British influencer Oli London defends 'identifying as Korean' after undergoing surgery to look like BTS singer

Oli London says they are 'identifying as Korean' and 'have the Korean look'.
Oli London says they are 'identifying as Korean' and 'have the Korean look'. Photo credit: YouTube / Oli London

A white British influencer and singer is defending their decision to "identify as Korean" after undergoing what they describe as "racial transitional surgery".

Oli London, 31, has long faced criticism for undergoing cosmetic surgeries to resemble Jimin, a member of the hugely popular South Korean boy band BTS.

The YouTuber and social media star shared a video from their bed after undergoing a face, brow, and temple lift, as well as eye surgery and new veneers. London has previously undergone 18 other cosmetic procedures in a bid to look like their idol. 

London also came out as both non-binary and "transracial" in the video.

"I know a lot of people don't understand me, but I do identify as Korean and I do look Korean now, I do feel Korean. I don't identify as British, so please don't refer to me as British because I identify as Korean, that's just my culture, that's my home country, that's exactly how I look now, and I also identify as Jimin - that's my Korean name," London said.

They also posted a rainbow version of the Korean flag to Twitter,  saying it was the "new official flag for a non-binary person who identifies as Korean". London has also claimed that they invited being "transracial", adding: "If you can be transgender you can be TRANSRACIAL."

"I identify with the Korean culture, I've lived in Korea, I speak the language, I have the Korean look now, I look completely Korean. If you didn't know who I was, you'd just think I was a Korean person, not a man or a woman, just a person," London said in their video.

But their announcement, as well as editing the Korean flag, has outraged numerous people online - with some calling it "mockery" and "disrespectful".

"Korean isn't a pronoun, nor is it a persona you decide to suddenly take on because of K-pop hype. I'm glad you identify as non-binary and I applaud you for being transparent about that, but I can't commend you for taking a whole ethnicity and treating it like a persona," one responded.

"As a non-binary person, you're literally making a mockery of us," another said.

"I don't think they even understand how disrespectful this is," a third wrote.

Responding to the backlash, London told Sky News UK their announcement wasn't about "negativity or sparking controversy".

"I am who I am, but my main goal is to support the Korean community and all of those around the world who identify themselves in different ways."

London also told the Daily Mail that while people may find their identity "unusual", being Korean is part of who they are.

"I have gone through extreme lifestyle changes to become who I am today and have lived in Korea, I eat Korean food every day, use Korean skincare, have plastic surgery to look Korean and I speak the Korean language - all of this shapes me as a person and my identity as a non-binary Korean person."