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Meet Yeon-woo Jhi, a South Korean “Muscle Barbie”

Yeon-woo Jhi is an IFBB Pro female bodybuilder with multiple major titles under her belt. The contrast between her cute, feminine face and impressively muscular body have also made her somewhat of an internet celebrity and earned her the nickname “Muscle Barbie”.

Looking at 34-year old Yeon-woo Jhi, it’s hard to imagine that she was once a skinny, frail girl suffering from panic disorder and struggling to overcome social phobia. But everything changed 14 years ago when she started going to a gym near her house, hoping to get stronger. She just wanted to stop feeling weak and never imagined that she would one day compete in major bodybuilding competitions, but as her strength and stamina increased, she got more passionate about fitness and eventually decided to show off her toned up physique on stage. Jhi won the first bodybuilding competition she ever entered, and that only inspired her to work harder. She went on to win the Arnold Classic Europe Amateur in 2013, and became a pro in 2015.

Photo: Yeon-woo Jhi/Instagram

Photo: SBS 

Yeon-woo Jhi has been competing in bodybuilding events for nearly a decade, but it was only a couple of years ago that she became a mainstream online celebrity. Photos of the muscular beauty went viral online and people just couldn’t get over the contrast between her cute, doll-like face and her brawny body.

 

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“I started lifting weights 12 years ago. At first, it was just a simple hobby, but in 2010, I was challenged to participate in the Korean National Bodybuilding Competition. I placed first, so I continued to compete,” Yeon-woo Jhi said in a 2017 interview with Oxygen Magazine. “I was very skinny and weak before I started working out, but I really wanted to have big muscles.”

 

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Yeon-woo Jhi’s unique look has made her very popular on Instagram, where she currently has over 130,000 followers and earned her TV appearances in her native South Korea.

 

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