This is a summary based on my understanding of the series. Please also note that this summary contains spoilers. You may want to watch it first before proceeding - you can watch / download the movie from Netflix - click here to sign up.
Season 1 – Episodes 1 to 16
Kim Hye Jin is no longer as pretty as she was back in highschool. She used to be popular, however at present, she grew freckles on her cheeks, had kinky hair, and has no idea about beauty and fashion. In the middle of looking for jobs, she started communicating with her childhood friend, her first love, Ji Sung-Joon.
Ji Sung-Joon used to be bullied before because of his weight. Nevertheless, Hye-Jin became his only friend. Hye Jin is his first love, he never forgot her, kept writing a-d looking for her, and now that he is back in Korea – he wanted to meet her again.
At first, Hye-Jin was excited to meet Sung-Joon again, but on their meeting place, Sung-Joon simply passed by her. He changed a lot, he is no longer the fat kid she used to know. He is now very fit and good looking. Hye-Jin realized that she changed a lot too. She used to be pretty, popular, and did well in her studies – now she’s no longer attractive, she’s unemployed, and she has student loans. She remembered all her insecurities and decided not to face Sung-Joon.
Hye-Jin decided to let her bestfriend, Min Ha-Ri, meet Sung-Joon instead. Ha-Ri is pretty and fashionable, just like how she was before. Ha-Ri & Sung Joon talked while Hye-Jin watched from a far. Ha-Ri later on told Sung-Joon that they could not meet again since she will be going abroad.
Hye-Jin was finally hired, and was later on moved to The Most (magazine) team. She met Kim Shin-Hyuk, a colleague that constantly makes fun of her. It was also announced that they have a new boss – and it turned out to be Sung-Joon. Hye-Jin was the all around assistant, and since she was clueless about most tasks and fashion terms, she always gets scolded by Sung-Joon. He’s very strict when it comes to work.
Sung-Joon kept scolding Hye-Jin, Shin Hyuk kept teasing Hye-Jin. Meanwhile, Sung-Joon and Ha-Ri kept seeing each other. Hye-Jin no longer knows about this but Ha-Ri kept on pretending that she was Hye Jin. Ha-Ri kept on bumping into Sung Joon, she eventually started liking him. Ha-Ri even initiated a kiss, and brought up the idea of them dating. Ha-Ri felt guilty, and attempted so many times to reveal the truth to Sung-Joon, but it kept being postponed and she could no longer ignore her feelings for Sung-Joon.
Also, Shin-Hyuk and Hye-Jin bonded a lot during and after office hours. Shin-Hyuk later realized that he liked Hye-Jin.. not just as a friend but he is in love with her. He tried telling Hye-Jin about this but she considered it as a joke and also made it clear that it is Sung-Joon that she liked.
During one of their major photoshoots, a dress was damaged and Hye Jin took responsibility of it. Sung-Joon was under a lot of pressure since he has been assigned to have The Most magazine ranked 1st, and if he fails – the magazine will be discontinued. Sung-Joon ended up firing Hye-Jin in front of their colleagues. After Hye-Jin left, a random model admitted that she was the one who damaged the dress because she tried fitting it.
Shin-Hyuk & Sung-Joon persuaded Hye-Jin to come back. She declined at first but later on said yes when she realized that she needed the funds to buy her father a new printing machine. Before she went back to the office, she decided to go to the salon and even bought some clothes and make up. She had a makeover – she became pretty again.
Even before Hye-Jin became pretty, Sung-Joon was already drawn to her. Not because of her name or how she looked, but because of her personality. She has a lot of traits that reminded her of the Hye-Jin he knew when he was young. He was even a little convinced that he is the real Hye-Jin, instead of Ha-R. Sung-Joon dismissed the thought of Hye-Jin being his real childhood friend when Ha-Ri showed him the puzzle piece he gave her before he left Korea (Ha-Ri got this from Hye-Jin’s room).
Hye-Jin knew the truth about what Ha-Ri was doing – she saw her talking to Sung-Joon at his hotel lobby. She was disappointed, but she didn’t confront Ha-Ri, she simply waited for her to confess because she believes Ha-Ri has her reasons.
Shin-Hyuk, even though he is working at The Most and usually asks Hye-Jin for free meals, is actually rich and is a long term guest at Ha-Ri’s hotel. Shin Hyuk & Ha-Ri shared some meals together, and he told her that Hye-Jin knows, he advised that it is better for Ha-Ri to tell the truth.
Ha-Ri planned on telling the truth all along. She called Sung Joon so they could meet and she could explain. However, Sung Joon saw her poster first (she was nominated as employee of the month) and saw that her name was actually Min Ha-Ri. He called her by that name, and Ha-Ri answered. Sung Joon got angry and left, she didn’t let Ha-Ri explain. She was heartbroken.
Hye-Jin & Sung-Joon reunited – but Hye Jin wanted to take things slow because she doesn’t want to hurt Ha-Ri’s feelings. When Ha-Ri made it clear that she is totally okay with it, they carried on dating, making it a secret from everyone else in the office. Only Shin-Hyuk knows. He is in love with Hye-Jin but he already accepted that she only has eyes for Sung-Joon.
Sung-Joon struggled to make The Most magazine get to the first place – but he and the team achieved it with the help of Shin-Hyuk. Shin-Hyuk turned out to be Ten, a famous author with an anonymous identity. He revealed his identity via the Most Magazine, which means he’s the main reason why it reached the first place. He left the company after that and said goodbye to everyone – he personally said goodbye to Hye-Jin.
Since he was able to accomplish his task, Sung-Joon is bound to go back to New York for a promotion. He asked Hye-Jin to come with her, but she also has an opportunity to be a fairytale writer in Korea. They proposed to each other and agreed to marry a year later.
After almost a year, Sung-Joon went back to Korea. He left everything and decided to settle in Korea. He found a new job – he will replace the Chief Editor.
Sung-Joon & Hye-Jin got married. Sung Joon continued to be a Chief Editor at The Most Magazine, Hye-Jin continued to be a fairytale writer – and they had a kid who looked a lot like Hye Jin!
The End of She Was Pretty – Korean Drama.
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