The stories behind the glamor and beauty of the Kpop idol industry shared by the former SM idol make fans feel sad.
There’s no denying that the Korean entertainment industry is precisely a war, where the winners get known and shine, while the losers become bitter and powerless as they have lost their youth, stamina, hope, or even money.
Only idols understand idols. From the view of the outsiders, it’s just the tip of the cold iceberg, who would see the hidden corner of the entertainment industry? Behind the flashy and luxurious appearance, it is a harsh race of blood, sweat, and tears. The story was partly shared by Amber Liu, a former member of f(x) under SM company, at the program This Morning in 2020, making fans’ hearts couldn’t help going out.
Amber Liu debuted at the age of 18. Because he was too young, Amber had to obey the company unquestioningly: from what to do, what to say, what to think, what to look like, even her thoughts must follow the directive of the company. In the past, she had tanned skin, but because of popular tastes, she had to brighten her skin to have a chance to debut. Amber had to comfort herself that was what it was like to be an idol. Is the price of chasing the career K-pop idol, passion, and dream is to trade off yourself?
Amber also shared that she developed a lot of really bad eating disorders because she has to force herself to lose weight and follow a strict diet in order to appear perfect in public. Even though having known it was a dangerous act that would destroy her own body, she really couldn’t do anything else, simply because idols are public figures, they can’t live only for themselves.
There is a floating joke about the big difference between male and female levels in the K-pop industry: “For girls, you have to go for the general public popularity; for boys, you need a big passionate fandom.” Although male idols are also bound by a lot of rules set by the agency, they are generally laxer than female idols, at least never having to worry too much about weight. As for female idols, Amber said that weight is an obsession.
Conversations like, “You didn’t eat today, right? No. I didn’t eat either.”, or “I’m going to try this diet”, or “We can’t eat” by female idols to be skinny, to be in perfect shape to be noticed and loved by the public through Amber’s narration makes listeners upset.
Being an idol is to be beautiful – these are the goals that all idols are trying to achieve. Amber shared that questions like whether her hair is on point, is her face on point, is what she is wearing good always matter. Even plastic surgery is said to be a very common, very important, it had to be well-thought-out like type of procedure, the pressure of not being overshadowed in the midst of the Kpop “flower garden” is inevitable.
Indeed, with the aim of becoming famous and admired, one must endure feelings that others cannot bear. There’s certainly a lot more behind the scenes of the fierce entertainment industry that Amber and others haven’t mentioned. But the confession of the former f(x) member also made us understand somewhat about what Kpop idols have to endure to shine with her passion and enthusiasm.