So You Want To Be A Kpop Idol, A Kpop Star?

It’s not going to be easy; and, you’ll need to get in line– a very long line of girls and boys just like you. So, what makes you different from everyone else dreaming the same dream?

This is a special post for my “little sisters” who are interested in pursuing a career in the Korean music industry as singers.

So You Want To Be a Kpop Idol, a Kpop Star?

If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out THIS post by seoulbeats about what it’s like for Asian-American, Latino, black and white people who are currently pursuing “The Korean Dream”.

I’ve talked about the music industry in South Korea before HERE, but I’d like to offer some advice– not just a warning, and introduce two possible role models (for my little sisters in particular) who have made it big in Korea and are black and Korean: Insooni and Yoon Mi-rae (aka “T” or Tasha).

In addition, here are two important links for everyone:

1. Entertainment Companies and Their Artists

2. Entertainment Companies and Their Addresses

I know that there are people of every race who are pursuing careers in music or entertainment in Korea, so there is someone out there who we can all look up to! If you’re not sure, just ask me.

I wish I had room to mention them all– from Jessica Gomes to Julien Kang to Sam Hammington and even Olivia, a French girl, and Sam, a Ghanaian boy. But, don’t even get me started on the people who are Korean-American or Chinese and have made it big in Korea!

From now on, I’m not going to use the word “Kpop idol” or “Kpop star”. I don’t think you’ll make it (very far) in the Korean music industry as a foreigner unless you have the humble heart of a true singer and are willing to work incredibly hard.

From learning to speak Korean to learning about Korean culture to learning about the people and companies that make up what has become a very large industry on top of actually singing and maybe even dancing if you become a “dance 가수 (singer).”

These days, anyone– even The Try Guys, can get surgery and be styled to look like a Kpop idol or Kpop star. These days, anyone can even have the attitude of a Kpop idol or Kpop star. So, what separates you from everyone else is your voice, talent, and work ethic.

Having a good work ethic, especially in a place where people are often overworked like South Korea, will be the best way to make your dreams come true. After all, by now many of us know that auditioning to be a singer in the Korean music industry both in America AND in Korea is an ordeal.

The competition gets harder and harder every year! So, that means you have to work harder, too. To see what its like to audition for SM, watch THIS video as the members of Infinity Challenge– seven of South Korea’s most famous comedians, do just that!

If you do manage to pass the audition and sign with a music or entertainment company, then practice harder than everyone else. Take critique– in fact, ask for it. Go out of your way to sing or dance anywhere and for anyone.

Most importantly, don’t let the challenges you encounter, such as discrimination or cultural differences, bring you down. It’s hard for Koreans to make it in the music industry, too, so don’t see your challenges as any harder than anyone else’s, although they might be different in many ways.

From running errands to performing favors to standing on small stages night after night and even being scolded and getting your feelings hurt– you better be ready to deal with it all and get through it all, always learning and improving along the way.

In addition, take the time to get to know your seniors in the Korean music industry, from H.O.T. to EXO, from G.O.D. to 2PM, from S.E.S. to SNSD, as well as other legends and current trends in the Korean music AND entertainment industry.

However, for my “little sisters” who are looking for a senior and role model who might hit a little closer to home, then look no further than Insooni and Yoon Mirae. They’re two stars at the top.

Go HERE to read more about Insooni and her story, as well as get some excellent advice from The Diva of Korea herself. Yoon Mi Rae is someone many people are more likely to already be familiar with. She is an amazing rapper AND singer who has come a long way in both South Korea and America.

If you have a dream, go for it; and, don’t be afraid to dream BIG.

But, be realistic. Don’t just see your dream– see the hard work, dedication and effort it will take to make it come true.

P.S.: Ready to audition? Find out how to audition for YG, Big Hit and SM HERE.

106 thoughts on “So You Want To Be A Kpop Idol, A Kpop Star?

  1. I have no music chops what so ever. Thankfully children do not care about if their moms can carry a tune just simply the love the sound of their voice.

    But thanks so much for such insightful tips. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to break into the music industry period!

  2. I am indian. (asian). 18yrs old
    My colour is light brown.
    I can sing and dance well.
    But my colour could be a problem????
    Please be honest! And thanks for your article. Its nice.

  3. Koreans think that lighter skin tones are more beautiful for KOREANS. I don’t know if they will hold you to that standard, too. I mean, Beyonce is popular in Korea, but so is Naomi Campbell. I also got many compliments on my skin color in Korea when I was there and even here in America from Koreans.

    For you, here are links to a half-Korean, half-Indian girl who did well on a Korean music talent show:

    There was another girl who was much darker and even wore hijabi, and she was also very popular and did well on a Korean music talent show, but I don’t remember her name anymore. >.<

    Also, your biggest problem is speaking and singing in Korean– not speaking and singing well for a foreigner but speaking and singing just as well as any other Korean.

    Your skin color, I don't know if it really matters as much as the fact that you are just not Korean. So, learn Korean language and Korean culture and just know that Kpop Idol standards of beauty are very hard even for Koreans to reach!

  4. Thanks a lot! It means so much for me.
    Right now i am learning korean.
    And do sing korean songs too by memorising the words.
    But because of that beauty standards i dont think any company would select me!😦 dazz sad. Because this is my passion..
    Well can you tell me more how to audition online and which company?
    ThAnks once again.

  5. If you’re talented they will select you, but you might have to diet or get plastic surgery.

    I don’t get so involved in audition process, and you really should audition in Korea… but for now, you just need to keep an eye on when companies allow you to audition online. SM and YG are the best, but smaller companies like Cube, BigHit, Loen, etc. manage their artists well, too. I’ll update this post with a list of kpop companies later:)

  6. 🙂 thank you! This was really helpful!
    Finally have found a website i can rely on.🙂 will wait for your update about korean companies.🙂

  7. Me and my cousin want to be a korean artist.can you help us how to be a korean artist?We are good in dancing and singing.anything we try just to be a korean artist. we want that badly🙂

  8. First, you need to learn how to describe yourself right, and “Korean artist” is wrong– unless you are Korean. Race in Korea is not defined by where you choose to work, so just saying that you want to be a foreign artist and work in Korea is more appropriate and more professional!^^

    Sorry, but, just because you are good in dancing and singing doesn’t mean anything. You need to be great! Breaking into the Korean music industry is difficult even for Koreans, and as you can see, your image and marketability often matter more than your talent… when it comes to being a Korean Pop singer at least.

    (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you need to study business more first! This is still just a business!)

    Since its just business, no one will care about your dream or that you think Koreans are nice.

    (People working in the industry are not that nice.)

    So, think: What separates you from the millions of other people who want to be foriegn artists in Korea? Why should they pick you at an audition? Do you speak Korean, do you sing and dance better than the majority of people, are you incredibly attractive or at least have the potential to be through surgery?

    That’s the reality, and when you have the right answers to those questions then your dream can be a reality, so fighting!

    (I’m in law school. It takes a lot to be successful at anything, and being good is often not good enough no matter what career path you choose. It’s a competive, globalized world that we live in. Strive to be the best at what you do!)

  9. Yes, but Korean people are like all people everywhere: good and bad. Please be careful of smaller, unknown Korean entertainment companies that try to scam both Koreans and foriegners. Kim Woo Bin and many other famous Korean celebrities were scammed! It’s a serious issue in Korea.

    Other than that, Koreans are always so kind and helpful and friendly. I miss being in Korea and hope you get to go someday!^^

  10. Annyeonghaseyo🙂 I just wanted to know some suggestions for these 3 questions :
    1.its a real risky thing for any participant to select a right margin to acknowledge himself /herself that what range did s/he marks in any competition so please help to judge me by the details ^^
    Age:15yrs. Skills:perfect in singing, can grasp dancing in average,modeling.
    Height:5.5″ skin: fair.

    2.system for auditions basically in SM
    3.formalities and terms if selected
    And some more information if you can give I’ll be glad to see your suggestions. Your article is a great support for daring and having faith in auditioning🙂

  11. Hi!
    Since I don’t know what you look like your hieght and skin tone mean nothing. There are short and tall models and idols as well as light and dark models and idols. Its about your overall look and feel and how hard you work to learn Korean, Korean culture, and how things really work in the Korean music industry.

    There are tons of good singers and decent dancers, btw, so I don’t think that’s what will help you win a competition. What makes you unique and marketable?

    SM… Is hard to audition for. They usually scout their stars on the street, but they do have auditions in Korea. They look at your face on a monitor first to rate your looks and see if you need plastic surgery. (Almost a must to get plastic surgery these days.) They also rate your dancing and singing after you perform. Thats really it.

    3. Its different for everyone, but SM is notorious for having slave contracts, which is probably why Kris is leaving EXO.

  12. i am sorry, light brown skin color is a issue. All korean idols and trainees have light skin. One of the major entertainments called SM is considered 80% looks.

  13. Make sure you dance with lots of flexibility. When you sing, hit the right notes and make sure you have high vocals. It’s even better if you know how to rap.

  14. I have won so many competitions in singing beating so many talented girls out there..
    So according to my talent and personality i can say that i must be a tough competition ^^
    but yes am not white as they want to be…😦
    You guys are so sweet thanks🙂 4 ur generous comments

  15. Koreans expect other Koreans to be a certain way. There were two Indian girls on singing competitions, both dark girls and light girls, who were recognized for their beauty. As a foriegner, you are beautiful in your own way. Skin color doesnt change that. If you want to be a Kpop idol, then I’m not sure. If you just want to sing in Korean, then find a good agency in Korea who knows your talented and beautiful. SM and whatever isnt all thats out there!

  16. Hey! I’m asian-not korean. I’m hmong-we’re not well known in America as much or in general but almost all hmong girls(and boys) love kpop. I just happen to follow that category.

    I love to sing and I’ve dance for about 5 years. I’m turning 14 in December. I’ve never tried dancing to hip hop but I would love to learn.

    My skin tone.. has its days since I live in America. I’m only about 5’3 right now but I’m sure to grow. I’ve always wanted to be in Kpop since I was young.

    I know that I would have to work really hard to learn korean, their culture and improve my singing and dancing but I’m up to the job.

    Do you think I have a chance(although you don’t know what I look like or how I sound like)? And even so, how would I get from America to Korea?

  17. Hi Dyna! I know Hmong:)

    I think you are at the right age to start training, but wouldn’t you need your parent’s permission to move to South Korea? Maybe you could start working and save up if they can’t (or won’t) support you financially. However, you should consider what your parents have to say about your future and plans and dreams.

    For now and even in the future, I would suggest auditioning for a Kpop show like Kpop Star or SuperStar K. If you make it they provide a ticket to South Korea for you. But, make sure you actually know what the industry IS like before you decide to work there, however. So, read this post carefully!!! Consider your safety and the fact that you will encounter some racism/discrimination, etc.

    Of course you have a chance! Check out these girls.

  18. I have been really anticipating graduating so i can go to korea and hunt down companies and audition. A lot of auditions, a lot of singing. I’m Hispanic/Native American/British, from the States, and I’m friggin tall. Like this is probably the first time i’ll admit it, but i’m like 182-183-ish cm tall, however i always deny it and say i’m more like 180.3-180.5ish cm, and i might weigh quite a bit for any hopeful newcomer to the korean industry (*Sobs* 81kg-ish *sobs*) i am quite proficent in Mandarin and Japanese pronunciation, and i’m able to sing/rap in six languages, while i’m currently only fluent in one and studying two (Korean and Mandarin), and i’m fairly popular with all the chinese people that i’ve done language exchanges with (and some of the Filipino, as well as like two Koreans). I definently would need a lot of vocal training, and more dance training (working on some by myself, but i’m a babe in swaddling cloth compared to the rookies that are “bad” at it today), but i function well in chaos and my normal sleep schedule is like 3-4 (some nights if i’m lucky 5) hours per night. Based on all this, how likely would YOU be to pass me if you ran a company and i auditioned to you?

  19. Also i forgot to mention but i’m 16 internationally, 17 in korean and my birthday was after the korean new year in 1998

  20. Hi love! Glad you stopped by. Honestly…

    The most important aspect of a Kpop idol is IMAGE. How well will you sell? Its not like SNSD are all the best singers or dancers. They are pretty and talented. Together as a group they cover one another… Some sing better but some dance better. Some are funnier, so they’re also successful on variety shows.

    Now, things like your sleep schedule honestly don’t matter. Idols don’t sleep. Now, I care about what you do when you’re not sleeping. Are you a hard worker or lazy… Committed or a quitter. With training will you improve to the level I need you to be. Also, how good is your Korean and will that get better? Are you humble and polite or a bit of a diva…

    I mean, obvioisly I can’t answer these questions but focus on these more so when you audition you pass, or at least know what they are looking for/focusing on.

    It’s ALWAYS just business. No one is really trying to make your dreams come true. Sometimes not the people you work for, sometimes not the people you work with. Make sure you read about The Dark Side of Kpop, too, and avoid any bad companies and slave contracts (Search DBSK and BAP for more on slave contracts).

    Peace, Love, &Kpop!

  21. Okay, still young! And remember, an audition is about showing your potential. So, you don’t have to look or be perfect. They will fix you… Training and surgery (surgery is part of almost every contract now.) I’m sure they’ll make you diet, too,.so you may as well start on that if you think you are bigger than the industry standard.

    Also, best of luck and hope some of this hits home and helps! Fighting!

  22. So i’ve been thinking about this (my internet tanked right after i saw you answered, and my answers are…..

    I’d sell like Key or Tao, i can be humble, i have amazing manners (at least in old american culture, i don’t know so much about Korean), and i can be a diva, but usually it’s all internally that i turn out to be a raging diva. I am hard working, I’m committed, and i probably would be the kind to spend 14+ hours in the studio practicing to get better at dance or to improve in singing. and i would DEFINITELY improve at Korean because as of right now, i may spend 4-5 hours studying Korean a day, but in the end, a thirteen hour day in English only (well with some Spanish too, not on my part) isn’t exactly the most helpful thing to mastering Korean. And no, being a k-pop idol isn’t my dream that i want a company to make come true, at least not in the “oh my god this company signed me, all my dreams are coming true” it’s more of a goal in life. I want to go to a company to be polished to help spread hallyu, and i know that a company probably won’t make my “dreams” come true (because i don’t know what they are at the moment, but i do know that i want to become a member of a Korean boy band). I do know quite extensively how foreigners and even Koreans are treated by entertainment companies (and Koreans themselves), and i’m not just trying so i can meet my favorite idols, i’m doing this because i am motivated by three things; fame, money and fashion (the third is irrelevant to k-pop).

    Anyway, with more babble, do you think i’d be at least a little enticing (with the “your a CEO and running an audition and i auditioned” mindset?)

  23. I liked everything until you got to your motivations. If you were auditioning in front of me and said you are motivated by fame and money I would nod and say thanks and throw your application in the trash can as soon as you left. Why? Because it’s almost impossible to become famous doing Kpop these days. The industry is SO over saturated. In addition, it’s almost impossible to make money doing Kpop these days, as well. It’s taking so many groups forever to pay off their training and dorm and production fees AFTER they’ve already debuted… and if they actually debut.

    What if you never debut, or what if it takes too long? How long will the idea of fame and money keep you motivated while you train at my company? I want someone who LOVES what they do, so they will KEEP WORKING for me. I wanna hear that you love singing and dancing and want to be the best at it. I wanna see that you’ll be loyal and not leave if another company offers you more fame and fortune along the way. You wanna be famous? Make a sex tape. You wanna have lots of money? Become a doctor, lawyer, or engineer. That was my real honest to God thought.

    Now, I’m being harsh on purpose. I also want to add fashion is HIGHLY related to Kpop… just look at GD. Now, I’m sure you also love or at least like singing and dancing, but you want to make that clear if any sort of question about motivation, etc. comes up. But it’s so good to hear you are aware of the reality of what it’s like to work in the industry and how you will be treated.

    Hmm… It’s not about you so much as what someone else sees in you. All the hard work in the world won’t amount to anything unless you sell yourself to the right person, who in turn sells you to the right audience and at the right time. Being in a Korean boy band is not fun and games. Its blood, sweat, and tears. Training instead of dating and seeing friends or even going to school — making music and touring instead of spending time with your family. It’s only glamorous for groups at the top, and even then things are not at all what they seem…

    So, I like the humility, the fact you admitted you’re a diva but can control that… That you’ll work hard and improve at singing and dancing and speaking Korean. I like you have an idea of your dream, but the fact is… you need to question your motivations. I see your goal is being a Kpop idol. What motivates you is fame and money and fashion, but those motivations could take you anywhere. Why do you really wanna be in a boy band? At the end of the day successful Kpop idols LOVE to sing, dance, and perform in front of an audience on stage. Just saying it again… sorry, it’s so early. Hope this all makes sense! But at the end of the day it’s definitely up to you to overcome whatever obstacles get in your way, grow and change and learn and improve. That’s how any dream comes true. It’s not magic, it’s hard work!^^ You can totally do it~ I think of all the people who’ve talked to me about this, you seem the most focused, organized, and aware. Fighting!

  24. I’m apologizing in advance for the word wall, my brain just kept supplying info i thought necessary to share to talk about all your points………. But i would love it if you read all of it and then answer with your opinions!
    Answer start:

    Maybe i should have thought some more before answering the motivation part. As of RIGHT NOW money is my motivation, because i’m from a VERY poor family in the Midwest, and we don’t have much. I think that when i DO save enough to get to South Korea, my motivation in Money will be different. As for fame….. i didn’t mean like Micheal Jackson, JYJ, Big Bang, or even like SHINee famous. I meant the kind of fame that is sort of like U-KISS’. They work hard, but their recognition, however small, is a good reward. Also, i DO love to sing and dance, and performing is fun, i just think that i excluded that because i was trying to convey that i am NOT like some wet behind the ears rookie that thinks a company is going to fork over a lot to make their dreams come true. I am definitely in need of a lot of training, but I am not an idiot. Growing up poor definitely helps one realize EXACTLY how the world works.

    As for school, there is no way in hell my mother would let me leave the country this year, or next until after i graduate and even then, i still have to wait until i’m 18 because my dad (my parents are divorced) would either support the idea, but demand to move with me, or completely discourage me to some negative point (he isn’t very encouraging about some things, is about others, rocky relationship). I’m a junior in high school, and as of right now, i’m probably going to graduate (may of 2016) before i go because first, i DON’T have the money, and Second my mom has explicitly stated that if i do, i’m going to have to fully fund myself, as well as get my immunization, and the most she would do is try to get me a passport at 18 (sadly, i do think that i’d much rather try to become a citizen then have to do the whole artist visa, then renew passports blah blah blah). And i don’t blame my mother for not promising help, because we don’t have a ton of money.

    In the end, yes, i love singing, and rapping, and i’m starting to love dancing, and my ideal training time would be anywhere from 4-7 or even 4-9 years. It takes a LONG time to get good at something, and i don’t plan on attending post secondary schooling, although i’m sure if i succeed in getting into a company, and i stay for about 2-4 years or more, i will enroll into a college, if only for online classes. I don’t really worry TO much about if i don’t debut under company X because if i train there for 6 years, and i’ve worked my big american butt (well according to anyone but me it’s more like my skinny tiny white tush, but whatever, i think how i do about my weight) off, then if i audition to another company with 6 years of training experience to flaunt, they could very well be impressed and take me again. And like i said, debut is a good goal, and i get EXACTLY what went wrong with BAP and Block B’s contracts, and i wouldn’t do something like them in the situation, because i know that THAT particular thing is on the contract, and i’d probably sign it anyway, because i function well in chaos, and i know better than to sign a contract with ANYONE and expect a different out come than the terms.

    Another word wall (jeez i thought i was done 2 paragraphs ago, stupid thinking while typing mode), Yes i get that K-boy bands aren’t fun and games. That’s not why i want to be in one. I want to be in the korean industry and i don’t think that i’m talented enough to be a solo artist (but i’m a harsh critic for myself)

    addressing this line “Training instead of dating and seeing friends or even going to school — making music and touring instead of spending time with your family.” …… I’m WAY to critical of myself to date, and i’ve never really wanted to date either, i don’t have a whole bunch of friends that i’m super attached to, but the ones that i am attached to i can just send a message on LINE or Kakao or Skype and call it good, because my two best friends live over 1000 miles away from me as is, i’ve covered the school thing, I would GLADLY give up family time to make music and tour, because i come from a fairly dysfunctional family, i don’t hold my mother as close to my heart as i did, and the one family member on my mom’s side that i’m super close to is my cousin, who i’ve been gently prodding to consider becoming a plastic surgeon in South Korea rather than say LA. My dad’s side is iffy, because there are family members i’m sorta attached too, but not enough that it would bother me (granted it’s been 2 years since i’ve seen my dad and 20 days short of a year since i’ve seen the 23/25 that i got to see, and at least 3+ years since i’ve got to see the 24th) to not see them for long periods of time.

    Okay i THINK that i’m done commenting on your points, and i’m sorry for the super mega wall of words, but i’m enjoying talking to you about this, and i’m flattered that i seem to be the most well informed, because well this is my career choice after high school ^ o ^

  25. Word walls are my specialty, so let me climb on over!^^ By the way, I love long comments and enjoy talking to you about this, too, so no worries!

    I’m impressed with how practical you are. I don’t think your background has everything to do with it since being poor doesn’t always teach people to be practical and humble, especially since you are still so young! You definitely have a great head on your shoulders, and I think if you keep your feet on the ground then you’ll go far down whatever path you choose to walk, career wise or not.

    I definitely knew you were choosing to focus your response on certain things (probably to avoid making things long but now you know I like long comments!) so it’s good to hear MORE about your motivations and why you have them and where you want them to take you. UKiss fame is just about right these days, and I like that you know them and can pin-point them. When you’ve got role models, know ’em and follow ’em! I had a close friend who wanted to do Kpop, but she didn’t even know who to model herself after. And she’s Chinese!

    I approve of graduating first and working hard to make your own dream come true. It’s fairly cheap to live in South Korea. You can always tutor English on the side if you have the stomach for it. I hated it, but getting paid 40 or 50 an hour? LOVED it. Also Korean students treat their teachers so well. Always pizza and drinks on them after lessons.🙂 I used Craigslist to find lots of odd jobs while in Seoul, so it will be easy for you to do the same. I also lived in a cute little apartment for about 450 or 500 a month. There are cheaper places, but they’re all in basements… Anyway, just some heads up for if you ever up and move to Seoul and start auditioning and need a place to live. It’s all about one rooms in Gangnam!

    You may also want to try legal aid. I work at a nonprofit law firm and sometimes we help people get things like passports, etc. if they can’t afford it on their own. So, just a thought if mommy doesn’t follow through. I know my parents didn’t give me a penny for my Korean trip and I did all the paperwork/shots on my own. But yes, as a first generation American we don’t have lots of money and I don’t expect or want them to help me with things like this that aren’t in their plan, or budget.

    “It takes a LONG time to get good at something.” Yes, and I see you are ready to really make this your career. I just kept nodding as I read what you wrote. Super sensible. How old are you again? I wasn’t so sensible when I was your age. Also, I think your family and friend situation is such that you CAN up and move. Two sides to every coin, good and bad to everything. In this case think of having absolutely nothing and no one standing in your way. Quite lucky, in my opinion, but I’ve always struggled to get my family OUT of my way. They oppose (almost) everything I do. Now, I just don’t tell them much about me, so I get not being super close to family and having a few close friends. My BFF is actually in Korea already.🙂

    Okay, I think that’s about it! I could continue to compliment your mentality and wisdom, but that would get old, right?! I seriously wish the best for you and comment here anytime you need to bounce an idea off of someone or just chat about your dreams~ I’m always ready and willing to climb any word walls, big or small!🙂

    So, hurry up and finish school! haha

  26. Hahaha i feel like it would be easier if we talked through something different, but i like using this! Just wanted to drop an Update saying that i talked to the Music Teacher and she’s going to give me vocal lessons during the study hall in our schedules (so Tuesday Wednesday and Friday) and also that i’m playing Pokemon X through in Korean, so my brain is getting somewhat better at it!

    About all the stuffs you mentioned in the GETTING to Korea part, i do have a job (i work at walmart ^ o ^) and after this Splurging season is over i’ll be saving lots! And i do think i’d be good at tutoring in english, and i wont need a big place to stay, i think a friend and i are going to be moving at the same time to stay in an apartment, and i’ll DEFINITELY look into getting Legal aid to getting a passport. Honestly, i don’t want to have any debts to pay, but i get it, it’s unavoidable. So may i ask where you are right now? Are you in the states or like in Japan?

    Also, thank you for the compliments, i almost started crying tears of touchedness (shhhh it’s a word!) as i read them! I am actually legitimately 16, though people seem to think i’m an old soul once i impart wisdom! Alright, i’ll bounce back here to update you every so often. But right now, i’m curious, when you said “It’s all about one roomers in gangnam!” what exactly did you mean? Like a one bedroom apartment or a literal one room that is divided off into sections? Also, what did you do to financially support yourself in Korea, and is there anything you did to keep from gaining those “Newbie Foreigner” pounds that are becoming super common? See ya when you answer, i’m going to translate all of what i have in my notes, save and then homework and bed! ^ o ^ i’m silly and haven’t even started on that yet!

  27. You’re right! It would be easier, but it’s nice to chat here. Well, I just did a little fixing up of my comments section to make them easier to read!^^ So, you can keep in touch with me here, by email (, or on KakaoTalk (ID is ninasimone)~

    Vocal lessons will be perfect for you, and I love that you’re taking a creative approach to learning Korean. I did the same, and I can’t stress how much it helps! haha But Pokemon sounds fun, too, in Korean or not! I miss having time for computer and video games… >.< But yay for working! Definitely start saving as soon as you can, it will make a huge difference later. Good, good on having a roommate ready to go as well as going to legal aid to get your paperwork done for FREE… Assa! That's woo-hoo in Korean just in case it goes over your head! haha

    As for me, I am living and working in Austin, Texas and also saving up for Korea/Japan trip for next year. Wanna go on vacation after I take the Texas Bar.🙂 But, I went to Seoul for the first time for law school at Sungkyunkwan University (just a two week program). So, I got some scholarship from my school at the last minute thanks to a professor I had during undergrad (2500) and also was able to use Financial Aid, or school loans. I also went for a human rights internship, but whatever.

    Now, of course I shopped too much and spent like crazy so when I was broke after like a month I started working. Luckily, I actually got scouted in Apgujeong twice and did some filming for a Kpop video and modeling and stuff that paid well. I just met lots of people in the business while there. I guess I stood out a lot being a black girl and all~ haha But mainly I used Craigslist to find Koreans to tutor privately, taught English of course, and made good money! I was only in Korea for three months at that time, but it was easy to find work and support myself. Will be the same for you I'm sure!

    I actually lost weight in Korea and most of my friends did, too! Food portions are less and we're always walking to the subway and using those leg muscles not to fall over. Always just walking around, too! So, I don't think you should worry. As far as the one room, I can't explain it well but you can see it HERE. It’s literally one small room with EVERYTHING in it, closet, fridge, microwave, sink, bed and a little little tiny itty bitty bathroom… haha

    Aaw, touchedness is now definitely a word and maybe my favorite one!^^

  28. Hello, I am from India and want to make it big in the Korean music industry. What are my chances? I am 31, 161cm in height, wheatish complexion. I would also like to mention that I am a Lee Minho fan!!🙂

  29. So wait, you’re 31 years old? Erm, if you are incredibly talented, and fluent in korean, you might have a slim shot, however based on age alone you’re not the highest on any casting list i can think of. And what do you mean “wheatish” complexion? Is your skin like wheat, or did you mean that you have a “whitesh” skin color? By saying “wheatish complexion” you don’t really sound appealing, because wheat in my own opinion has a rough texture.

  30. hi,
    I am 24 years old an Indian. Fair skin. 5 feet 2 inch. Can dance very well and sing( singing not so good). Trying to learn korean. Want to enter the korean music industry. want to know my chances and ways to do so from india… 🙂

  31. 24 is a little old for a Kpop idol. Most of them start training in the early teens and hopefully debut before they are 20– definitely before they are 24.

    I think fair skin is a plus. Your height would be considered short in Korea, but that is not a bad thing. I think these ays its more about body proportion and feel– a cute feel or a sexy feel or a pretty feel.

    Most people can sing well AND dance well, so I don’t know why people think that matters anymore. It’s not like idols are the best singers or dancers, either.

    Most companies look for someone who has potential, someone they can produce and market and sell to an audience. It is a business after all.

    You should learn Korean and then go audition in Korea or online, but of course you have to figure out how you will get there and what you will send. I wrote a post about auditioning in Korea. Read it, and good luck!^^

  32. Hi,
    I know that I am way to old to enter the korean entertainment industry and even though, I said I am good in dancing I have not taken any classes for it and would obviously require to undergo training a lot. I know even people who have undergone training since childhood have to undergo it anyways before debuting. I know for sure that it will take a lot of hard work and training which I am ready to do. Also I am trying to achieve as much as I can from the net (which is not enough). I really cannot join classes now for the same since I am very busy with my thesis. I also know there are large number of people more talented than me, who have the same dreams. But would still like to strive for my ultimate dream.

  33. Yes, go read how to audition for the companies from India. You can send them your portfolio and videos and some information about you. Of course you should try! But, it’s good that you know you will have to try harder than some others~🙂

  34. hi,
    I know…., three posts in a row. Just wanted to know which are the companies that accept people of my age group???. Most likely to be a few, but still want to know…

  35. always talk to me! that’s why i am here.

    and there is no such thing as age groups in kpop. it’s all about your look and feel. maybe you look very young! to be honest, some girls are 29 and older and do kpop.

    you just need to show your talents and looks to any company and have them see your potential. so, you can apply to any company!^^

  36. I’m not an entertainment company in South Korea. This is just real world advice and hopefully a reality check for foreigners who want to be Kpop idols in South Korea. If you can’t make it big in your own country, then why would you make it big in South Korea? Just some food for thought. Keep practicing your singing and dancing if you’re serious about being a singer either in or out of South Korea.🙂

  37. Hi I am 14 turning 15 this June, I love to sing,dance and i love Korean culture and kpop. I’m gonna be making a YouTube channel with to upload my kpop dance covers, i am Vietnamese and i live in the UK (which doesn’t hold that much auditions).I’m 160cm and weigh 45kg, born in 2000.Also I know that I would vocal training,as i am still lacking and with dance as well. But the thing i am worried about in the contract is about the surgery part of it i mean i don’t think i look bad i think i look decent but yeah, i don’t really mind about the sleep hours,or gym and dieting(because i might be small but im not healthy >.<) I know that Red Velvets Wendy didn't have to go through any surgery because she looks exactly the same, so yeah..:)

  38. I’d love to see your YT channel. Looking decent isn’t really looking like an idol, though, is it? I know some agencies like JYP prefer a natural look. Deal with the issue of plastic surgery when it comes, and be ready to decide if your dream is worth sacrificing your face– well, changing your face!

  39. I loved reading this!!! I gotta tell you, after doing weeks and weeks of research on a topic like this, it’s refreshing to read such an encouraging perspective. Most sites just tell you that if you don’t have light skin or Korean ancestry, it’s a no go for you. I was feeling quite down actually, until I came here. I can’t thank you enough for writing with such a positive, yet real tone. I apologize in advance for the word vomit that will now ensue.
    I am currently a college student, and to be quite honest, I got into Kpop very recently. Being of Indian decent, I often get teased for liking Kpop. But I brush it off because music knows no language. Which is why I think I want to enter the music industry in Korea. It’s not necessarily for the potential of being an Idol, or even for the glory. It’s simply because performing in front of such an energetic audience, singing such great songs, and being able to dance your heart out seems like the dream. Don’t get me wrong, I see all the hard work behind that. And I am more than willing to give the blood, sweat, and tears it requires. But the reason that I want to go into the Korean industry is because I really love the culture.
    I have always been a musical kid. I started with instrumental music when I was 10 years old, and have kept up with it until now. But I’ve always done singing on the side, with no real intention of going pro. I only did it because it brought me happiness. You stress how important it is to have a passion for singing and dancing, and not just the fame and the glory. I could not agree more.
    And yet, I can’t help but feel a bit discouraged. I’ll be 22 when I graduate in three years. My age and ethnicity have really been the factors that make me fear taking a step into this world.
    That being said, I think a lot of the misconceptions that people have out there of foreigners, and by foreigners I mean anyone who isn’t Korean, have to do with the fact that people believe Kpop will no longer remain Kpop. The American industry has so many people who are from all over the world, and yet it remains very American in its portrayal of media, music, and pop culture. And for anyone going into the Korean industry, I wholeheartedly agree that you have to immerse yourself in the culture completely. Learn the language, learn the cultural norms, and learn what is liked and disliked. I know a fair amount of Korean, and I actually intend to minor in it so that I am completely fluent. I do not want to go into the industry as an South-Asian American and impose my cultural opinions. Rather, I would go in with humble acceptance of what Korea has already established its culture to be. I would go to add, not to take away.
    I should probably mention that I need to do more research on auditioning and stuff, but I am more than terrified. And yet, I have this feeling in pit of my stomach which tells me its the right thing to do. Most likely, I will audition within the course of my college career, and once I have graduated as well. I also intend to study abroad in south Korea to get a better feel of the country itself. I would like to think I’m a fairly decent singer. But my dancing could use work. College is very useful in that it allows you to take several dance electives. Hip Hop, here I come!!!
    My question to you is, with the age difference, the ethnicity difference, and cultural distance, do you think I should be as terrified as I am? Should I just go for it? Where do I even start?
    I would like to think of myself as someone who breaks barriers. As a South-Asian American, if I do end up getting into the Korean scene, I would most be proud of the fact that I opened up options for others, and that I could be an encouragement for others as well.
    Once again, sorry for the word vomit! Once I start writing, its hard for me to stop. Thanks again for writing so beautifully. Take care, and please keep writing!

  40. Hi Shay!^^

    I love word vomit, so thank you! (Sorry but not sorry if that sounds weird!)😀 Oh, keep an eye out for links to blog posts about how to audition and what you need to know about the dark side of Kpop, too!

    First, all dreams are created equal, and they all require an equal amount of talent and hard work and luck, plus a dash of stupidity and stubbornness, because that’s what it takes to do something everyone is telling you that you absolutely can’t do, even yourself! I’ve heard it from the mouth of my oppa who manages and used to train idols: There are many foreigners in agencies already, but it’s just harder for them to debut. They have to learn Korean (along with learning singing and dancing), adjust to a new culture, work hard despite discrimination, and so much more. Many of them just give up and go home even AFTER debuting (case in point: EXO). Yes, it’s just that hard to live and work in Korea when you’re not Korean.

    Yes, who hasn’t been made fun of for going against the norm and daring to be different?! Better to be made fun of than to be someone you’re not and do things that don’t interest or inspire you. So, it’s great that you know this: Music knows no language, and I agree. After all, lots of Korean songs are laced with English and even French and Spanish. In addition, the market for music in Korea is definitely changing (read THIS article). As you’ll see, foreigners have a better chance now more than ever– not the best chance, but better! I’ve seen Indian girls (dark with hijab and light with no hijab) always considered beautiful by Koreans for having such big eyes, straight noses, and full lips. Koreans focus on features when it comes to foreigners, too, and really– in my experience Koreans don’t expect people of other races to be white, or even light. I always bring up Naomi Campbell and Beyonce about now. Both are revered and considered beautiful in SK. Does this mean it’s okay to be big? No, and I think your biggest concern should be your size.

    Isn’t it really about whether or not the company thinks you’ll “sell”? Singing and dancing aside, if you’re considered pretty or attractive in your own country, then it’s likely the same will be true when you get to South Korea. Companies don’t look for perfection. They look for potential. As long as you have potential and are personable and hard working, they’ll take you. I don’t know if it’s even good or bad, the dark side of Kpop exists after all, but please just be careful of what you sign and who you sign for should that day come! Korea is filled with scammers, and it seems like most celebrities and non-celebrities alike in Korea have stories to tell about being scammed. Hell, the company I modeled for in Korea ages ago has been scamming tons of people, including me as I found out. (All fixed, my photos they never paid for were taken down.)

    I guess I get discouraged, too. I want to write and publish a book. But I don’t let the success of other people who have done so already stop me! I just do my own thing and write a story only I can write, etc. You have to look at yourself and sing the songs you can sing, dance the dances you can dance– learn new songs and dances, too. Know what suits you and what others will fall in love with when they see you. Know your talent and maximize it. Be special, don’t just think you are.

    If you don’t see “it” in you, then don’t think anyone else will, either, you know? Basically, I’m telling you to believe in yourself and not be just another barrier in your way– plenty of those already!!!
    I think your heart and mind are in the right place. It’s not up to them to decide what about you matters to them. You just need to stand in front of them and let them decide. And make sure you take it seriously. I think you have the most serious response I’ve read so far, and boy have there been a lot! Here’s some advice on auditioning, even from your home country.

    (Go for hip hop and do what you can at home! Smart choice.)

    — Yes, you should be terrified, but that shouldn’t stop you from going for it. It should make you prepare more and fight more and want it more. You can start by getting your videos of you singing and dancing together and sending them out by email or whatever, or going to audition for a Kpop competition show and seeing what the judges have to say. And yes, you can start by seeing if you even want to live and work in Korea by studying abroad there first!

    Good luck breaking barriers. You have my sincere wishes it all works out!!! Every dream needs a plan, btw, so what’s your plan?! Hopefully this will all help. I see you studying Korean and dance and singing here, then studying abroad in Korea, falling in love with Korea, and hopefully getting the chance to audition for some agencies in Korea. After that, who knows? It’ll take some time, and you’ll have to focus on school, too, but you can do it.🙂

    “I would most be proud of the fact that I opened up options for others, and that I could be an encouragement for others as well.” Me too!❤

  41. This is such an informative blog. I can’t tell you how thankful I am that I found it! I have a question that is kind of different from all the ones that you have been receiving. Although I am in the same boat as a lot of the people here, being darker skinned and not Korean, my concern is more towards what kind of content Kpop comes out with. My family is from Korea, but we are not Korean. My parents moved to America when I was very young, so I’ve grown up in a home where Korean is spoken fluently, and a lot of the cultural aspects of Korea are still ingrained. I am originally from India. Nonetheless, I do not know as much as I would like to about the Kpop industry, as it was never really a big thing in my household. I have only started to get into it these past few years.
    I have noticed a stark difference between girl bands and boy bands. Personally I am a fan of Boy Bands, my top favorite ones being BTS, Big Bang, and Exo. It’s great to see how in these boy bands there is a lot of attention being given to not only the looks, but also to how well the buys can dance, sing, and perform overall. BTS is a hip hop group, and they are honestly what got me into Kpop. I love everything about them, from the messages they deliver, to the goofy behind the scenes, to just how energetic their music videos are. The dancing is unbelievable.
    I am not a “girly girl” but I’m not “un-girly” either. I embrace my femininity, as well my feminine power. Singing and dancing are my passions, which are the basis of me wanting to go into Kpop. Don’t get me wrong, I know how hard all groups work. It’s a tough lifestyle. But if you really love what you do, I think it’s all worth it in the end. For me a band like BTS with the amazing dancing as well as singing is the ideal band. Unfortunately, girl bands don’t catch my fancy. All I see is glitter and school-girl dresses, and some really light-hearted dancing here and there. I do not mean any offense, I’m sure all of these girls work extremely hard. I come from a hip hop background, so I’m more into rougher beats with more definite and accelerated moves. I like seeing music video’s that bands like Exo, Big Bang, and BTS come out with because of the emphasis on dancing.
    I recently came across a small band called The Ark. They are a hip hop girl band under MusicK Entertainment. And they give me hope. They are all up in the dancing, and I love their debut single that delivers such a sweet message. For a girl not wanting to just get primped up and look pretty in front of a camera, and actually wanting to dance and sing my heart out, and be a full performer, where should I look to? It seems like you have much more experience in the kpop world than I do! Are there girl groups out there that focus on dancing as much as the boy bands, as well as singing. I am at a complete loss, and I would love your take on this. Thanks so much!

  42. I had no idea things would escalate quite this far, but I’m glad this blog post has managed to inform and educate and maybe even inspire so many people! With that being said, let me answer your question. It’s a new question, and I’m glad you asked.

    I love BTS. Is it possible for a Korean girl group to have the same concept– hip hop, strong choreography, lyrics that are a little more than catchy but meaningful and powerful? Possible but unlikely. What sells in South Korea? Sexy girls sell. Cute girls sell. But a real, not-watered-down hip hop concept for a Korean girl group just won’t sell. They’ve tried, of course, with lots of groups you’ve never heard of (D-Unit in particular).

    “All I see is glitter and school-girl dresses, and some really light-hearted dancing here and there.”

    No offense taken, by Koreans either it would seem, since they seem to agree with you and are sick of the same old same:

    What many people don’t realize is that working in Korea in any field is harder than working elsewhere. It’s even hard for Koreans who grow up there. Long hours, complicated relationships with a complex hierarchy, drinking culture, etc. Anyway, if things don’t go well for these trainees, many of them end up prostituting themselves out to high-profile clientele. There’s just so much more to the industry than making music, and a lot of it has to do with the uglier side of South Korea. If you don’t know what I mean by many of those things (long hours, etc.), then you need to find out before you think your passion will keep you going after being subjected to 24 hour schedules, physical abuse and verbal abuse (from sunbae, managers, and even from other trainees– after all, you’re different), and the occasional “errand.”

    Anyway, maybe you should consider dancing. Dancers seem to have more freedom. But, you’re not going to get to pick your concept if you do debut either way. So, it’s not like you should go to an entertainment company expecting to make any sort of decision regarding your face and body (you’ll probably have to sign a plastic surgery contract) or your concept. Kpop is highly processed and manufactured. Even G.Na doesn’t get to pick her concepts. Everything from what you say to what you do to what you wear is decided for you.

    “For a girl not wanting to just get primped up and look pretty in front of a camera, and actually wanting to dance and sing my heart out, and be a full performer, where should I look to?” Not Korea, to be honest. Even Hyoyeon of SNSD, who is into hip hop and dancing like you, doesn’t get to do much hip hop or dancing.

    I’m not saying don’t try, but I’m saying this is the reality of the industry right now–even on TV you’ll see lots of silly groups but no strong solo artists, or artists. How are you going to change it–bring something new to it, etc.? If I were you, I would learn Korean and audition in Korea but not sign anything that I felt would be “selling my soul,” or just dangerous. And maybe you can tell me, why doesn’t anyone want to sing and dance in their own country?!

  43. hi, i just want to ask.. i just don’t know what to do.. i mean, is it okay to tell an entertainment company, that you’ve auditioned for, “please accept me”? and honestly, i just sent emails.. i can only do online auditions, that’s why. the reason why i want to tell them that, the “please accept me” thing, is because, they are not replying.. i even email them to ask about some audition details, but to that they’re still not replying. in fact, they just read it. so, do you think it’s okay? or i look like i’m desperate to be accepted? just need an advice, please. thanks anyway. fighting~!

  44. I’m turning 14 and I want to be a Kpop star. I’m a down to earth person, who is very hardworking when it comes to my goals and ambitions. In other words I am willing to have sleepless nights in order to be successful. All that being said, I have a few minor questions, that i hope you will kindly fill me in!:

    1. Training. If I start training when I am, lets say 18 years old (19 in Korean age) would that be too old?? I mean if i debut when I’m 20 or 21, it shouldn’t be too bad.

    2. Appearance. I have noted that some Kpop artists have been forced into surgery. I have dark skin. Over all my facial structure could well fit into the Korean standard, it’s just the skin i’m worried about. Will it affect me too bad??

    3. Time and dedication. As said before, I am dedicated to my goal of being a Kpop idol. What I’m really worried about is if I start training then I get told that I will not debut in a group. Because I’m pretty sure there have been heaps of trainee’s who have trained for as much as 5 years and then get told, that they’re not gonna debut. So lets say to stay safe, I do University while being a trainee. Will I have enough time to be a trainee and be in University and have a job?? (the university course, I would choose would probably be easy, and about 6 hrs a week and the university would be in Korea. So basically I would be living in Korea.)

    4. Costs and how long. If I train, then get told I’m not going to debut. Will i still have to pay off the expenses the company has put into me, even though i’m not going to debut?

    5. Overall. Can you please tell me which companies are best over all in terms of; success and kindness-(they won’t treat you badly). And also if I become a Kpop star, will I be allowed to enjoy myself? Like, lets say if I wanted to visit my family or friends or just hang out with people casually, would I be allowed??


  45. It’s not okay to tell a business or company please accept me. It’s a competition after all, and yes, it sounds desperate and a little naive or rude depending on their perspective. It works against you to beg, especially since begging doesn’t change anything and only makes you seem disrespectful of their judging and the people who are talented enough to pass without begging. You should try sending a new song or save up to audition in person if you are serious about pursuing this career in South Korea as an idol or singer.

    The world even outside of Kpop is a competition, which many people don’t seem to understand yet because they are so young, or for other reasons. You don’t say please hire me at a job interview, either. You get hired based on your credentials. Here, maybe you are lacking in talent or just not who they are looking for. Realistically speaking, they get thousands of online auditions and probably pick one or two.

    Harsh but true! Good luck either way. It’s unlikely they’ll reply to you unless they decide to accept you, so don’t waste your time emailing them like this either.:/

  46. I wish people would stop thinking that their strong work ethic will get them through trainee life in South Korea. Yes, it’s important to have a strong work ethic, but the reality is that you will be dancing all day and night, dieting, and barely sleeping. It’s not that simple or easy, which is why you could easily be in and out of the hospital before burning out and giving up.

    Anyway, on a more positive note because you’ve asked some great, realistic and practical questions:

    1. Age is not as important as so many foreigners seem to think. There is no set age to start training or time period to train. It’s all case by case, and it’s all about how talented you are, how good you look, and how much potential you have.

    2. Your skin color is unlikely to hold you back although colorism is an issue in South Korea. If you are not Korean, then your biggest concern is RACISM. They might not pick you simply because you are a foreigner, regardless of your skin color. I think you should worry more about whether or not you are really attractive enough by Korean standards to become an idol in South Korea, or if you’d be willing to diet, lighten you skin, and get plastic surgery if needed.

    3. At least you’re smart enough to have a backup plan. Little in life rarely works out as planned. So, you better MAKE TIME to attend school and work while you train. Do you even speak Korean fluently yet? Do you know anything about life in Korea? It’s very hard to live and work there if you don’t speak Korean. Unlike teaching, you will not be protected by the foreigner’s bubble. Finally, why don’t you pass the audition and sign with a company and then worry about everything else. Every company and every contract is different, so read it carefully before you sign. Even if you sign it, know that contracts are based on WORD in South Korea. So, it can change at almost anytime.

    4. I don’t know why foreigners think training is free. You generally have to pay to train, even with SM, which is why it’s so easy to scam hopeful and naive people out of their parents’ or their own hard earned money. Even if you debut you have to pay off the costs of debut, which can take years or never even happen. This isn’t exactly a career you choose when your goal is to have a stable, secure job that makes money. Why you’d choose to go to South Korea to sing is beyond me, because that’s what you’ll be doing, and everywhere you go you’ll get stared at and discriminated against. It’s unlikely any group that debuts these days will do well, so you’ll be stuck performing in nightclubs and on the street and whatnot (haengsa).

    5. There are NO companies that are kind and care about YOUR success. They’re just trying to make a profit. No one is going to care about your dreams. It’s a business relationship. Slave contracts are real, and they will work you to death even more once you’ve made it. After all, that’s how the company keeps running. And no, you won’t have time to visit your family or friends. Have you not seen how often these kids cry about not being able to do anything but work all the time? Its a full time job. Your image is so important– no phones, no dating, no this, no that. You can’t even eat what you want or wear what you want.

    Well, the end! If you want to pursue this dream, get to know it on a more realistic level. South Korea is a hard place to live and work even for Koreans. It’ll be even harder for you, but like I said, if you’re aware of it from the get go there will be no surprises later. Good luck~

  47. oh, ok. i understand, thank you. but how about asking them if like, what do they think that’s not good enough of me, something like that.. what do you think? i mean, maybe it’s not that bad to ask what’s wrong.. or is it?

  48. It’s not bad or wrong to ask but the companies state in the instructions that THEY WILL ONLY REPLY IF YOU ARE ACCEPTED. So, even if you ask them questions about how to improve they will not reply.:/

    Think about it, though, they can only reply to people who are accepted because otherwise replying to everyone would take all their time and just not be worth it! So, you should find people around you to critique you and try to improve on your own.🙂

  49. but, some companies put, like, “for more info, email us at xxxxx” something like that.. or “for questions, email or contact us….” so, i emailed them to ask some details about the audition, but to that, they didn’t even reply.. hmmm. but yeah, again, thank you very much!! maybe this is just, not really for me. thank you again. good day..

  50. Hmm, yes, just because it says that doesn’t mean it’s true. Anyway, if you want to sing, then you should keep singing even if not in Korea or as a Kpop idol! Good luck.🙂

  51. Ahh thanks a lot! Yes, I have been aware that companies, don’t care about talent and looks and what ever (they do but it alters depending). Their goal is to lump a group together that is most profitable for the company, whether it be a bunch of pretty, untalented people. If their going to be profitable then why not?

    But actually not all companies are that bad. SM is probably the worst out of all. But I know for a fact that YG is fair enough. You see their idols always having late comebacks because they are writing their own music and doing what not. The trainee’s are also really close to the CEO, and every one likes the CEO too. I think I’ll try with YG or JYP first. I know it’s not gonna be easy and that the odds are in no way in my favour, and that it’s almost impossible. But I’m gonna do so when I can speak Korean fluently and I feel like I’ve paved the road correctly and that I’m ready.

    Btw I’m learning Korean and am hopefully doing an exchange program, to see how Korea is. You know, I want to make sure this is what I really want to do.

    Any ways, like said before I’m the type of person who is ‘set out’. I have plans in life. Back up plans too. I’m not dumb like other people who expect it to be an easy boat and then go crying when the ‘big picture’ doesn’t work out. I know exactly what I’m going to do if it doesn’t work out.

    But to be honest all that being said, in terms of jobs and such. I probably won’t find it that hard. I’m a good student with good marks. The lowest I have ever gotten is C-. I’m not just talking about your normal grades, but method of thinking.
    That’s why I’m preparing from now; Learning Korean. Watching Vlog’s about Living in Korea. Scrutinising the Kpop life.

    I plan on applying when I am 17 years old. Yes, I know it’s not easy. In
    fact it’s probably terrifyingly hard. But hey! Who said life is easy??!


  52. Yes I have noticed that the companies only goal is to lump a group together that is the most profitable for them. Whether it be a bunch of really good looking but untalented trainees. If they’re profitable why not?

    Yes, I am also aware how hard it is. But I intend to go down that path, if it’s my dream. But lol don’t worry I’m dumb like other people, who think it’s an easy boat. And when the boat sinks they start crying and what not.
    You see, I like to learn from other peoples mistakes. So I’m fully prepared when doing anything. I prioritise my education probably more than my Kpop dream. All because I’ve seen so many former trainees say “I should’ve gone to Uni, I regret not doing so”

    Any ways, I’m planning to do an exchange program in Korea. I’m no joke, I am taking this seriously and I want to make sure that this what I really want to do in life. And yes, I’m learning Korean and watching many Vlogs about life there, as well as reading blogs. and other things along those lines.

    As well as dieting and stuff. I’m already skinny my BMI is 17. But I think I need to loose a little weight on some places to be exactly as thin as the Kpop stars.

    I plan on applying when I’m 17 years old. I’m ready for duh blood and sweat. lol.

    But anyways THANK YOU SU MUCH!! Can you please give me some pointers and things that will lead me to succession? Like how I should do it, and other ways I could prepare. And more things that you think I don’t know about the dark side of Kpop?? THANKS AGAIN ^.^

  53. I have one more thing! Will I be to tall in Korea. I’m already 163cm (and it’s only the start of the year) and trust me I’m still growing rapidly. Last year (at the end of the year) I was 157cm. THANKS!!

  54. I want to be a kpop star but I’ve got a few problems… actually a lot of problems.

    1) I don’t know how to dance
    2) I don’t know how to tell my parents about my dream
    3) I got a lot of mosquito bite marks on my skin especially leg
    4) I’m around 70kg for a 12 years old kid (Ok I know I can diet and exercise XD)
    5) Actually most of the problems has to do with number 2.
    – First, I want to learn how to dance and I have to tell my parents that I want dancing lessons. (a kid won’t have money) But that will be weird cuz I never showed the interest in dancing in front of my parents.
    -Second, I’m not very close to my parents. So it’ll be awkward telling them.

    I have a few plans though.

    Plan A : Learn the dance when nobody is around or asleep (This will make me lose weight). Get a scholarship and go to Korea. Enter an audition. If I get accepted Yay! The problem is I don’t want to be 18 (Korean age 19) when I become a trainee cuz that’s a little old and getting a scholarship is hard.

    Plan B : Just simply dance along to the music and lose weight. Then when I’m 14-15 ask my parents to send me to a dance class. (still awkward) When I’m somewhere between 16-17 I’ll try to audition online or use my own allowance to fly to Korea and enter an audition or if that year the company itself hold an audition here.

    Plan C : Try online audition for singing. If pass the first round then only I’ll tell my parents.

    Sorry for making you read something so long though. hehe…

    I’m from Malaysia. Age 12. Weight 70kg. Height 160cm. I hope you can give me some advice and plans maybe?

  55. Remember, what matters is not if you stand out but if you’re special, unique, talented, pretty, etc. and make all your qualities work for you. I don’t think you should be worried about your height, especially if you’re not over 5′ 11″ or 6 feet. I am 167 cm and many Korean guys have told me it’s their ideal height. Not too tall, not too short. Try to stop there? LOL

    After all, your image matters a lot, but I think many things can work in your favor if you allow them to, as long as overall you are pretty/sexy/cute/attractive. Height or skin color alone isn’t going to determine that.

  56. Hi Lyn! I’m going to be honest with you based on what I’ve written in this blog post. Here are your real problems, and there are more than I would like to admit:

    1. You are not Korean or Chinese, or ideal based on the body image stats/descriptions you’ve given me. It’s more likely that Asians from China will match Korean standards of beauty (pale, pretty, etc.) and be successful in South Korea– and there is plenty of proof when we look at non-Korean Korean idols. They are all Chinese except for Nickhun! South Korea also pays more attention to China and Chinese talent. It tends to ignore and discount Southeast Asia, for better or worse but I’m not here to talk politics. I am just telling you what the industry is like now, not what will happen to you in it.

    2. You are not talented. Dancing lessons are not going to put you on the level to compete with people who are naturally good at dancing, or are good singers and can make up for the lack of dancing talent with a little or a lot of training. Like I said in the article, you have to want to be a singer in South Korea mentally as your goal. It’s much more realistic and keeps you focused on your talent rather than your desire for fame.

    3. You are not confident. If you can’t tell your parents your dream, how will you not just tell it but do it in front of strangers? Get some confidence. Start small. And listen to criticism but know you can always try to prove people wrong. Don’t be afraid to hear, “No. This is not for you.” Just be ready to hear it and to do something about it even if it means dancing in your room late at night.

    4. You are only 12 and don’t seem to know much about how the Korean music entertainment industry works. You could easily get scammed or forced into prostitution by a bad agency. Be careful.

    Know what you are getting into, because your idea of a Kpop star is based on false information in the media. These kids are worked to death and rarely make any money. Only the best of the best actually make money and live their dreams, but it comes with the high price of being busy all day every day. No phone. No family. No friends.

  57. Lol, ha ha I’ll try and stop at your height!! Anyways thank you suuu much for your help and advice and your knowledge! I’m legit speechless for your help! Like seriously your a blessing!! So again, thank you suuuuuuuu much!!😄 Oh and wish me luck!!🙂

  58. I’ve been reading your articles for three days now, and I’m still reading, you have such good articles, and they’ve really opened my eyes, singing is my passion but I never wanted to be a kpop idol, because I am not in favor of their beauty standards, I did although fantasize (only for fun) being in a kgroup for a major company with my a friend of mine. But nothing seriouse, this industry is so dirty, the whole slave contracts & forcing rookies into prostitution if they don’t think they’re talented enough, I’m shocked, now I learned to love the music not the music industry, I’m new to kpop (like last summer? the only band I actually care about & follow their activities is BTS I only listen to some others) & I was so naive having really nice thoughts about the whole thing in korea but no more, it’s awful out there, I’m not saying EVERYTHING but majorly. Thank you for your articles!! Hwaiting!!

  59. You are so welcome! I think we need to be aware ilof the good and bad and be wise about what we believe and want for ourselves.🙂 Love the music for sure!! And BTS has zero scandals and zero problems, so its no wonder you didnt know about everything else! :

  60. Look at sorn’s predebut photos and you’ll be shock how dark she is anyway she is so cute. Btw please haaalp me I’ll be going to live auditions maybe around 2017 FIGHTING GUYS~EU🙂

  61. Good luck way in advance! I am writing a Guide to The Kpop Industry blog post/book (not sure yet). There will be advice on trainee life, auditioning, and more. Be excited!:D

  62. Im Mexican/white and I have a bit of asian blood my skin color is light/medium is there any kpop girls who are Latinas

  63. No, most Kpop idols who have debuted right now are Korean. Some are Korean American, and a few are Chinese. Maybe you will be the first latina? Well, I think most foriegners quit Kpop due to the difficulty adapting to Korean culture (and learning Korean!) and the poor working conditions.

  64. Hi! Im Filipino i have slim body same as korean and light skin but im trying to understand and speak korean laguages and i love kpop artist, is there any kpop girls who are filipino?

  65. Sweetie Sandara and Cheoldeong are full Koreans. They lived in the Philippines for a little while and they both speak Tagalog, but they are both 100% korean

  66. U know what I think if u will become kpop idol u will be really unique and u will stand out in eyes of public cuz everyone’s skin tone will be light so no problem!

  67. Because of colorism in South Korea that is a problem, but there are plenty of dark skinned people in South Korea. They just arent always on TV. But now Hyorin and Goo Ha Ra tan, so, who knows. But South Korea doesn’t really work like that, its not about standing out but blending in. Njce thought though:)

  68. I’m an indian but Ive got eyes of a south east asian and my friends say i look japanese and that i sing well do you think i could become a kpop idol?? Coz i really want to. Thanks for the awesome post! And also do you know any indian who became a kpop idol? Thanks!

  69. I’m an indian but Ive got eyes of a south east asian and my friends say i look japanese and that i sing well do you think i could become a kpop idol?? Coz i really want to. Im learning korean too.Thanks for the awesome post! And also do you know any indian who became a kpop idol? Thanks!

  70. I really don’t, but only because I have been keeping an eye on the industry for years now and there are only Korean and Chinese idols. Doesn’t hurt to try, but be careful!!🙂

  71. 01

    Hi Jennifer ! it’s my first comment on your blog but believe me I’m a fan of yours for a long time 😉 *stalks from behind the wall*

    well I just wanted to share my own opinion about being a kpop idol since Ive seen so many comments about this subject which has became a dream for some teenagers.
    First of all, talking about myself; last year I did plan on going for a jyp audition but changed my mind so soon after facing the truth about Korean companies and other stuff.
    For example or the MAIN example! they always choose the people who have that Chinese-Japanese-Korean look, because it’s KOREAN POP! it’s all about korea’s marketing! I’m half Chinese but still I know that I don’t have any chances to get debuted! there are several korean teens who dream of being an idol so I can’t make it definitely! to be honest s. Korea still acts a little bit racist when it’s about giving the job to foreigners.
    second, ( my personal reason ) I’m a queer, I’m biological a girl but I have a boyish voice and look. Sometimes I get addressed as a guy by strangers, honestly I’m pretty comfortable with my body and I know that the company has the right to choose my role ( like kai from exo which is FORCED to be a sexy machine but truly he is pretty shy and different from it ) So NO THANKS! I can’t dance with a gurly pinky lovely girl group and sing cutely! I love my real style Lol!!
    But I still don’t know why my younger brother ( he is 14 ) wants to be trainee so hard😐
    IKR for some people the reason is music not meeting their biases or just being on the stage of korea,I’m so
    obsessed with music too and I’ve been writing and composing my self created songs since i was a small kid ;plus being a hip hop artist is my dream, I might lose everything on my way just to reach my childhood dream but things are different… when I started to know kpop/khip hop and music industries in korea I was like awesome I luv korea n what a great chance to start but things are not that easy. I hate to waste my time being a trainee and then nothing but feeling like a failure ( that’s mean ik ), but WE CANNOT CHANGE it! welcome to the reality! I guess there are better ways to have fun in korea! being an idol is not that sweet… still after telling all these things I want to experience it for once maybe I can make it but I only live my 18 years old once! so I can’t let it spend for nothing🙂
    // No need to explain more because you have already mentioned them and my words doesn’t seem to be nice….

  72. tbh I dislike talking so much and my fingers get hurt easily after typing lots but I’d love to talk with you sometimes because your posts n blog is just so amazing n helpful

  73. Yay, so nice to meet you! You typed a lot. I hope your fingers are okay!^^

    Well, you made the right choice I think, and I hope your little brother does, too. Being foreign AND queer is so hard in Korea. One of my best friends is Vietnamese and she lives and works in Korea right now. She is happily dating a Korean girl, too, but it is hard for them. She can’t be too open about it, you know? Especially where she works at the school.

    But being a Kpop idol is so hard for Koreans. Even just being an actor or celebrity is hard. I think Koreans a lot of the time don’t know what to expect, like many top stars have been scammed, etc., so I worry a lot about foreigners! Just be extra careful and think about what your dream is worth.

    You made a lot of sense, so I am glad you just decided to have fun in Korea. I also would really want to vacation there but I don’t know if I want to live and work there for forever. 3 months there and then 2 weeks there was fun, but I still missed my family and friends and just home here in Texas!

    I hope you comment more so we can chat every now and then, but it’s okay to be a silent reader! haha I know I have many of them, but thank you again for letting me know your thoughts about all of this!!❤

  74. Hai. Nama saya Eliza asal Indonesia, umur saya 13 tahun. warna kulit saya coklat, tinggi 160cm, berat 44kg, bahasa inggris sangat buruk. terlalu lemah untuk menari dan bernyanyi juga masih dalam proses latihan. saya dengar warga indonesia sangat jarang bisa ikut audisi di korea. tetapi saya sangat ingin mengikutinya. apa saran anda untuk saya? apa yang harus saya ubah? apakah saya masoh bisa mengikuti audisi itu?

  75. Hey … thanks a ton for this information. i got to know about this k pop thing a bit late. i am bit old for being in this industry. But you won’t believe this is the first thing which come in my mind the moment i wake up and the last thing as well before sleeping. I am an Indian management professional. I know I have to work hard alot, in all the areas, but I am determined to try so that at least I can’t regret later. I am planning to audition directly in South Korea after getting visa, because I have heard they generally ignores auditions via mail. Its quiet difficult to get visa. can you let me know what am i supposed to do? or what things i should taken care of?
    It would be a great help.

  76. Hello!

    Generally it is quite difficult to get a visa for entertainment purposes without sponsorship. I wish you the best of luck!

    However, companies generally take girls in their teens who will work well in a group and be popular to a Korean audience. I think your ethnicity and age might be a problem for you, just in the eyes of a company or agency, but it never hurts to try. Please have fun and be safe!🙂

    I have more articles on the Kpop Industry, just go to my menu at the top.

  77. I’m a quarter Korean, as my grandmothers family is Korean and so is she. I am Indian too. Family Tree:
    My mum = her dad Indian and mother Korea + mothers , brothers and sister married to Koreans but live in the UK like me.
    My dad = His dad and mum Indian.
    I want to join Sm entertainment but im scared to audition as im an Indian.My skin is fair and i look Korean, but i look Indian as well, but no-one even thinks of me being Indian (my friends) as they think i’m Chinese ,im pretty(amazing at cuteness,but sexiness is alright but i never really try it+confident) , will sm accept me? ( or other companies?
    I am 158 cm tall, is that alright?
    Can speak English fluently (born and brought up in England), but can only say few things in Korea, is that alright?
    I am pretty good at singing (but not outstanding yet) im outstanding at low tones, alright at high but sometimes my voice breaks but only in englsih , in korean i can sing too as i’ve tried it but im not sure if its good, is that alright?
    I’m naturally skinny, but not bonny, i’m 42kg?
    Im born on 1st august 2000, ill audition in two years, in 2017 so two before august and ill be 16 at the time ( im currently attending Korean classes, dance classes and singing classes) im doing all these so that when i get in, i can debut within a year or so.
    And i can dance too+really good at learning new dances .
    Please answer, and is it alright to audition just before 17, as my parents wont let me go korea yet, i need to get As and Bs just in case i don’t get in sm.( currently working at Bs in subjects)

    looking forward to your reply!

  78. The problem with asking me so many questions about your future is that I do not work at SM. I always say audition in person, get feedback and go from there!

    Your chances are better if you look like current idols, like Korean or Chinese basically. Things like hieght and language, they will decide. Everything they will decide to be honest, so you just have to take a chance and try. The earlier the better as age is very important.

  79. Hello,

    I like K pop but I know my strengths and weakness very well. So I am pretty sure I am not the right person to join this brigade. But I am quiet fond of korean culture and its show biz. I have a good sense of fashion and music. Can you tell me what kind of jobs i can have there. I am management professional and also worked as stylist. It would be great if you could help me with this.

  80. Hello first i tell you my English is too bad.. i want became a kpop idol… my role model G-Dragon…..but problem is my nationality…I’m From Nepal….I have many problems…I can’t speak korean but i sing and dance very well…in past I’m part of dance group..1-2 year ago……..can i go for audition in 22 or my age 18… problem is only Korean language….but i can dance and singing….i singing in English………….if i going for audition in 22 or 23…it is okay………..Can Nepali join kpop…… skin is fair and my height 170 cm…………..and sorry oppa for my English…….but i only try for you….i read your post and all comments and answer………please help me. ..sry agn for my English ⌒.⌒

  81. Hi, I am 15 and I will being going to Korea soon to meet my relatives. My grand a is korean, my mum is half and I’m quarter and rest Indian. I’ve been born and bought up in England. My height is 160cm. I weigh 43kg. My skin colour is really white so fair, but it seems like my skin has a natural powder to it. I’m mostly told I’m pretty. Ive been dancing for 7 years, I can sing in English but not sure about korean. I’m not a kpop fan, I’m just thinking of starting small in Korea and then hopefully get bigger. What are my chances if getting through auditions?

  82. Hello! I m currently a twelve-year old girl, Filipino, with an aspiring dream of being a Kpop idol. No, not for fame, but to be a kind of representative to the Filipino Kpoppers and I d like to bring happiness with my music. I think I have a great singing voice, and my dancing is.. horrible. I’m waiting until I turn fifteen to audition for JYP, but I have some questions.. Since this is the age for most people to go through puberty.. I honestly don’t have perfect skin, and I’m wondering if that will affect my audition. My hair is quite frizzy/wavy and I have glasses, so I’m wondering if this will affect my auditions? This is a pic of me, (I tried to have the most neutral looking expression as possible) and I’d really like an honest opinion to whether I can make it in the industry. Thanks!❤

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