Let Me Take A Selca: Korean Selfie 101



Let me take a Selca

Before Selfies, there was Selcas.

Selca is the Korean term for selfie, a shortened version of two words – self & camera – combined together. Similar to the definition of a selfie, it also means to take one’s photo with the intention of posting it on social media. If there is one thing Koreans are extremely good at, it is taking a hellavu great Selca.

Photo credit: weheartit.com

Photo credit: weheartit.com


Selfies might be a recent global phenomenon that has currently overtaken social media but in Korea, it is a past fad that has been perfected with years of practice. Korea’s obsession with selca’s long started before the birth of Instagram or Facebook, using platforms such as Cyworld (a Korean social networking service) from back in the early 2000’s to showcase one’s face. The practice of displaying one’s selfie for public viewing quickly led to what Koreans have termed an “ulzzang” culture. The word Ulzzang literally translates to “best face”. Basically, individuals would post their selfie on ulzzang communities such as Ulzzang Zone (a popular online forum) for ratings and popularity polls. It is said that some even get scouted to become celebrities in the Korean entertainment industry. It’s no wonder the whole nation is trigger happy.


Afterschool’s JooYeon was already a popular Ulzzang before getting scouted to be in the girl group. Photo credit: http://leejooyeon.tumblr.com

In Korea, it is not uncommon to see people at public places snapping away in varying angles for a ridiculous amount of time for the perfect selfie. In fact, it is completely the norm and the public is unfazed by what to me seems quite odd and somewhat ego-centric behavior. Similar to how girls will whip out their mirrors in public, be it at a coffee shop or a bus station and spend hours just staring at their face – a culture shock to me as i was not raised in Korea. But as the saying goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”; so when in Korea, do as the Koreans do and unabashedly take that selfie until you get it right! Ain’t nobody judging!

Presenting 7 types of poses that Koreans love to snap for the ultimate selca!

  1. The Victory Sign Selca: The infamous V sign is a staple when it comes to taking selcas. As soon as a camera is in sight, whipping out the V is automatic like its second nature.


However, recently it seems they’ve upgraded the V sign and switched it to a heart sign. This hand motion is created by pinching your thumb and index finger together and pivoting the two slightly to form a heart shape as shown below. Apparently its the current rage in Korea!


I heart you!

2. The Puffy Face Selca: The idea of this is to look cute by puffing out your cheeks and enlarging your eyes kind of like a blowfish but its supposed to make you look adorable.


3. The Pouty Selca: This ones a little tricky and if you don’t do it right you end up looking like a retarded duck. To get that cute pouty look, try saying the word “Blue”. The formation of the word will slightly protrude your bottom lip giving you that desired pout.


I suck at pouting. #fail

4. The Glasses Selca: A selca collection is never complete without a picture with glasses. A trend often set by kpop stars, glasses are worn as an accessory rather than for its aid in vision. Therefore, before you start grabbing your reading/night glasses or whatever’s laying around the house, keep in mind what is trending at the moment. Currently, the craze in Korea are the Harry Potter looking glasses.


These are not Harry Potter glasses, but close enough..

5. The Ugly Selca: Yes, you read that correctly, the ugly selfie. Koreans will purposely post ugly selfies just to get a reaction. Even the prettiest girls will post hideous selfies of themselves just for fun. So, i tried too. My favourite part of the selfie series! :P Flattering much?


How YOU doing?

6. The Face-Half-Cut-Off Selca: I never quite understood this one. What is the point of taking a selfie if half your face is gone? Apparently, its supposed to look like art. Either that or its supposed to highlight a facial feature one feels most confident in, be it your forehead, lips or your right eye. My sister actually likes to take these types of selcas, but then again she is an extremely talented artiste!

Do I look artsy?

Do I look artsy?

7. The Wink Selca – This one is probably universally used and not limited to just a Korean thing. You simply just wink, hold the pose and snap! Wink selfies are fun to take as it shows a playful and upbeat side of the individual.


Now that we’ve established the various poses, the next step is to filter filter filter! Ulzzang fanatics swear by it. Filters will either make or break your selca. There are many filter apps that you can download to apply to your picture but the one that i am most familiar with and use besides instagram is called BeautyPlus. The filter i used for the selfies above were from snapchat. Hence, the flawless complexion. No, my skin is not that great, in fact its pretty terrible so i cheated. :P For more filter options, you can also check out the following link, http://www.soompi.com/2016/06/21/8-selfie-apps-thats-got-korea-hooked/.

So there it is, I welcome you to the world of Selcas. If you are a selfie virgin, I hope that this will be a good intro and if you are a selfie pro, feel free to comment and let me know what other poses i’ve missed. Happy Snapping!








Categories: 2016

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