This Laneige BB Cushion video with an unexpected heroine is going viral

Surprise twist

Text: Renée Batchelor

If you haven't caught it yet, watch the new Laneige My BB Love short film, and see why it encourages us to embrace diverse beauty standards in Singapore

If you're a fan of K-dramas and romance-filled storylines, you're bound to ooh and aah at the new short film for Laneige's BB Love. Riffing off the cliches of romantic dramas — from slow-mo scenes to the 'confession of love' move at the end — it even comes with a tragi-comic ending. Written by local creative Jemimah Wei, and conceptualised with her friend, Trishna Goklani, there's one obvious difference: The female lead is not who you would expect.

Played by Goklani, a Singaporean of Indian descent who is based in London, this concept and casting was no accident. Says Goklani, "From a young age, my skin tone has coloured my experiences in life — one of my strongest defining memories was a guy I liked saying he wouldn't date me because of my skin colour — which is a really awful and hurtful thing to hear at the age of 14. Add that to the fact that growing up as a beauty junkie, I've constantly been told through marketing and stock availability that I'm not within the 'normal' range of shades (which is something girls like me feel very strongly about). "

Adds Goklani,"That's why this project is really close to my heart — that this giant, international brand not only stocks an amazing and inclusive product, but that they've also backed and enabled this entire collaboration — it means so much to girls like me who recognise through this representation and execution that our marketing dollar is worth something to the brand. This is a great step, and I'm hopeful that it will spark more conversation and action around this topic." 

Laneige BB Cushion Trishna Goklani and

Through subtle product placement throughout the short film, the Laneige BB Cushion makes an appearance. It's worn by Goklani, who plays a student who is oblivious to the affections of a Korean exchange student who is smitten by her, and can't seem to get her attention. We won't spoil the ending, but the question on many lips after seeing the video was, who is the lead actor Lee Tae Gu and where did he come from?

Writer and producer Wei says, "We got so, so lucky with him. Honestly, it was insanely difficult to find someone suitable — I was so desperate that I had actually taken to sitting in Korean restaurants and salons along Tanjong Pagar to try and literally scout a talent. I actually was being very embarrassing, so I don't think I can go back to a couple of restaurants there anymore. But anyway, our director Martin Hong once represented Singapore in a film festival in Busan, and he made a South Korean filmmaker friend who once directed Tae Gu in another short film. Dong (the Korean director) hooked us up with Tae Gu, we video-cast him over two rounds, and then flew him in! He was an absolute joy to work with, such a trooper, and he went from talent to advocate once he heard what we were trying to do, which really warms my heart till today."

Lee Tae Gu in My BB Love

Now that the film, released just five days ago, has garnered over 250,000 views Wei and Goklani are more than excited that their labour of love is being seen by a wide audience. Says Goklani, "So many people commented on how casting someone like me, a non fair-skinned girl, as the lead was such a breath of fresh air. From the start, I hoped the video would inspire young girls to love and embrace themselves in their own skin, love each other, and stand together in this new era of collaboration, empathy and representation. And this video going viral enables me to do that to a wider audience, so I hope it continues to gain traction and snowball as we go along!"

Says Wei, "The views, likes and comments are insanely encouraging because it shows that this is an issue that people do feel strongly about, that they are willing and able to have a constructive conversation about, and that they definitely get behind what we are trying to say."