• ainote

    Preach.

  • sumandak

    Amen. 

  • xchoccies

    Nuff said. High five!

    The constant scrutinising, be it from the company or netizens, one can only take so much. Having to reach the ideal size to please the public eye. I don’t want to rely on IV drips every time I’m overworked. I’d want to date/go out freely, without having to be secretive just because I’m an idol and I’m afraid I’ll cause some fan to send threatening gifts. It’s at this age where you experience the end of high school, university life, socialising and dating.

  • itsmysunshine

    THIS. Okay, that’s all.

  • http://www.michelle-chin.com/ Michelle Chin

    I wouldn’t want to be scrutinize 24/7 and have fangirls leaving sanitary pads outside my dorm. NO.

  • MEalways

    I’m torn between glorious lifestyle + sureness pension/make my family & myself have a better living + travel around the world + do what I like (yes, I like sing and I like dance, and I excel none in both ;p) vs. meat/carbo/freedom… Top of all I love my freedom.

    But, since I pretty sure about my talent in singing and dancing, I have to pick non-idol life.
    I wish I can do whatever I want and still travel around the world, and enjoy being me.
    Should be another story then.

    You right about the-other-not-so-good-even-scary-sides about Kpop world, though. I never can imagine if I was under the management of Open World Ent. or CCM and if I have to wear the shoes of one of the artist that caught in the scandals there. And with the rate of suicide in Kpop world, or the working environment (this refers to Spy Myung Wol’s accident)… 

    And the saturated situation, where every month we can see new group, rookie, emerging… How long will it last?

    Not mention, the craziness of antis/fans (the most horrible thing like Tajinyo…) or got Yunho drank nasty thing, sasaeng fans…

    Oh, I didn’t know I would write an essay…. sorry.
    I would stop here, before I scare myself more and not able to enjoy Kpop anymore…
    Le sigh…

  • mognut

    I agree, I admire all of these individuals who put in the time, effort and dedication to become K-pop Idols. Its not an easy road, like you said in this article, they often sacrifice a lot in hopes of stardom and recognition, and to follow their dreams. But for me these sacrifices sometimes seem too much. I’d like to add to this list, to include company control, anti-fans and relationships.
    It still surprises me the amount of control the companies have over their artists. Telling them where to be, what to say, how to act, how to dress, what role to play in the group, what to sing and what concept to have for their songs. Sometimes it is blatantly obvious that the idol is extremely uncomfortable with the concept or topic of conversation, but they have very little choice and must follow along. Also when the company makes decisions and handle it badly like in the case of T-ARA and CCM, these actions reflect badly on the group and the individuals in the group.
    This is when Anti-fans and Anti-cafe’s set in. I’ve always believed in giving everyone a chance and even if you don’t like them or agree with them, you should respect their choices and not be malicious. But what I don’t understand is the vendetta that some of these anti-fans go on against these idols, like Tajinyo and others. How can you have such hatred and spite for someone you have never met or had a conversation with? 
    And how do you not want to be a fan of someone because they admit that they are in a relationship, like Se7en and others have done. I don’t think I could keep a relationship a secret, meet in cars and deny relationship rumors because the fans wouldn’t like it and the media attention it would get. I get the idea that having your bias available is appealing, but what are the chances that they’ll fall in love with you? When you are most likely going to fall in and out of love a few times in your lifetime. I mean, isn’t everyone entitled to a little happiness?
    Anyway, it’s sad that the glamorous life of Kpop has all of these drawbacks, but good on them for choosing this path and working hard for us, the fans!

  • Bhongo

    For me the deal breaker for this career and lifestyle choice
    would be the lack of control of your own life and destiny just like mognut has
    mentioned. I mean these Idols can start training as early as 14 I
    think?? When I was 14 years old I had a power struggle with my parents to prove
    that I am “grown up” and I can make my own choices with little to no influence
    from them. The power struggle lessened towards the end of my teen years but now
    as a young adult I still want to know that whatever I do in my career or
    personal life I have some say or influence to what happens in my life. So I am
    taken aback by how much control these companies have. Just to paraphrase
    something I read somewhere, I am not sure if it is true, that SHINee had
    limited contact with their friends around the time news got out that Jonghyun
    was dating Shin Se Kyung because of some controversy with fans. I can’t imagine
    telling a 20-something that they can’t meet up with their friends in the
    minimal personal time that they have. I think according to what I read their
    phone calls were monitored as well for a period of time. I am sure there have
    been times that groups have rebelled but fortunately we haven’t read or heard
    too many stories about that because we all know how netizens and the media can
    be with this information.  I think the
    control isn’t as bad when the group belongs to a bigger company and are a
    middle to top tier group but the difference isn’t that much. I always feel for
    the low-tier groups from small companies. The menstrual blood letters and the
    groping at airport terminals (poor Lu Han) would just be an over kill. That’s just nasty!

  • Black_Plague

    The cut-throat nature of the Kpop industry alone is enough to make the average Joe think twice about being an idol. Hectic schedules, excessive company control over one’s lifestyle, antis and crazy fans aside, the shady side is pretty disgusting indeed, as proven with the Jang Ja Yeon case way back in 2009 and in recent times, the Open World Ent. issue and Hwayoung’s sudden kickout from T-ara for no justified reason.

    Then there’s also the fact that because there’s so many idol groups debuting these days, the chances of success is pretty miniscule up to the point many don’t even bother doing a comeback at all.

    Personally, living long months away from family, no real friends and eating a restricted diet is something I can endure (having done so when I lived in Korea during 07 to 09, visiting family only during the winter holidays).

    However, working in an industry that has a very morally dirty side to it and treats the employees like machines literally is something I could never do, especially when I have a very strong tendency to rebel or speak out very often against those above him/her. Nor do I like to see or hear of fellow coworkers being sexually harrassed or coerced by the managers, CEOs or ‘sponsors’. It’s disgusting, simple as that. Anyone who justifies such has clearly been infected with some serious brain disease and don’t get me started on those that committ such acts. How idols today manage to put up with all this is simply beyond explanation and it wouldn’t surprise me that they’ll write their own memoirs when they grow old and retire.

    Not that I want to sound ignorant or wannabe-ish, but honestly, I’d even rather choose a military career over that of an idol one. At the very least, you get more given time to see your family and friends while having free time to yourself.

    If I had to blame someone for making idol life have some seriously nasty drawbacks, it would be the agencies and on a lesser degree, fans. The former is the lot that markets such idols as ‘perfect gods and goddesses’ to the public, public buys that up, fans are drawn in and a noticeable portion demand more and more, buying the agencies’ marketing that said idols are ‘perfect’. Result? The ones at the biggest loss in terms of mental and physical health are the idols and their lifestyle is ever more restricted and controlled, whether they like it or not.

    Final note – that picture of Nickhun is just…ugly. Definitely exaggerated as hell. It almost looks like he’s wearing a bodybuilder suit or had his entire head and neck transplanted into someone else’s body >__>

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nate-Broadus/100003245734823 Nate Broadus

    This might be the first article I agree with in full. Nice job.

    I would never want to live the life of an idol, even if someone deigned to pay me for the experience. When you get past the shiny veneer, there is a whole lot of chipped wood under the surface. 

    Torturing your body by aspiring to a non-existent waistline or over-contoured, but not properly nurtured, muscles is not something I would ever find acceptable to do. Eating one meal a day so I don’t show any extra skin on the day of a performance (or not eating at all) would make me want to put a hole through the wall. Your body needs nourishment, ESPECIALLY if you are going to put it through a rigorous dance routine. Who is giving these idols their fitness advice? They need to be fired, immediately.

    All I can think about are the things I would have to give up — things that I have experienced that I never would have if I had lived the life of a celebrity. 

    I met a girl once that I just happened to see for about ten minutes at a gathering. I never expected it to become anything, and now she is my fiance. We have had tons of outdoor, public dates, walking around, talking about anything from music theory to the less academic issue of which power ranger we liked most as kids. I didn’t have to sneak around like a ninja with her, or wear ridiculously over-sized aviator sunglasses or wigs just to attempt to delay the inevitable fan seeing through my disguise. I also didn’t have to pretend we were “just friends” when I was crazy about her. I wouldn’t trade those conversations for anything. 

    Imagine you have a family that you love and care for — now imagine that not only are THEY not there for some of your biggest, proudest moments, but YOU also are not there to comfort them when they are sad, sick, or even most horribly, when they die. I felt for Sunye after hearing her father died — even more so when I learned she was abroad when it happened. I was there in the hospital room when both of my grandfathers passed away. I had a chance to touch their hand and tell them I was there, and to say my goodbyes to them. They had a great influence on who I was as a person. If I had missed either of those moments, I would have a lot of hate for whatever kept me from them.

    It it is not worth it to me; I don’t love singing and performing that much. Some idols do love it enough to endure these crosses they place on their shoulders, but I wonder if even they truly understand what they are getting into when they are lured into the glittery grasp of Kpop.

    My life might be ordinary in a lot of ways, but damn it if I wouldn’t prefer it to stardom 100 times out of 100. The image of luxury is not enough to sway me from the great, and even the horrible, times I’ve had living a normal life. I have never had to live my life on a performance and appearance schedule, never had to live out all my mistakes in front of a camera and never had to hide who I truly was because millions of people might be disappointed to learn I was anything resembling a flawed human. 

    To the idols that choose that life, good luck to you. Sincerely. While I do think some are foolish for giving up so much to live that life, I think many are very brave to have made the decision and stuck by it, even when things look bleak, just because they love to perform. If nothing else, I can respect them for having resilience.

  • http://twitter.com/silverukiss Silver

    Sadly it’s all too true. Much as I love to sing, and would have loved to devote my life to it, there are some things I am not willing to give up. Thus I could never be an idol. (I mean, beyond that fact that I’m not good looking or talented enough to be one anyway, and completely the wrong nationality)

    I think some bad behavior by companies is also perpetuated because the lifespan of an idol group is so short. If companies had to be concerned about an idol’s future, they might not hold such a “use them up while you can, squeeze every last drop out” mentality. I am afraid that most of our idols are going to face serious repercussions later in life for how they abused their body while growing up.

  • Dana_SB

    That photo of Nichkhun without a belly button.  I just don’t understand how they photoshopped out his belly button and somehow thought that was okay.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nate-Broadus/100003245734823 Nate Broadus

      It was getting in the way of more muscles. I’m surprised they even kept his face on there. Think of all that wasted space.

    • BishieAddict

      Omg. I never noticed. I was wondering how people knew that was photoshopped

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VOBHN5WR2Q3MPYG2DVDKDOB3WU Lili

    agree with 100%. especially the fan part, and the food, and the sleep…man I whine about only getting two hours of sleep (school), and apparently that’s more than what these idols sleep lol no, but Krystal fainting actually looked scary. No way would I ever want to trade places with her. being sleepy is one thing, but that’s flat out exhaustion!

  • ShineeWorld52911

    Well said Nabeela, well said

  • http://twitter.com/prncsbratinella anna banana

    Super agree with everything that you said. I’ve always asked myself this question too and there’s just a lot of things that I can’t forgo if I were to be an idol. Aside from the minimal food & sleep, I can’t stand the idea of a dating ban, H*** to the NO!

  • BishieAddict

    Entertaining article. Yes, these thoughts have crossed my mind multiple times (at work, not in class though :p). there is also competition. Not only do you have to compete with other groups, but especially within your group so you can get a bit of spotlight. And on camera, you have to at least pretend to be chums, or else … it is bad publicity and rumors will fly. Being friendly is an image you have to maintain, even though you have not slept well in days, have jet leg and is utterly exhausted. Oh and when you are injuried or sick, apparently you have still have perform. No sick days, or else your fans will be worried. You also have to watch everything you say because it will be quoted and analysised multiple times.

  • Ditu3ka

    Trust me, that´s just not you. Me too.

  • Whirly Pop

    Exactly! 10 years down the road, when it’s all gone is when it all sucks.

  • bd005

    This is reminiscent of the Hollywood studio system or the 1990s boyband craze where producers like Lou Pearlman had strict control over the boy bands and many say took financial advantage of them.

    But everyone works long hours to become successful, whether it be Kim Yuna to be a world class figure skater or a physician or attorney.

    For those who make it really big, they will have the power to join an entertainment company on their own terms or even form their own company.

    As for Park Bom, she went under the knife too much; her face doesn’t move and looks continually bloated.

    A shame b/c she was cute as it was before the work.

  • regina_filange

    idoldom is the saddest part of the music industry. You experience immense fame, but only for a short period of time, and at the expense of nearly every other valuable thing in life- love, family, leisure time, freedom of expression, liberty in general. If I was so interested in performing, I’d find another way to do it. However, while I normally wouldn’t sympathize with them- being an idol is all about relying heavily on looks and not talent, I can’t say I feel sorry for people who make money off of these sacrifices- its the young who are recruited. They make dumb choices. They are being exploited, and I honestly have been reassessing my consumption of idol music because of it.

  • samlun100

    I absolutely agree to you.You have to give up a lot to be an idol.

    NO FOOD            If idols eat too much, netizens call them fat.
    NO SLEEP OR REST   Always have busy schedules or have to practice.
    NO DATING         Their company doesn’t let them date. If they do, it must be a secret.
    NO HOLIDAYS    They have to work even more on holidays
    NO FREEDOM    They cannot do whatever they want. Managers always keep eyes on them
    NO PRIVACY      Stalker fans are crazy.
    NO SCHOOL      They have no time to study.
    NO TIME FOR FAMILY      They seldom meet their parents even if they miss them.
    NO GUARANTEE OF SUCCESS      With tons of idols these days, competitions is unbelievable

  • http://www.facebook.com/Yaminomomo Daesha O’Leary

    I wish more idol hopefuls would read things like this. I see so many questioners online asking things like “Will I have to diet? Because I don’t want to.” and I think that they really have no idea what they’re getting into. If they were randomly lucky enough to pass the auditions and get in a trainee system, there is no way they could handle the idol world.

  • goldengluvsk2

    totally agree with you… I loled so hard because its like you can read minds xD!! I love music and i’d love to do what i love and be paid for it BUT I personally think id cut someone if theyre all over my face, trying to grab me by the wrist and take me off stage or following me… id be like “GTFO YOU CREEP!!” and using a taser on them might get me on jail :S…  Im kind of an hermit SO when people dont respect my personal space I freak out xD plus the food and no sleep?? i can’t… I pity Bommie unni because she cant eat corn as much as she wants xDD

  • waynecollections

    Yep completely agree. Actor is the other “less intense” route I would fantasize or consider. LOL.

    • MamaWack

       I use to think actors had it easier then I remember stories of Jang Ja-Yeon and others and how a lot actors commit suicide. there’s no easy route in k-entertainment or any entertainment business. You have to fight for your fame and success and fight even harder to keep your sanity and values

  • BeiSandy

    I agree. It would also be interesting to see someone write an article on why someone would want to become an idol still, knowing the reality of it. My guess is because essentially your life is planned for you.

  • mmmleen

    This article was made in perfect timing to what I’ve been thinking recently.

    Just yesterday I found myself in a throng of screaming girls waiting to catch a glimpse of Nu’est or B.A.P. or VIXX or Exo-M. I couldn’t help but have this heavy weight in my chest because of the intensity of the moment. As you all probably know by now, or will soon, KCON (or their partner, I don’t know for sure) limited autographs to the first 100 people to get in line to get tickets for it- an utter mess. I found out about this when I was waiting in the insanely long line to pick up my pre-ordered merchandise, when fans were telling others that we wouldn’t be able to get our Nu’est stuff signed :( People were crowding and running after staff to try to get those tickets and making that area of the convention a hellhole. After the B.A.P. tickets ordeal, where staff was trying to move fans to other locations, to get them to disperse, my group and I decided that we would forsake getting autographs, we still hadn’t even explored the whole convention and had an awesome concert to look forward to! But I still had the smallest sliver of longing to see Lay or Chen in person, closer than 200 ft. So I joined the group crowding outside the tent to see Exo-M come out and take some photos. I went through bouts of indecisiveness, wanting to leave and stay at the same time. Well I stayed and I am happy I did. But not for the reasons you’d think.

    When Exo-M came out, the fans went crazy, people crushed everyone, arms were outstretched with cameras, and I saw them all file out.  They were gorgeous, yes, but they were so thin that their faces actually looked bigger in comparison to their bodies.I could not get over how much they boys looked like flighty birds. They looked uncomfortable and a bit nervous. It saddened me to even be there so I left even before they did, the fans around me jumping into my spot the second I turned around.

    Although even recalling this makes my shoulders droop I’m grateful I witnessed it because at that moment I had a small epiphany that was a long time coming. I already knew that Kpop artists worked to the bone, that was a reason why I wanted to see them, to thank them and ask them to please take care of themselves more. And I knew that they had to put up with fans every time they were in public. But I think I was still in denial about how intense it is. My friend was treated like a tetris piece in the same crowd and told us of a fan who seemed to be experiencing myoclonus and screaming ‘KRISSSSS! KRISSSS!’ nonstop, to the point where a cameraman filmed her for 10 minutes straight and even brought out his own personal cellphone, and still she did not break stride.

    This is what kpop idols see most of the time because these fans are the ones that strive to be seen, at all costs. There are great fans, as in any fandom there are the neurotics and the genuinely pleasant fans. But the latter just don’t get much attention. It was a slap in the face for me to even be next to the former for a few minutes.

    My point is that I’m focusing more on their music now because of this experience, as it should be.  I don’t want to make their lives any harder than they already are. If I get a chance to actually meet them then it would be out of chance, not because I crowded with other fans and put their health and my health at risk.

    A few things before I end this seemingly pointless rant:

    I’m not saying Exo fans are crazy, I know there’s a lot of bad hype surrounding us right now. It’s just that the crazy ones always get more attention than the nice ones.

    I think the reason why I felt disillusioned was because I expected more. I expected them to be people. But at that time they were idols, and they got the treatment that idols usually get from fans trying to forge connections in a limited amount of time.

    Reading it over, it doesn’t really make as much sense as I hoped it would, but I still haven’t had enough time to mull it over.

  • MoontosUp

    So.. what else is new?

  • Cerovill_e

    I fully agree with this article. 100% percent. You own the internet, Nabeela. Here’s a cookie for you. ^^

    I can draw and sing, and frankly, I rather be an illustrator/comic
    artist rather than being a K-Pop idol. At least I still have some free
    time for myself, still can visit my family, and take a good rest if I am
    sick. Basically, I still can be myself in illustration job (except the deadlines and stuff, which can be nasty sometimes). As a person who is quite a rebel, and also have the habit to speak up on what’s wrong and what’s inappropriate, this is so not my job. You don’t have a freedom of speech or action once you’re in the world of K-Idols, enough said. You have to meet fans’ expectations, sacrifice the real you just for the sake of popularity and fame, and things like that, I just cannot do it. Sorry, but ‘being flawless’ is NOT in my dictionary. ==

    I rather live a life when I don’t have much glam (like what K-Idols get), but I still can be myself, rather than living the world of a K-Idol, where you get the glam, but in return, lose the real ‘you’,

  • MolybdenumStudios

    I hope everyone gets enlightened. HAHA, not a fan of K-Pop, but after I saw this article, this is really even more enlightening. After all, idols really do not enjoy their life, public or private.

  • Mika_San123

    I’d hate it if someone were controlling every aspect of my life down to my clothes and hair. I’d hate it even more if that someone didn’t even give me nice clothes and a nice hairstyle. I don’t know how some kpop stars are unembarrassed by hair colors that range from ruby red to lavender. Like, I absolutely adore DBSK, but if I had been them when they were promoting Tri-Angle, I probably would’ve cried a couple of times.

  • http://profiles.google.com/kyoharufan1 Amy Fong ;) my real name it is

    Agree with everything… I couldn’t imagine all the crap I’d have to go through in order to maintain a ‘perfect’ appearance..

  • http://www.facebook.com/marshmellowbelly Christina Xu

    but i think some kpop idol groups are incredibally close with each other within their group. imagine the stress they go through together.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aiyana.jenkin Aiyana Jenkin

    Omg your ultimate guy bias is Jun.K?! Me too! I love him more than anyone else in the whole music industry!

    I also couldn’t really handle the costs, I mean I have an addiction to candy and sweets and would probably die if I couldn’t get ANY! Plus I don’t think my bone structure would even allow me to become so skinny, even if I tried super hard to lose weight. And the Photoshop stuff, and everything they have to go through to become what society perceives as “perfect” are all just not worth it I think. It seems like something that really lowers your self esteem about yourself, and yet idols need to have a confident image. I appreciate the hard work they do though, and since they’ve chosen the complex life of a celebrity, it’s best for fans to support them in a healthy, respectable way. NOT like Sasaeng fans. Good Lord.

  • 945687

    This article and all these comments really make me think about the Kpop industry and Kpop idols in an entirely new way. :O It really is disturbing.

  • dfsgdfgsdf

    makes me want to be a kpop idol even more. :-]

  • Metagenic

    I totally agree with this post. Kpop entertainment companies have way too much control over their artists’ lives. The idols have no freedom whatsoever, they can’t eat what they want or date who they want, because the company wants to sell them to the public… heck, for the most part, idols don’t even get to make their own music, they can only perform what the company tells them to. I don’t know why so many of them put up with it, is fame worth all the sacrifices?