Elise Hu, Journalist & Media Startup Founder

Elise Hu

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Does beauty matter? Who gets to define it, and how, and why? And what are we willing to do for it? Journalist and author Elise Hu found herself asking those questions when she moved overseas in 2015 to serve as NPR’s first-ever Seoul Bureau Chief, covering important global stories like North Korea’s missile launches but living as an Asian woman in South Korea in a culture that venerated – and productized – perfection.

Elise found herself thinking back to her days as a teenage model growing up in Texas and examining the pressure women – and girls – are constantly under to conform to beauty norms, with a gimlet eye to considering the industry making bank on selling the goods and services that promise physical perfection.

In this final episode of Season 1 of “Your New Life Blend,” host Shoshanna Hecht speaks to Elise about her new upcoming book, “Flawless: Lessons in Looks and Culture from the K-Beauty Capital,” and how we are mediating beauty culture in our own lives and to the next generation, the worrying creep of AI normalization around beauty standards, and whether we can still opt out of it. It is a packed final episode of the season and we are so grateful to Elise for her candid and insightful comments.

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