Influencer Oli London apologizes for undergoing surgeries to appear like BTS star Jimin

The British influencer and YouTuber Oli London has issued a public apology to BTS star Jimin and the Asian community for undergoing dozens of operations to appear like the Korean pop idol.

London has come under fire for his comments identifying as Korean and transracial, meaning identifying with a race different from one of biological ancestry.

London said they’ve undergone 32 operations, including six nose jobs, eye surgery and a forehead lift, in what was described in one video as a bid to “achieve my Jimin look.”

In a YouTube video uploaded Monday, London apologized for the procedures and for “trying to become another person.”

“It was wrong of me to try to emulate Jimin in such an obsessive way,” London said. “I realize now that it wasn’t the right thing to do.”

Jimin of BTS
Jimin of BTS, left, at the Grammy Awards in Las Vegas on April 3.Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for The Recording Academy file

London said they were bullied as a teenager in school and felt lonely and unloved, which affected their self-esteem and created identity issues. 

“That has been a big factor in me having surgery, me being unhappy, me also funneling my love into Jimin,” London said. “I really tried to model myself on that person, because I thought that would make me happy.”

London said they recently got married, which helped them “grow as a person.”

“I can’t be another person. I just need to love myself. I’ve started to really love myself,” they said.

London issued a public apology to Jimin, whose full name is Park Ji-min, and to “any member of the Asian community that has ever misunderstood me or misinterpreted me or thought maybe I was a little bit too obsessed with Jimin.”

London said they still identify as Korean, adding, “That’s never going to change.”

London announced that they identify as Korean in a video uploaded in June 2021.

“I am coming out as non-binary. … My pronouns are they/them, Korean and Jimin. I know a lot of people don’t understand me, but I do identify as Korean. … I don’t identify as British,” London said.

In a statement shared with NBC News, London said they’ve faced ongoing bullying for how they identify.

“Since I shared my story with the world the bullying has only gotten worse and the level of abuse I receive on a daily basis for my identity as a Korean person is beyond horrifying and traumatic,” London said.

“I never meant to cause any offense with my actions and I am sorry if anyone misinterpreted or misunderstood my strong love for Korea and Korean culture,” London added.

London ended the video Monday saying: “I do struggle with identity issues … but I’m conquering these demons. I’m working hard. It’s not easy, but I’m trying my best.”

London has been very open about their love for Korea on social media, where they have more than 63,000 subscribers on YouTube and 1 million on TikTok, posting about K-pop stars, creating their own music with references to Korean culture and documenting operations to change their appearance.

London tweeted Jan. 13: “Omg it’s my birthday tomorrow. I hope I become more Korean for my birthday.”

In a video uploaded in September 2021, London said they underwent revision rhinoplasty and nipple surgery, adding the caption, “I have finally achieved my Jimin look and I feel 100% Korean finally.”

Marlene Lenthang

Marlene Lenthang is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.

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