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K-Pop Crossover: Founding Nylon Pink Vocalist Kaila Yu And Meitu's Zhibai Han Talk Hallyu Photo Makeovers [EXCLUSIVE]

By Tony Sokol | July 24, 2015 02:31 PM EDT


When the Chinese software developer Meitu rolled out new "beauty apps" for the smartphone like Meipai or Beautyplus, they weren't thinking of them as a way for K-poppers to trasform into their favorite star; that was an unforeseen benefit.

"We were looking to build an Asian but at the same time international experience," said Zhibai Han, Meipai's director of international growth.

"That is, a design that fit the aesthetic of an Asian girls' while being intuitive to a broader international audience."

That was when Kaila Yu, former lead vocalist of Nylon Pink, a group that bills themselves as "the only all-Asian American female band in the United States," now Meitu's community manager, chimed in about the K-pop capabilities of her company's the new app.

"Since Asian standards of beauty are the same across the globe, the features the app offers of making your eyes big, making your face smaller, your legs longer and giving you porcelain skin make you look like a K-pop star," Yu said. 

"The app helps you achieve the wide eyed look of K-pop stars. The new app isn't specifically called a "K-pop app, it's an app that is made to make women feel beautiful. Its features naturally make you look like a K-pop star."

Zhibai claims the cellphone software was designed to use music video special effects to play with Asian standards of beauty. Yet, as Meipai developers were rolling out the app, one member of the team noticed that it could also be used to make tech fans look like K-pop stars.

Technode magazine reported that more than 15 million daily active users upload about 950,000 videos a day onto Meipai. Han claims the app has been downloaded over 250 million times.

But it was the level of user interest for certain aspects of the image-altering software that caused the company to take those aspects of Meipai and turn them into their own separate application.

"Out of the four or five key features we provided in one of our full-feature photo editing apps, beauty was the feature used most heavily by users," Han said. "This led us to the idea to make the beauty-focused Beautyplus app."

Han explained the process of isolating the effect.

"We took the key features from our domestically successful beauty app BeautyCam and took out everything that's only applicable for Chinese users," he explained.

But just how much drama can the new app handle. If the Beautyplus app could turn a regular person into K-pop perfection, what would it do to the real thing? Would the newly unleashed beauty defy the laws of physics?

"With the Beautyplus app, a K-pop star can always easily edit their selfies with a click of a button wherever they are," Han added.

Yu describes herself as an enthusiastic K-pop fan.

"Absolutely!" she said. "BIGBANG, 2NE1, Hyuna, SNSD are my favorites...I am so excited to see CL making the crossover to the United States.

When asked which K-pop star, she thought she most resembled, Yu paused momentarily.

"CL," she said with a smirk. "Our Makeup Plus app does have an eye roll function."

Tagged :  beauty app, video editing, K-Pop Crossover


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