K-pop’s squeaky-clean image was marred this week by the sudden death of popstar Goo Hara and the conviction of two former stars for gang rape.
In November, Insider published a story of the dark side of the industry. Read it in full below.
K-pop stars seem to have it all, with millions of fans dedicating billboards and sending gifts to their idols from around the world.
A little-spoken aspect of the industry, however, is how hard it is to be — and stay — a star.
Past and present K-pop stars told Insider about the industry’s exceptionally high beauty standards, gym routines, and their inability to date in order to remain accessible to fans.
One said that her record label confiscated her phone to keep her focused on work.
Last month K-pop star Sulli was found dead in her home in what police say could be of apparent suicide. She was one of the few stars who deviated from the K-pop mold, and was chastized for it.
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JINJU, South Korea — K-pop stars are loved, and even worshipped, around the world.
BTS fans, who are in their millions, call themselves the “Army” and once flooded a Korean restaurant with one-star Yelp reviews after its owner said another band was better.
Other hardcore K-pop fans also pool their money together to buy presents — including billboard ads in Times Square — for their idols in a practice based on the Korean word “jeogon,” which means “tribute to the king.”
But behind the scenes, the reality is different.
Insider spoke to members of Great Guys, an up-and-coming boyband consisting of nine men in their 20s, after their performance at the Korea Drama Festival in Jinju in early October.
What they shared was a life of strict gym schedules, diets, and forced singledom — far from the glitz and glam they show on stage.
Grueling gym routines and restrictive diets
“Gym, studio, bedroom — that’s my life circle,” said Ho Ryeong, one of the band members. “We are now preparing for our new album and are actually quite busy.”
“Honestly, we don’t have much time for eating,” he said. “Nor are we free to eat what we want.”
Another member, Jae I, chimed in: “That’s the hardest part. It’s not easy to follow a diet, but [I suppose] it’s not impossible either.”
It’s a testament to the pressures of maintaining the intense beauty standards of the K-pop industry: idols must look and stay beautiful, young, and in good physical shape. That usually ends up in severe diets and exercise regimes.
One famous K-pop diet, known as the “Paper Cup Diet,” involves eating nine paper cups — the size of the ones you’d find by water coolers — worth of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables every day. Discussion of this diet is also popular among on pro-anorexia forums.
Way, a former member of K-pop band Crayon Pop, told Insider in a separate email: “We weren’t allowed to eat midnight snacks. Other snacks like chips and candy weren’t allowed, so we would sneak out and …read more
Source:: Business Insider