Craving some star power

SOLD OUT: Jun’s vibrant lipstick shade in one episode sent fans out to cosmetic counters to snap up the same shade.

Top South Korean actress Gianna Jun's phenomenal rom-com fantasy series My Love From The Star has officially taken Asia by storm.

It is one of the most-watched dramas in Korea and has record-breaking viewer ratings, with more than 30 per cent of Korea households tuning in.

And Jun's character is so popular that almost every cosmetic product she used in the show is sold out in Asia.

In the 21-episode series, 32-year-old Jun, who returned to the small screen after 14 years, plays Cheon Song Ee, an arrogant, obnoxious A-list celebrity who falls in love with an alien (played by Korean heart-throb Kim Soo Hyun).

My Love From The Star ended its run in Korea last Thursday. It is airing here on ONE (SingTel mio TV Ch 513/StarHub TV Ch 823) on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8.55pm.

In one scene, Jun is seen wearing a coral pink lipstick (Rouge Pur Couture shade No. 52) by Yves Saint Laurent (YSL). Shortly after, it was sold out in all department stores across Asia, including Singapore.

At a cosmetics counter in Gangnam, Seoul, that particular shade sold close to 2,600 pieces in January.

K-drama fan Michelle Ang told The New Paper: "I went to Takashimaya hoping to buy that shade of lipstick that Gianna used in the show, but it was sold out.

"There were also two Korean women there who wanted to buy it, but the salesgirl said it was a very popular colour and has been out of stock for a while already."

The 29-year-old store manager added: "I like Gianna's character in the show because she is funny and doesn't care about her image. She isn't the typical type of female lead you will see in Korean dramas."

Ms Zling Ng, marketing manager of Yves Saint Laurent Beaute in Singapore, said that more than 1,000 pieces of the lipstick have been sold here in the past two months.

'OUT OF STOCK'

"The shade became out of stock on Feb 14 and we have no idea when it will be restocked. We have customers coming in every day asking for shade No. 52 and we have seen the sales increase ever since the show started airing," she said.

"The colour is very easy to wear, and it suits the Asian skin tone."

While the retail price of the lipstick here is $48, it can be seen selling on eBay for as high as US$150 (S$190).

Ms Ng added that other makeup products - such as its luminous pink lipstick (Rouge Pur Couture shade no. 57) which also resembles another lipstick colour sported by Jun - are also flying off the shelves after the drama aired, and will sell out very soon.

Other Korean makeup brands such as Iope have also experienced soaring sales, thanks to Jun.

Ms Song Jin-a, brand manager for Iope products for AmorePacific in Korea, told The Korea Times: "The sales of the (Iope) pink lipstick in Korea have doubled since January, after Gianna appeared in the drama."

It is not only the beauty market that is benefiting from the show's popularity, but the culinary world as well.

Jun's character Cheon is shown enjoying her deep fried chicken and beer regularly on the show - and fans have followed suit.

Even though this combination is already a staple dish in Korea, it is seen more as cheap fare and not something that a superstar like Cheon should be indulging in or even constantly craving.

But public relations manager Tan Huiling, 30, said: "I went out for Korean fried chicken in Tanjong Pagar over the weekend after watching the show. Seeing Gianna eat it makes me want to eat it too.

"It's crazy how the show can trigger these cravings in me which I didn't use to have."

Seven things about My Love from the Star

1. Even A-list Asian stars are avid fans of the drama. Fan Bing Bing, Vicki Zhao, Rainie Yang, Matilda Tao and more have written on their Weibo accounts that they are mesmerised by Professor Do Min Joon, the character that Kim Soo Hyun plays.

Chinese actress Gao Yuanyuan wrote: "It's snowing. Who's bringing me my chicken and beer?", while K-pop girl group member Jia from Miss A tweeted: "Seems like everyone wants an alien boyfriend. Professor Do must be so busy!"

2. On the show, Do Min Joon is a big fan of the 2006 novel The Miraculous Journey Of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. In Korea, the book had already sold more than 10,000 copies in five years.

But after the drama aired, it sold more than 50,000 copies in less than half a month. In China, the Chinese version of the book has been out of stock for the past two months.

3. The show's iconic filming locations such as Petit France in the Korean countryside and Seoul's padlocks of love at N Seoul Tower have become popular tourist attractions.

4. Broadcast stations in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China have already proposed to film a remake. Taiwanese actor Kai Ko and Chinese actor Huang Xiaoming (above) have been name-dropped to play the male lead, while actresses Shu Qi (above) and Fan Bing Bing have been rumoured to be fighting for the role of the female lead.

5. The finale, which aired last Thursday, attracted more than 10 billion views on two of China's video sharing accounts PPS and iqiyi.com, which have acquired the rights to air the show on online platforms.

6. In Wuhan, China, a 50-year-old woman reportedly suffered a heart attack last Wednesday after watching consecutive episodes of the drama. She had to be sent to the hospital, but has recovered.

7. On-screen couple Cheon and Do use the LINE app to communicate with each other. After the show aired, the download rate of the app increased dramatically.

jocelee@sph.com.sg

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