A sweet romance set among the make-up industry. If that sounds interesting to you, Touch is the drama you need to see.
Top make-up artist to the stars, Cha Jeong-Hyeok’s team, is hired to do the make-up for a Kpop idol audition. As usual, he does an over-the-top job but trainee Han Soo-Yeon, because the extravagant look makes her feel uncomfortable, secretly removes some of it and “fixes” it herself before going on stage. When Jeong-Hyeok discovers his masterpiece has been tampered with he is furious and can’t rest until he finds out why his work was ruined. However, when Soo-Yeon lands a spot in the soon to be assembled group Miracle Girls, by being selected, all the excitement and confusion backstage prevents him from getting an answer.
In trying to cover up a dating scandal concerning their top money maker, actor Kang Do-Jin, Window Entertainment decides to sacrifice Han Soo-Yeon and release a not so flattering video of her that culminates in her termination before Miracle Girls can even begin. Now, without employment, Soo-Yeon decides to apply for a job as an assistant at Cha Premium Make-Up & Boutique (aka Cha Beauty). CEO Cha is instantly impressed with her natural aptitude with make-up but, when he recognizes her from the incident during the trainee audition, refuses to hire her. Because the others who are in on the interviewing unanimously vote to give her the job, Jeong-Hyeok is outnumbered and Soo-Yeon begins interning at Cha Beauty. Over time, the resentment and frustration CEO Cha feels towards Soo-Yeon begins to wain as she proves her worth, despite some mistakes she makes. And when, through no fault of his own, Jeong-Hyeok looses everything and finds himself up to his eyeballs in debt, it is Soo-Yeon who encourages her boss to not throw in the towel, giving him the strength he needs to try again.
Thirty-seven year old Cha Jeong-Hyeok is the most sought after make-up artist in the business. Although he majored in Western Art, he gave it up and has been in the make-up industry for the past 15 years. He knows simply by looking at someone’s skin what they ate before going to bed, if they had been crying, and how much effort they put into their make-up that morning. Jeong-Hyeok is the owner and CEO of Cha Premium Make-Up & Boutique, a posh beauty place whose clients include many idols and stars. For the past few years he has been in charge of the manufacturing of his own line of make-up that is healthy for the skin and something everyone can trust.
For the past ten years Han Soo-Yeon has been an idol trainee. She worked diligently for a chance to debut, giving up things considered usual by most teens. In fact, although she is 25 years old, Soo-Yeon has never even dated before. Her parents went through bankruptcy five years ago and now run an eojuk noodle house outside of Seoul. Because of her parents financial situation Soo-Yeon wanted to make it big in the entertainment industry so she could buy them a house. When she was kicked out of the newly formed group Wonder Girls, she gave up her dream of being an idol and is determined to endure her three month internship at Cha Beauty, confident she can succeed in the make-up industry.
As a teenager, Kang Do-Jin came from America to South Korea with the goal of entering the entertainment business. Now, as an actor, Do-Jin is so popular, he alone makes up half of Window Entertainment’s yearly profit. So as not to loose their top money maker, they do whatever is necessary to keep any and all scandals, that include him, out of the public eye. For years he was a trainee alongside Soo-Yeon who quickly became what he considers to be his one and only friend. Although he has dated lots of girls, Window Entertainment has been the one to run interference so the public thinks he is innocent. It’s not until Soo-Yeon looses her position as a Wonder Girl that Do-Jin realizes he’s in love with her.
Oh Shi-Eun is the CEO of Oh! Secret, the company in direct competition with Cha Premium Make-Up & Boutique. She is the person who discovered and mentored Cha Jeong-Hyeok into a top, South Korean make-up artist. She is jealous and insecure of the fact that many think “the student has surpassed the teacher.” Years ago she chose her career over love and claims she doesn’t regret it. Oh Shi-Eun is not about to allow Jeong-Hyeok to stand in her spotlight.
While building her acting career, Baek Ji-Yoon dated her make-up artist, Cha Jeong-Hyeok, for six years but dumped him five years ago in order to marry a cheabol she met in Prague just so she could have a high class life. But right from the start the marriage was doomed. Her husband, being insecure with his wife’s love, had affairs and physically abused her and now that she wants out she is under the impression she’ll be able to waltz right back into Jeong-Heok’s outstretched arms.
Forty-one year old Joo Sang-Wook plays the part of Cha Jeong-Hyeok. He always so wonderfully plays the part of a self-secure, strong man. The guy is drop-dead gorgeous and has a seductively sweet smile. He majored in Visual Design at Namseoul University and has been working in the entertainment industry since 1998. He’s been a ton of dramas but my favorites are Good Doctor, Birth of a Beauty, Cunning Single Lady, and Fantastic – each one worth seeing. He sang I Miss You, one of the songs on the soundtrack of the 2009 Kdrama Queen Seondeok, in which he played a prince. This multi-award winning actor married actress Cha Ye-Ryun in 2017 and became a daddy just shy of two years ago.
Han Soo-Yeon is played by 28 year old actress Kim Bo-Ra. Her career began when she was only ten years old, playing the part of the young Lee Se-Na in the 2005 TV drama Wedding. The following year she was in her first big screen production, For Horowitz. She’s been in scores of both films and dramas and sang on the soundtrack of the KBS eight episode drama Jungle Fish 2, in which she also had a supporting role. Last year she received the Popular Female Character Award for her role in the highest rated cable drama of all time, Sky Castle.
Although the plot can be considered “usual” (a relationship that begins with animosity, builds to friendship, and ends in love), I enjoyed the fact that it encompassed an uncommon profession. I’ve seen “beauty” Kdramas before but not one based solely on the art of make-up. And a nice bonus is that we are given wonderful advice throughout the show (just like we got cleaning tips from Your House Helper) that can help us in our own make-up application.
I was amazed when the show made reference to the fact that a premium make-up artist makes up to 1.5 million won (just over $1,200 U.S) for a single make-up session. Wow!
Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of make-up. I use only the basics and it doesn’t take me longer than five or six minutes from start to finish. However, So-Yeon’s take on make-up was eye-opening for me – “It may be somewhat of a hassle at times. But you feel so great after you put it on. Making myself look a little better and stylish. Making me feel as though I am taking care of myself.”
A huge, honorable mention shout-out goes to the character Chief Kim Dong-Min. After Cha Jeong-Hyeok, Chief Kim is the next sought after make-up artist at Cha Beauty, and is the comic relief of the show. He is the perfect supporting character! His flamboyant, over-the-top personality steals every scene he’s in. Three cheers for Hong Seok-Cheon and his excellent, entertaining acting.
Touch is rightly classified as a romance but it would have been nice to have had a little more “skinship” in the show. There’s not a lot of kisses and the ones we see leave a lot to be desired. However, Cha Jeong-Hyeok and Han Soo-Yeon’s chemistry clicks well enough to convincingly help the romance along.
I thought the drama was called Touch because CEO Cha just had that special “touch” when it came to make-up. But that’s only part of it. Closer to the end of the show we find out the real meaning to the title, so wait for it.
Touch was aired on a cable station so its ratings were much lower than if it had been free to the public. I mention that so you won’t go by the show’s ratings in deciding whether or not to watch the drama. I’m very glad I saw it.
Hey Ya’s English words really put a damper on its beautiful music. If it had been sung in Korean I would have loved it but the bad English… well, it’s like putting gravy on chocolate chip ice cream. In the show, Soo-Yeon sings a song called For You (really performed by Kim Soim). It’s a pretty ballad she sings over the phone to help Do-Jin fall asleep. (The look on Jeong-Hyeok’s face as he over hears her from out in the hall is 100% endearing.) The words to the sweet ballad Can Do Nothing, sung by Ma Eunjin, express exactly how Soo-Yeon feels about her boss. It fits perfectly with the storyline of the drama. The upbeat songs are Go Go, performed by Kim Tae-Hyun, and Make Up Your Mind, sung by Shin Youna. Both have a fun sound.
Cha Premium Make-Up & Boutique looks exactly how its name suggests – premium. It’s huge, bright, clean, and has an expensive feel to it. You know the instant you walk in you’ll be paying a pretty penny for even the simplest service. Jeong-Hyeok’s apartment is also lavish, fit for the country’s most talented make-up artist. However, when he looses everything, going from riches to rags, the settings change as drastically as his life does. We are able to see (tangibly) what is going on in his life at all times. Excellent.
I enjoyed this show from start to finish, whipping through it in just five days. It’s got what every good romance should have – two people who are made better by the simple Touch of love and support they receive from each other.
Decent chemistry between Jeong-Hyeok and So-Yeon
Casting (everyone perfectly portrays their character)
Supporting character Chief Kim Dong-Min
16 hours of Joo Sang-Wook in turtleneck sweaters
Nothing bad, just nothing spectacular