The Hardships of Kpop Idols

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Daniella Rodriguez

The three members of Krush smile in unison and appreciate the upbeat Kpop hit which the idols of (G)I-DLE worked very hard on.

Over the last two years, Kpop has blown up worldwide. Though some would argue, the one-hit-wonder Psy, who blew up because of his hit song “Gangnam Style”, paved the road that the rest of the Kpop idols are now cruising on. If you even try to say that you never once heard the song “Gangnam Style” during 2012, you’re lying. Everyone knew that song or had at least heard it once. That aside, foreign music was much more welcomed and earned a place with the rest of the popular music.

Daniella
Senior Kelsey Adikari maintains a bright smile as Freshman Kristina Adikari and Senior Nour Rajha feel the energy of the upbeat ending of the song “Uh-Oh”.

Kpop idols may look like they have it easy, but it’s quite the opposite. They have to put hours into their work and even learn various languages. Even after all of this hard work, there is a low chance that they will even make it big. Most groups that make it big end up making a music video and, of course, learning a dance for the specific song. “Fire” by BTS has a sharp assortment of choreography and jumping, it looked as though it was very difficult to master. Being able to do these high energy dances and completely learn them is a whole task on its own.

Learning another language is hard enough, but learning many languages and memorizing conversation vocabulary can be challenging even for the brightest minds. Kpop idols learn on average the minimum of three languages. Some even become fluent. Lead rapper from Got7 Bambam is a perfect example of a trilingual Kpop idol. Though some idols have no problem mastering foreign languages, some don’t have it as easy and have to put in hours learning just the basics.

Personal image is another thing Kpop idols have to keep a close eye on and make sure they don’t screw up. The tiniest mistake is taken highly and is well over exaggerated most times. Many idols must maintain a weight which is usually well below what is considered an average, healthy weight. Changing their hairstyle to something more daring than what they had before, or simply dying it a color that isn’t exactly mainstream could lead to a mass media outrage.

Freshman Kristina Adikari certainly believes Kpop idols have a difficult career. “They have to change themselves to please others and have the stress of it. Also, they have to put a lot of work in to be accepted by society and standards.” What led Adikari to believe this was actually based on certain events that had happened in Kpop history. “Some events that led me to think like this was when Taehyung of BTS wasn’t really free to be himself after harsh comments on the media and didn’t accept himself. Also when I saw how companies mistreated the idols, and there were also a few cases where idols decided to commit suicide.” Adikari also thinks that learning new dances would be very hard on the idols. “I think learning so many dances would be hard on them. They would have to remember so many dances would be hard on them. They would have to remember so many dances and would have to practice so much. It would be hard on them mentally and physically. Practicing so much as they do would be bad for the body… making it harder to pull all of the moves.”

Freshman Hannah Rodriguez also thinks Kpop idols suffer from their hard career. “Sometimes they talk about the hardships they’ve gone through to get where they are now.” Rodriguez thinks that some of the reasons for the unexpected suicides are mostly from their career. “Most of the time I think it is because of their career and social media, it gets to them.” Rodriguez also believes that they are stressed and overworked. “There are just times where they break down and they look exhausted.”

Daniella Rodriguez
The three Krush members move to their left side radiating immense energy and happiness as they perform an impressive dance to the song “Uh-Oh” by (G)I-DLE.  

Senior Kelsey Adikari has much to say when the topic of the difficulties of Kpop idols is mentioned. Adikari strongly agrees with the fact that Kpop idols have a difficult career. “It looks tough. Not even a pinch of freedom until they become famous. One idol, Chris Bang, from Stray Kids had dreads for a hairstyle in a performance and he received so much hate and even death threats and people telling him to leave the Kpop group that he’s the leader of. This is even though that he is humble and a great guy… Never afraid to interact with fans and listen to their stories… It probably hurt him a lot not to have a voice to stand up for himself. And even if he did, only bad things would come from it.” Adikari also mentions the immense amount of pressure put on the girl idols of Kpop. “As for the girls, they have to remain under 98-ish pounds, and they’re usually pretty tall.”

Daniella Rodriguez
Seniors Nour Rajha and Kelsey Adikari along with freshman Kristina Adikari perform a high energy dance with visible grins, just as Kpop idols would do themselves under any circumstances.

Adikari also details the lack of respect for the idols of the worldwide famous Kpop group BTS. “I’m pretty sure BTS had to deal with rude and maybe even violent supervisors until they got so famous that other people from their company would finally have to respect them… Because now they’re bringing all the money in.” Respect is not the only thing Kpop idols are lacking. Adikari speaks about the lack of personal time idols have to spend on doing their own thing, most of it is dedicated to learning dance routines. “They don’t get to choose their practice hours, and all these dances mean that they have to practice all the time. I heard someone’s experience, and they only get 6-8 hours a day where they get to choose what to do. They’d be pretty tired.”

How does Adikari feel about the possible influence of the idol’s careers on the few suicides that have occurred within the community? “It’s the fact that they go through those long stressful hours… And they get no results like an acknowledgment of pay. Sometimes they get hate. And as a human being, things hurt. When the problems never go away and they never get any support, only hateful comments, and criticism, it might feel like nothing will ever be good again.”