodai Stewart wrote for Jezebel.com "Instead of celebrating quirks or camouflaging flaws, these photos show a burning desire to fit inside a very narrow scope of what's seen as beautiful. It's not about what's inside, it's not about character, it's about an artificial ideal."
Choi, a property manager for a real estate company in Los Angeles, held the same definition of beauty. She told ABC News, "I just always feel like my eyes were never big enough."
She had her first procedure of getting double eyelids done in high school. She later got her nose done. But still not satisfied, she went to South Korea to achieve the perfect look.
Just before her surgery in Korea, Choi told the surgeon and assistants in the operating room, "We're starting? Okay. Jesus loves everybody."
She had her nose redone, her jaw contoured, her eyes enlarged and fat from her abdomen was grafted to her forehead.
In the immediate days following the surgery, she felt regret as she was in immense pain. "If I knew what I had to go through ahead of time, there's no way I would be able to go through it again. Going through this is so hard. I feel like I've sinned," she said with tears.
However, when ABC News followed up with Choi several months later after she recovered, the Los Angeles resident seemed to express little regret.
"I love it," she said of the results. "I feel softer. I feel more feminine. I have to say this: Koreans are perfectionists. They perfected a nose that an American doctor just messed up. Lord have mercy, it's beautiful," she added as she tried to laugh through her new face.
Choi, who said she does believe that beauty comes from the inside, said the plastic surgery was not just a superficial transformation for her. Coming out of an abusive relationship where her face became disfigured, she said she feels her new self is a reflection of the transformation that has been going on inside of her. "It's not as shallow as it may seem at first glance," she added.