Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Culture 101: Selca 셀카

For people who are into K-pop, probably you guys are already VERY familiar with the word 'Selca 셀카 ' Most Korean stars especially idol groups do a lot of selcas and post it on their twitter or me2day accounts. So what in the world is Selca?

When I asked my Korean friend about it, who's by the way into selca too, she said it's a combination of two English words, self for sel and camera for ca so Selca = Self Camera. But when I tried to search for written blogs about selca, another blog says it's made by marrying two English words together, self and capture. Selca is one of the words that the younger generation of Koreans made. According to a study I read written by a Korean, yes believe it or not there is a study, and I am planning to study this one too, hehe, it says that the word comes from self and camera. Well, it conveys the same meaning anyway you self capture yourself through a camera.

How did it start?
Before cameras on cellphone were invented or should I say phones with camera, lol, many Korean middle and high school girls already used camera a lot and connect it to their personal computers to upload pictures of themselves on their own so called "mini-homepages." Then they also upload pictures on "special sites" where pictures that get most attention were labeled eolguljjang 얼굴짱 literally face-best). This eventually led to eoljjang (얼짱) phenomenon. Then another term, 캠 빨 kaemppal, became popular, which is use to describe people who appears aesthetically or physically attractive or appealing in pictures. It's a combination of camera and 빨 ppal.*In English we simply call it photogenic. Another term for this is 사진빨 sajinppal, (sajin- photo), which I guess is more commonly used these days.
Experts on Selca
Koreans are experts when it comes to taking pictures of themselves and making it appear like an actress or actor or a totally different person. hahahaha. In a smartphone application called Face World Match, basically it's an application where profile pictures undergo a sort of tournament of who's the prettiest and most handsome or whatever you call it. And of course Koreans always win for both categories, male and female. I don't know maybe you guys decide. hahaha. The developer of the said application happens to be a Korean company, which I expected right from the start.

Selca Strategies
Also, when they take pictures they consider different elements like lighting angle along the face and the position of the camera. In order to make your eyes bigger and in order to show a v-shape face you must consider the angle. They said 45-degree is the best angle. Of course you have to find your best angle. And the only way to know is practice after all they said practice makes perfect. ahahahaha. Plus with the new user friendly-handy photo editing technology through your smartphones, selca would definitely be easier to execute.

Two of my Korean star girlfriends ehem haha Park Han Byul and Gu Hye Sun and another actress Kim Ok Bin made their debut in the entertainment industry through the eoljjang 얼짱 trend. They were scouted by entertainment companies after posting their pics on the internet when they were high school students. That started the popularity of Selca culture. It became well known to everyone in Korea and became an ordinary habit.

Why Selca?
There could be many reasons. Let me mention some that I could think of. With the advent of SNS, blogging and many ways to express oneself through a virtual space, selca is very convenient especially to actors and actresses. That's why most Korean stars every time they update something on their twitter they take selcas. And every selcas of these stars are considered big news in the "fandom" world. If you happen to follow a K-pop website most of the news are selcas of a particular star.
But Selca is not just for actors and actresses. Even 'ordinary' people in Korea do selcas A LOT. Maybe they do it in hopes of joining the entertainment industry just like the actresses I mentioned or maybe they're just doing it for fun. For people who have Korean friends on their Facebook I guess you understand what I'm saying here. Most, if not everyone, their profile pictures are products of selcas. hehe Why? Reasons may vary for sure but let me feature it on my next entry about selca ^^

*빨ppal- is an affix which literally means force, vigor, spirit or strength. So when you attached it to other words it would mean something like strong at or vigourous at or forceful at...well I guess you already got the idea.But you can't just attach it to all other words unless you wanna start a trend.

First Picture: Three of my Facebook friends
2nd and 3rd pictures: Some of Korea's famous actors, actresses and singers.
Last Picture: Kim Chang-jo and Lee Han-kook (Winners of Face World Match)



  1. The people in the first pictures are your friends???!!!! The girl is so pretty and the 2 guys are so cute and hottties!!!!

  2. Haha ok I will tell them. Thanks for reading my blog

  3. im the only one that never gets pretty in selcas lol doesnt matter how hard i try xD

  4. Hello Kagome chan ^^ haha sad to say but me too. but my friends are experts

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  10. Oh~ now I know what selca means =b thanks for the explanation ~^^

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  16. What selca app are they using for pictures?