Being Black & Plus Size in South Korea

When I traveled to South Korea, the two questions I got asked the most were “are people racist in South Korea?” and “where did you shop?”. 

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The truth of the matter is, wherever I travel I google how Black people are treated there. Unfortunately, as a person of color it’s always something we have to consider. Our safety is always a concern. Especially as a brown woman who likes to travel alone, I need to go into new spaces fully equipped and armed with information (I reference safety in my post about my trip to Savannah this summer).

As a fan of K Pop, I know a lot of the modern culture in Korea is influenced by Black America. This was how I reassured myself I’d be fine; and fine I actually was. At no point was I made to feel “other”, though I am mindful of the fact that I was traveling with a press group. Since coming back I’ve been left to wonder – if I were exploring South Korea alone, would my experience have been different? Wherever I went, I was with someone who spoke the language (or at least a language adjacent). 

As a plus size person, I also didn’t feel out of place. Some of the younger Koreans I saw were also plus – one young lady even complimented my outfit in a 7 Eleven and asked where I got it from! But going into this trip, I knew that fashion-wise there wouldn’t be very many options for me so I didn’t feel particularly left out of anything when shopping with the rest of the group. I put on my “plus shopping hat” and hunted mainly for accessories and shoes, including this MCM Visetos vanity bag I traveled to Myeongdong to get. I was extremely and pleasantly surprised to find many options that were oversized (including the sweater in these photos), and high quality! While options were few, they were there.

Overall, I have to say I had a very comfortable experience in South Korea. I was different, and that was totally fine. I wish we could all adopt that perspective. 

  • As a plus brown girl also the compliment would of made me so happy too!! Like I always panic in what to pack when I travel abroad. As a long time kpop and kpop fan I always take things and run with it. I go to Japan I am different but I’m heavy into the j style so I fit in in a lot of senses. I hope to go with my sister to s Korea and enjoy myself. She’s also a huge k pop fan (I have that influence) lol. She looks to me to see how I deal and I want to show her and myself that I’m me I am my culture and let me show them how you do the culture. Also hopefully run I to TOP from Big Bang and he wants to marry me but I digress lol. I was swooning when I saw you were in a Korea on your insta and I’m happy to see this post. Hey I’m a girl from the Bronx taking over Asia. I’m glad I’m not the only one lol.