12:33 am - 01/19/2013

Lee Hi Shocks Fans With Training Details

A K-Pop idol is usually trained under a strict system before their debut. Typically, kids will have to go through various stages of auditions before being signed on as trainees. The ones who are successful will secure themselves long-term contracts with the respective talent agencies. After which, they will enter a training programme which is usually years-long.

Note: The standard training programme includes many hours a day learning music, choreography, exercising, and classes in foreign languages e.g. Japanese, Chinese, and English. Because a lot of these trainees are required to devote their time and energy to the programme, they would drop out of school.

For the people who didn’t grow up in that kind of environment or for those who aren’t exposed to that kind of culture (read: South Korean music industry), it might seem a little extreme. But for the trainees, their sole purpose is to achieve their dream of someday becoming a K-Pop idol.

One good example of how “extreme” (and some say cruel) it sounds to outsiders is the fans’ reactions to Lee Ha Yi’s account of being a trainee under YG Entertainment. 16-year-old Lee Ha Yi, better known as her stage name, “Lee Hi“, is YG Entertainment’s current “baby K-Pop idol”. She was one of the finalists of reality TV singing competition, “Survival K-Pop Star” before she was spotted by YG’s CEO, Yang Hyun-syuk, who immediately signed her as a trainee.

But she is also one of the only artistes currently in YG Entertainment who has had the least amount of training prior to debut. Whilst other trainees are given years and years of training, Lee Hi only had a few months before she released her first single. Hence, Lee Hi’s personal account of her training (released via her Star Column on Naver) has shocked fans who have read it:

My body is tired. I want to eat but I can’t so I cried again. I want to be pretty for my stages so I go to the gym to exercise again. But exercising is really tough. There was once when I could not hear in my ear suddenly, when I was in the hospital, the doctor said its sudden deaf. As I always exercise without eating, I fell sick.

When I was singing halfway, one of my ears was suddenly deaf again. I thought I would be unable to sing anymore so I was very sad. But of course it was fine after treating my sickness in the hospital.

I now only do three different exercises in the gym. I can’t reveal my weight but I have lost 6kg in total.

I eat breakfast at 10am, I eat lunch three hours later. Another 3 hours later I eat my dinner. Every day, I only eat from the menu that the coach and nutritionist have come up with. If I feel hungry in the middle of the day, I will eat half a sweet potato and three cherry tomatoes.

The first time when I had to control my weight, I don’t know why I had to live like that. But after looking at my performances, I know why. When I am exercising, I will have stronger energy so I will not be that tired compared to the first time I was practicing.

After I’ve reached the weight that I want to, I will be able to eat a lot of meat and sweet food. I love meat. When I received #1 in a music website online, I received the coach’s permission to eat meat. I ate a lot of meat and I was also snapped photos by some fans. As I am still young, there are times where I could not resist eating meat anymore, but I am currently dieting happily!

Is it too much pressure and too stressful for a 16-year-old who didn’t first start out as a trainee from an even younger age? We’ll let you decide. In any case, you have our love and support, Lee Hi!

(Translation: nakedae | flyhayi)

source: hype.my, naver
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dapo322 19th-Jan-2013 01:02 am (UTC)
Hmmm...I'm kinda surprised they put this out there. Now that I think about it, it's not surprising with the way it seems that female idols have their diets revealed. I guess I'm more surprised about them being ok with revealing she cried about dieting.
0nlymemories 19th-Jan-2013 01:21 am (UTC)
I think they're trying to humanize her, since a lot of people resent her for her "sudden" success? If so, I think it'll work, although at the same time, as I said below, I don't think she has any frame of reference for what "hard work" is supposed to look like.
memorian 19th-Jan-2013 01:03 am (UTC)
Ehh it's not as grueling or surprising compared to the other things I'v heard/read.
I think I like it better tho that she was only a trainee for a couple of months instead of years. I think it's so terrible to have to give your blood, sweat and tears basically training to BECOME a trainee, then spend years being a trainee when there's the chance that you may never even debut with that company, I find it really sad.
odd_fish_stick 19th-Jan-2013 01:10 am (UTC)
jaejoong 19th-Jan-2013 01:13 am (UTC)
The training system in Korea seems really horrible, especially for the larger companies than have many trainees. They work their asses off for years, putting in all they have. You hear stories all the time of idols who moved to Seoul on their own to become a trainee and had to do weird part time jobs or sleep in freaking train stations just to be able to have a shot. And there is always the high possibility that at the end of the day it might get them nowhere because only a limited number of trainees actually get the chance to debut.

Plus I feel like the relationship between fellow trainees has to be really strained as well because before you're placed into a project group, you're basically competing against all of the other trainees. So you're in constant competition with the people who are around you all day.

Most trainees tend to be preteens and the stress from school, a hardcore training schedule, and competition within the group they spend the majority of their time with really can't be helpful for their physical or mental health.

Edited at 2013-01-19 01:15 am (UTC)
a_cheshire_grin 19th-Jan-2013 01:08 pm (UTC)
All of this.

Plus, I don't even want to think about the health issues most idols will have when they are older. The constant injuries, that can't heal, because the companies will rather drug their idols than let them rest.
Or the idols, who injure themselves very early in their career and maybe ruin it (and their bodies) or have to live with the pain (and painkillers) for the rest of their lives!

Not to forget the fucked up sleeping/eating schedule. Oh boy...
fancifury 19th-Jan-2013 01:14 am (UTC)
all that training and yet she still has the charisma of a lot lizard

go away
kiminikaeru 19th-Jan-2013 01:42 pm (UTC)
funny how you say that with a jiyeon icon
laceandskin 19th-Jan-2013 01:15 am (UTC)
I know that for a lot of people becoming an idol is like their ultimate dream but it doesn't seem worth it to me. Even if you make it in the end, things never get easy, there's the pressure to be flawless all the time and the insanely busy schedules.
rylee900 19th-Jan-2013 01:35 am (UTC)
Yeah. I have noticed though, that a lot of trainees/idols come from quite...not very well off backgrounds, so I guess they figure if they've got the talent/looks/charisma it's worth a shot. Becoming an idol is also pretty straightforward-you audition, get in, train, debut, compared to other ways of becoming famous where it's harder to get noticed.
0nlymemories 19th-Jan-2013 01:19 am (UTC)
That girl would dry up and blow away if she had to live a day doing the equivalent of an International Elite-level Gymnast.

That's pretty much what all extremely physically demanding (and being an idol is, both literally and for social/appearance reasons) occupations are like. At least she doesn't also have to worry about serious, career-ending injuries that can happen just because someone didn't check a mat or some of her equipment has failed.
nyokou 19th-Jan-2013 01:22 am (UTC)

I'm always horrified by the stories about China's gymnasts every time the Summer Olympics rolls around.
cocodile 19th-Jan-2013 01:20 am (UTC)
Sort of off topic but Hayi looks absolutely beautiful in the first pic, lbr. I wish her luck (and many many acting lessons).
markthatcoin 19th-Jan-2013 02:09 am (UTC)
i think she looks gorgeous the way YG styles her: age appropriate but put-together and mature
i loved her overall look at the GDA even if most people hated the contacts. that hair really suits her.
nyokou 19th-Jan-2013 01:20 am (UTC)
2NE1 and BIGBANG may be treated really well now but they went through these things too as trainees. It's not always sunshine and butterflies with the Korean music industry.
laceandskin 19th-Jan-2013 01:50 am (UTC)
Even now, I think Big Bang's schedule must be exhausting. It's not unusual to hear fan account of how tired some of them look during live performances.
I can't give my opinion on 2NE1 since they're "resting" now.
deeinanutshell 19th-Jan-2013 01:21 am (UTC)
while it sounds terrible (and it sounds like they forced her)... I'm sure she is not the only female star that went through this or something similar. I think it's good to let people know how tough it is.
the_erotomanic 19th-Jan-2013 01:22 am (UTC)
oh wow! it must've been really terrifying to suddenly lose your sense of hearing. it seems like she's in an idol bootcamp where the training is more severe since she has a limited amount of time unlike other idols who do their training gradually.

i hope all the hardships were worth it in the end.
rylee900 19th-Jan-2013 01:28 am (UTC)
Hearing stories like this make me kind of desperately sad for trainees who never debut
missnothings 19th-Jan-2013 01:39 am (UTC)
But there's always that .01% chance they could become the next Big Bang or SNSD. Maybe just that tiny percent is enough for people who desperately want it.
noneko 19th-Jan-2013 02:14 am (UTC)
That's sick. She's a child.
reelrecnizereel 19th-Jan-2013 02:15 am (UTC)
Thank you for this insight OP!! She is still going through puberty! only so much stress should be put on this child's body. There should be a cut off age for idols but I don't know what it would be :(
ashiva 19th-Jan-2013 02:16 am (UTC)
Honestly her diet sounds a lot better than those crazy diets that most idols go through. But I can see training feeling hard for her, especially as she probably wasn't very sportive before.

Edited at 2013-01-19 02:19 am (UTC)
montauks 19th-Jan-2013 02:22 am (UTC)
lol right?
lalaland_xx 19th-Jan-2013 02:18 am (UTC)
This sounds like nothing compared to what other idols went through when they were training, but I guess it's too much for her cause there wasn't really much time to get used to living like that before debuting, because they rushed her debut... and because she's 16 ofc.
montauks 19th-Jan-2013 02:23 am (UTC)
her diet sounds fine tbh. i mean i get that not being able to eat what you want, when you want is tough but i think she just needs to get used to it. that goes for all diets
frantastic 19th-Jan-2013 02:37 am (UTC)
There was once when I could not hear in my ear suddenly, when I was in the hospital, the doctor said its sudden deaf.

How scary :/
45s 19th-Jan-2013 02:46 am (UTC)
What is with the struggle jocks scoffing at this poor kid's story and saying what she's going through is nothing compared to some other unrelated but physically demanding thing?

Man, some of yall are bad at empathy. Not everything has to be a contest. She's a kid.
starsxsonatas 19th-Jan-2013 05:34 am (UTC)
lol ikr? hard stuff is hard stuff. it's all relative.
hopelessheartz 19th-Jan-2013 02:47 am (UTC)
Diets suck but she lost 6kg. Imagine TOP who lost 20kg right? in two months or so, he mustve been miserable.
markthatcoin 19th-Jan-2013 02:52 am (UTC)
are those pics making the rounds right now real? i'd never seen them before
khuntflap 19th-Jan-2013 03:03 am (UTC)
Korea has some serious, serious problem with their focus on fame and fortune. It's sickening what these KIDS are put through for the slight chance that they'll be able to debut and MAYBE get the spotlight for a while. It's not worth it, in my eyes, but their culture is so wrapped around idols and the entertainment industry that it's no wonder they think it is. The drive for fame in Korea outweighs most countries. The focus on fame is, well I think sasaengs sum that up pretty easily.

I think SME should be shot for developing the in-house training. The other companies followed in their footsteps. Not being able to go home while training has to be a freakish strain on top of everything else. It's just... sad.
45s 19th-Jan-2013 03:22 am (UTC)
Yes bc obsessing over fame and fortune in a society with little to no class mobility is specifically a Korean problem.

Come now. Not cool at all.
b1gay4 19th-Jan-2013 03:12 am (UTC)
i love meat too
45s 19th-Jan-2013 03:23 am (UTC)
Shit I will fuck up some meat rn
earthequality 19th-Jan-2013 03:42 am (UTC)
The comments saying this isn't anything compared to what other idols or people go through. Every person is different, and our bodies handle things differently. Who even knows if this is the full story. If it was hard for her, then it was hard and she has the right to talk about it.
warriorholmes 19th-Jan-2013 03:54 am (UTC)
Damn, training sounds intense. Some of these kids really want to be famous though. Even after you make it, the scheduling sounds insane.

I feel so bad for the kids who train for years and end up no where the most, though.

I'm still fairly new to kpop so I have to read up more on trainee days. I know about BB's documentary and I still have yet to watch that.
0nlymemories 19th-Jan-2013 04:12 am (UTC)
It's really good! Although it will also make you want to cuddle Seungri way more than you've ever wanted to before, unless you already stan him. I came out of it liking him sooooo much more than the ~suave guy~ styling he usually gets had led me to.
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