My short bio: I was a kpop trainee for around 2 years. I left the company. I shot an MTV reality show while in the company as well.
Ask me anything. I will answer to the best of my ability.
http://imgur.com/NeFZq1z (one with short hair)
My short bio: I was a kpop trainee for around 2 years. I left the company. I shot an MTV reality show while in the company as well.
Ask me anything. I will answer to the best of my ability.
http://imgur.com/NeFZq1z (one with short hair)
Comments: 314 • Responses: 98 • Date: 2014-05-04 04:32:01 UTCsource
Shatteringblue22 karma2014-05-04 05:45:19 UTC
Were you by chance part of Tahiti?
If not, did you ever interact with any of them? And from you previous response, it seems like you didn't (?) debut with the group for the second song. Why is that?
Can you walk us through the daily life of a trainee?
Did you have any alone time to do what you want?
And finally, do you consider those two years wasted or not? Why?
View HistoryShare Link
swolfgangs17 karma2014-05-04 21:01:23 UTC
I was a part of that group. I did not debut with them for the second album.
I honestly can't remember the daily schedule.. ): I think my mind just kind of erased it from my head..
No, no alone time... ): Unless you count bath time.. We slept in the same room too.
I don't consider them a waste, nor do I regret them. I grew a lot during those years. I experienced and learned so much about people, the industry, and my self.
Shatteringblue7 karma2014-05-04 21:34:21 UTC
OMG HANHEE. I remember watching the TV show with TAHITI haha :D
Thanks for all of the insight Sarah!
swolfgangs8 karma2014-05-04 21:56:40 UTC
ck0118 karma2014-05-04 21:19:33 UTC
Does Jisoo smell bad? I have the impression she does.
swolfgangs15 karma2014-05-04 21:55:15 UTC
ck019 karma2014-05-04 22:02:48 UTC
Like what was her general scent? Maybe she smells like flowers and rainbows? Or was there anyone in particular that had a funk to them (no need to name anyone specific)?
swolfgangs30 karma2014-05-04 22:13:44 UTC
One smelt like poo. That is all I will say.
ck0110 karma2014-05-04 22:25:02 UTC
I know someone madly in love with Jisoo and this is torturing him - thank you :)
swolfgangs9 karma2014-05-04 22:30:59 UTC
Haha, not saying who it was though. :P
karsonic16 karma2014-05-04 05:33:45 UTC
So what made you decide to leave?
swolfgangs57 karma2014-05-04 20:55:48 UTC
It was more of a progression thing. They told me to go home and prepare for the second album. As soon as I got home... I kind of became a wild animal... WITH FOOOOOOOOOD. haha. I gained weight. A LOT OF WEIGHT. And it kind of became a grueling cycle of binging on food to restraining food. I later sought out a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with an eating disorder. Both my parents and I came to the conclusion that taking part of the Kpop industry was ruining my body and mind - so they opted to help me get out.
CountPenguin16 karma2014-05-04 04:47:07 UTC
What is the most ridiculous/controversial outfit that you've had to wear?
swolfgangs36 karma2014-05-04 04:50:26 UTC
I don't have a picture of it, but it was for a magazine. We wore a tube top and pants... then wrapped our selves in satin to appear naked. It was for a magazine.
gunnolf15 karma2014-05-04 05:09:21 UTC
What were some of the most ridiculous rules, requests or suggestions you were given?
No relationships? Forced diets? Low weekly allowances? etc.
swolfgangs20 karma2014-05-04 20:51:08 UTC
You answered your own questions.
No relationships, diets, no phones, no allowances, no time with the outside world.. Haha. But this is quite common with all companies.
Chuushiri14 karma2014-05-04 05:09:02 UTC
What things have you noticed about the Kpop scene and how things are handled/how people are treated when it comes to those in Kpop?
swolfgangs20 karma2014-05-04 20:50:01 UTC
Well, I will only speak from my personal experience.
Things were pretty crazy for me.
I grew up in Korea but was never really submersed into the culture. Being thrown into a house with all girls, being one of the youngest, I felt kind of ostracized. I would like to go more in-depth as to how I felt ostracized, but I feel that probably won't be okay.. ):
schrobby9 karma2014-05-05 00:25:42 UTC
How would that not be okay? Are you still legally bound to a contract or do you not want to bad-mouth the members that are still in the group?
swolfgangs22 karma2014-05-05 03:24:10 UTC
I am not legally bond, but it's a matter of respect. And I do not want to bad mouth the members.
ellabellaletsgo13 karma2014-05-04 05:36:40 UTC
How much work did you have done?
swolfgangs24 karma2014-05-04 20:56:19 UTC
None really. Unless you count filler injections or botox.
aymgon5 karma2014-05-05 05:34:32 UTC
Is there pressure for trainees to have work done?
swolfgangs26 karma2014-05-05 06:53:12 UTC
Korea in general... revolves around the idea of beauty. It's sickening really. The pressure doesn't derive from being in the industry as much as it does from just being in Korea.
skinnyred13 karma2014-05-04 19:05:39 UTC
Do you actually like k-pop (or Korean music in general) and if so who are your favourite artists/idols?
swolfgangs26 karma2014-05-04 21:40:40 UTC
I hate it.
No one is an actual artist.. they are all mere performers.. except maybe YG
TaeTaeyeon12 karma2014-05-04 05:54:08 UTC
Since you're doing this AMA, I wonder why other ex-trainees haven't done the same? Are you legally prevented from telling us everything about your trainee days/your company/the idols, or is it just a level of respect and courtesy?
swolfgangs18 karma2014-05-04 21:03:46 UTC
No quite legally prevented.. and it kind of is a level of respect.
Ex0D3str0y3r10 karma2014-05-04 04:48:56 UTC
what company were you under? and was there any chance you would have debuted if you stayed?
swolfgangs24 karma2014-05-04 04:51:58 UTC
I worked for a company called DreamStar. I was contracted under them and scheduled to debut in their first album, but because the single was such a frilly girly song.. and as you can see, they gave me a tomboyish image... They wanted me to debut with their second song.
Ravenjade10 karma2014-05-04 06:46:19 UTC
Any reason why they chose you to be the tomboy? Any actual part of your personality or did they just think you'd look good in a pixie cut?
swolfgangs10 karma2014-05-04 21:16:47 UTC
Because of my previous history and physique. I like sports and i'm kind of bulky compared to the rest.
SicaBiasThrowaway5 karma2014-05-04 22:39:38 UTC
swolfgangs11 karma2014-05-05 03:19:29 UTC
ApinkChorong10 karma2014-05-04 06:37:18 UTC
Any funny stories that people outside the company would like to hear?
swolfgangs7 karma2014-05-04 21:11:54 UTC
Haha. Nothing that I think I can share.. ):
wooribadboy9 karma2014-05-04 21:47:12 UTC
You said you're in contact with the other girls who left but I'm wondering about why you're not in contact with the girls who are still in the group? Is it prohibited?
swolfgangs22 karma2014-05-04 21:58:00 UTC
They don't have phones.
Siccad0329 karma2014-05-04 07:17:21 UTC
Hi Sarah! What do you do now? Any plans to continue with acting or music?
swolfgangs19 karma2014-05-04 21:19:33 UTC
I recently moved out to California to pursue a career in Jazz Hop! :D
Az5he6ch4 karma2014-05-05 05:42:27 UTC
Speaking of which, any plans to release anything soon? You haven't posted anything to SoundCloud in ages :P
swolfgangs7 karma2014-05-05 06:55:11 UTC
Woah. Haha. Yes, I am. I recently bought a new computer... a mac.. and didn't have enough moooolah to buy Cubase.. Recently just purchased it and it should be coming in the mail tomorrow! :D
sprittany8 karma2014-05-04 23:12:38 UTC
i don't really have any questions, just wanted to say this is a very interesting ama bc i have recently gotten into kpop around a year ago. never heard of your group though, lol. i wish you the best with your jazz hop career. :)
swolfgangs7 karma2014-05-05 03:21:21 UTC
penguin-empire8 karma2014-05-04 05:23:12 UTC
What was the most demanding thing you've done. Also would you mind sharing a light into the kpop world for those that are not exposed to anything from it. Thank you
swolfgangs10 karma2014-05-04 20:52:45 UTC
I'm not sure what you mean by demanding. All of it was quite demanding. :S
Well, Kpop is short for Korean Pop. Gangnam Style is all part of kpop. Kpop is pretty much the only type of mainstream music there is in Korea (or at least that is broadcasted on t.v.).
ginballs7 karma2014-05-04 13:30:54 UTC
Are you or most kpop trainees required to undergo plastic surgery?
swolfgangs11 karma2014-05-04 21:37:09 UTC
cool_ruler6 karma2014-05-04 07:35:43 UTC
How long did you have to train each day?
Was there a no dating rule?
Did they restrict the amount of food you could eat?
Did being able to sing play a large role in the casting system?
swolfgangs10 karma2014-05-04 21:21:01 UTC
A long time, I would say about 12 hours or so.
No dating, absolutely at all.
The amount was restricted as much as the type of food we ate was.
No, being able to sing didn't really play a big role. haha.
Qarrot6 karma2014-05-05 07:56:51 UTC
So the obvious question here... How do ALL of you have flawless skin? I just don't get it.
swolfgangs15 karma2014-05-05 08:22:12 UTC
Well while I was training, they sent us to a skin doctor almost once a week. :D
mesosorry4 karma2014-05-05 19:24:58 UTC
What kind of treatments do they do? Any skin care tips?
swolfgangs7 karma2014-05-06 06:54:53 UTC
I can't remember most of it.. but it was just laser, masks etc.
MrGetBonus6 karma2014-05-04 06:19:50 UTC
Oh, Tahiti huh? I actually watched a couple episodes of that pre debut show recently, at least the ones I could somewhat follow along with not fully understanding Korean yet.
You said in another reply that you were given a tomboy image. Did that match your personality at all? Were you against it?
Also, I know DreamStar is one of the smaller companies, but did you ever come in contact with any popular K-Pop idols?
swolfgangs11 karma2014-05-04 21:07:41 UTC
I guess it matched my physique. I was never the Korean skinny (they usually have a smaller bone structure) and I enjoyed sports. Personality-wise I was probably the most girly.
And yes, I did come in contact with some big names.
jaraket6 karma2014-05-06 09:20:13 UTC
I love this AMA, thank you so much for doing this. For a Kpop fan, it's so rare to have an honest, down-to-earth perspective from a relatable insider from the industry. And I wish you success and happiness for the future, particularly with your jazz hop career. Anyway, I hope you're still taking questions.
I was wondering, with the use of English in Kpop lyrics, given your bilingual background, were there times where you had a laugh at bad use of the language? Do companies and producers employ people to vet or edit English lines in Kpop lyrics? Is the use of English nowadays more for the "cool" factor or as a way to engage with overseas fans and give them a point of reference?
Thanks again for doing this, and being all cool about things :)
swolfgangs9 karma2014-05-06 17:49:24 UTC
Maybe a little too much laughing. Haha.
I haven't seen anyone who was there to edit lyrics.
I think its a medium of the both - to engage and sound cool.
I appreciate your appreciation. Haha. A lot of kpop fans are very protective and don’t want to take in the truth... but I'm glad there are people that are willing to take in the reality of what really goes on.
vkdim6 karma2014-05-04 06:40:35 UTC
Did you have debt when you left? If so, what are the expenses you were charged with?
As a trainee, were there ever other fellow trainees you were familiar with and made you think "that person is going to be famous for sure"?
Did your company test to see member compatibility when they created your group?
Why did you pick DreamStar?
Are there funny stereotypes of trainees depending on the company they are being trained under? like " SM trainees are like ___"
swolfgangs19 karma2014-05-04 21:16:10 UTC
I did - like anybody in my situation would have. My parents paid it off. I won't say the exact price.. but it was reasonable for 2 years.. They did pay for my food and utilities on the house we lived in. The debt was pretty much the price of a car.
No, simply because fame IS NOT controlled by talent.
No, although they should have.
They picked me.
SM - pretty, good looking, good dancing.
YG - very talented
JYP - overall well rounded. Okay looks, okay dancing, okay singing.
xozzo5 karma2014-05-05 03:53:27 UTC
I used to have a Kpop phase, but that's long gone and now whenever I read about the industry itself it makes me kind of sick. How are you doing now in the Jazz Hop scene?
swolfgangs8 karma2014-05-05 03:57:37 UTC
And it's so sad that many people will never realize it.. ):
I record at home, write my own lyrics, am currently trying to do some covers with my own lyrics, i'm also going to school to learn how to compose on the computer. I think it's going pretty well. :D
xozzo2 karma2014-05-05 04:19:23 UTC
That's great to hear. Sounds like a much more relaxed life compared to before. I wish you well in your future endeavours!
swolfgangs4 karma2014-05-05 06:41:14 UTC
throwawayLM19875 karma2014-05-04 09:20:27 UTC
I am on a K-pop kick right now so this is great timing. Did you enjoy it or did you feel it was a waste of time?
swolfgangs6 karma2014-05-04 21:31:16 UTC
I don't think it was a waste of time. It was an awesome growing experience.
unglad5 karma2014-05-04 10:36:10 UTC
I've heard that record companies in the K-pop industry takes huge portions of profits made while the artists themselves are incredibly under-paid. Is there truth to this claim?
swolfgangs15 karma2014-05-04 21:36:39 UTC
Not speaking about the company I was in.. but yes.
SicaBiasThrowaway5 karma2014-05-04 21:25:19 UTC
Sorry for spamming you but i forgot an important one. Do you have a puppy?
swolfgangs8 karma2014-05-04 21:56:24 UTC
ctingg5 karma2014-05-05 07:00:10 UTC
Hey Sarah! Thanks for the AMA! Would you say you're a native Korean speaker? Got any tips or tricks for someone learning?
swolfgangs4 karma2014-05-05 07:03:55 UTC
I would say.. i'm pretty good for someone bilingual.
Watch a lot of Korean game shows and use it as often as possible.. VISIT KOREA!
ctingg2 karma2014-05-05 07:16:11 UTC
I'm working on a Korea trip, hopefully soon ~ I'll definitely watch more game shows though! I'll definitely keep an eye out for your success in the jazz hop world ~ (here goes nothing) 사라 화이팅 ㅋ
swolfgangs3 karma2014-05-05 08:20:47 UTC
Awesome! Enjoy your trip! :D
WorldsEndGirlfriend5 karma2014-05-07 06:19:12 UTC
You seem to have very understandable (and common) criticisms about Korean society. Do you think that it is unique to Korean or general consumerist capitalist culture? How do you feel about Western influences directly causing this, albeit you seem to embrace American culture a lot more?
I'm enjoying the parallel here. I'm your age, a Korean American, and while I absolutely share your views and complaints on Korean culture, I see much of the same thing here, except it's less homogenized.
Also, I'm just surprised you were so disappointed with the popular music industry. Did you not know back then that it was processed, image focus instead of creating artistry? there's a reason why it's called popular music..
here's a light question. Do you like Korean art films like the works of Hong Sang Soo or Kim Ki Duk?
swolfgangs17 karma2014-05-07 19:47:55 UTC
I grew up on an American military base in Korea for 16 years. I have had my fair share of Korean and American relationships. I can't compare Korean society to other cultures (because I have NO experience), and never living in America I can only compare it to the American culture I experienced through the American military base.
Korea culture is difficult. It revolves around the idea of respecting the elder generation. A lot of the holidays incorporate extended families coming together to respect the elder generation. For me, having spent some of those holidays, such holidays are completely respectable... until they degrade women to be the only ones cooking and setting everything up for hours on end.. where men watch tv and drink alcohol, almost not helping at all... and this is considered absolutely okay.
Another aspect of the Korean that I never liked is the fact that there is a HUGE gap between the upper class and the lower class. From what I have noticed, there is NO middle class... this makes it hard for anyone to grow financially in society. I have heard of people working for 20 years under 1 company and never getting raises. I mean the average office worker makes 2 million won (under 2 grand).... You can imagine how hard it would be to grow in such circumstances when apartments in better neighborhoods can cost over a million dollars to buy... and putting money down on renting an apartment is anywhere from 5 grand being the least to couple hundred thousand dollars.
The only way out of the lower class is to study hard, but when you have thousands of other seniors trying to do the exact same... it's nearly impossible to get into the college you need to be in.... and this is especially true if you have no money to bribe your way through... I think it's quite the grueling cycle.
I feel that a lot of those living in the US have a lot of opportunities compared to those in Korea.... I honestly feel if they work half as hard as Koreans do, a lot of them would at least have the chance of becoming financially successful.
I'm not sure if you're talking about American Pop or Korean Pop. For me, I see a lot of American artists following a sense of trend but still adding some of the artistry into each song.. where as in Kpop, it's never been about the music as much as it is about still creating something processed and focused on a certain type of image.
Korea is considered one of the fastest growing countries in the world. But, culturally I feel it is still stuck in the past.
PAAATE2 karma2014-05-07 20:31:27 UTC
until they degrade women to be the only ones cooking and setting everything up for hours on end.. where men watch tv and drink alcohol, almost not helping at all...
until they degrade women to be the only ones cooking and setting everything up for hours on end.. where men watch tv and drink alcohol, almost not helping at all...
So if I as a progressive, feminist kinda guy helped the women, the men would think I was an idiot? :p Of course, idgaf what they would think, haha, but that's... interesting. In a bad way :( Yay, Confucianism! :p
Oh, and the artistry in American pop is totally a front. There's as little artistry there as in k-pop, difference being, k-pop is open (or at least obvious) about how fake it is. Believe me. As soon as big money's involved, artistry gets thrown out the window, unless you own your own label.
I wish I could find it now, but there's this article written by some guy who was well on his way to become a big hip hop star in the US, the label lured him in with "Oh, we love your talent, you're great" blah blah bullshit. They sure loved his talent. Until all his songs were written by a bunch of suits and their composer lapdogs (you know, like in k-pop), and when he tried to contribute, they didn't really take him seriously. They basically loved his attitude and stage presence, but not his musicianship.
So I guess that's a warning for up-and-coming musicians out there :p And I really, really wish I could find that damn article... It's a way more fascinating read than my super abbreviated version.
swolfgangs6 karma2014-05-08 02:15:38 UTC
Being able to control stage presence is still a form of art.. My problem lies with the fact that Kpop allows know such types of artistry. You can't even allow your attitude nor your stage presence be shown.
Anniy5 karma2014-05-04 21:46:36 UTC
Why do you think, are there so many trainees, girls especially, who are craving to become a 'kpop idol'? The way you and other sources are describing their daily life seems just horrible. Throwing away your life only to become famous is kinda ridiculous.
swolfgangs10 karma2014-05-04 21:57:12 UTC
I don't think people know until they actually live it.
PAAATE5 karma2014-05-05 04:22:27 UTC
What about people who realize how fake kpop is, but still enjoy it for the great music? ;) I think there's a time and place for real artistry (I listen to a lot of black/death/thrash metal, hip hop, punk, jazz, etc) as well as for pop music and its shallowness, as long as you're aware of the shallowness. Good music is good music, right? ;)
EDIT, because I forgot my actual questions, wtf
Are groups always on a diet, or is it just during training and promotions? And if they always are on a diet, is the diet more strict during training/promotions?
I know about dating bans, but honestly... how well do people actually keep them?
Who decides on a group's image and music? Does the label have a "creative director" appointed to a group?
swolfgangs10 karma2014-05-05 06:47:33 UTC
I see what you mean, but I think a lot of people don't realize that the group isn't the one who actually produced the music.. that's why I don't consider Kpop groups artists... but mere performers.
It depends on their physique. If they can eat whatever and not gain weight, they won't be put on diets.
Almost not at all. Haha. A lot of people are always secretly doing something.
The company's boss.
43fi3jf4 karma2014-05-05 01:49:29 UTC
How many of these idol groups undergo plastic surgery?
swolfgangs11 karma2014-05-05 03:25:43 UTC
I would say almost every single one.. they would have had at least their eyes done.
eoljjang4 karma2014-05-04 22:56:44 UTC
Overall, did you enjoy your experience?
Did they lie in your profile about your height and weight?
swolfgangs7 karma2014-05-05 03:20:39 UTC
Not my height buy my weight was tweaked.
I didn't really enjoy it as much as I learned from it.
stardustrain4 karma2014-05-05 22:22:10 UTC
Did Dasom leavr the group for the same reason like you? I remember that she was one of the popular members back then but she suddenly left and no one even knew why..
Btw, you were actually my favourite member back then hahaha Your name sounded German and since I live in Germany I felt some connection between us hihih
swolfgangs9 karma2014-05-06 07:02:00 UTC
I would rather not answer about Dasom... although I do know the reason as to why she left and still do contact her... it would be too much for me to say anything.
And thank you!
SicaBiasThrowaway3 karma2014-05-04 06:08:07 UTC
has the group you were a part of had their debut? do you still keep in contact with your former (would be?) members?
swolfgangs10 karma2014-05-04 21:04:25 UTC
They have debuted. And I still do contact everyone that left the group, which includes 3 other girls other than me.
LV_Matterhorn3 karma2014-05-05 05:10:23 UTC
Hi Sarah, thanks for doing this AMA.
Where did your stage name Hanhee come from?
swolfgangs13 karma2014-05-05 06:50:39 UTC
Haha. Well.. they wanted me to have a Korean name.. to stray away from the idea that I was half korean.
It came from my mom who sought out a fortune teller who told her my Korean name should be HanHee.
TimeDiver9973 karma2014-05-05 09:27:50 UTC
Thanks for doing this ama! You mentioned in an earlier comment that you are half Korean. Did you face any cultural difficulties from your co-workers or friends? Are you happier living in the US now?
swolfgangs4 karma2014-05-06 06:46:46 UTC
I felt a lot of differences. I actually grew up in Korea.. but I never really got to know Korean culture as I lived on a military base. I learned a lot about the Korean culture to understand it.. but also hate it. :T
AsexualWeirdo3 karma2014-05-04 22:32:24 UTC
What do you think of the sycophancy and fickleness around celebrity culture both in Korea and the U.S?
swolfgangs24 karma2014-05-05 03:19:18 UTC
Kpop fans seem to always be obsessed with one or more groups... because of that groups looks - not because they are talented. Kpop groups are like factory created performers. They GIVE the performers a song, they GIVE the performers a dance routine, they GIVE the performers specific clothes... the "artist" has little to choose from.. they have little to no artistic input.
And the thing that makes me mad the most when a Kpop fan talks about a certain group is that they specify one member that appeals to them the most.. not because they're talented, but because they are broadcasted the most... AND, this has nothing to do with their talent.. it has to do with the fact that they are favorited by the company and the company only decides to use them for everything... More camera time means more fans.
Kyurii3 karma2014-05-07 15:13:28 UTC
Was there non korean foreigners training with you? If so which country were they from? Also how do kpop idols get such pale skin (Because some of their pre debut photo are very tan.)
swolfgangs2 karma2014-05-07 20:09:29 UTC
And skin care.
tkdjdgrl3 karma2014-05-05 01:04:35 UTC
I know phones aren't allowed during most training periods, but I thought that most groups were allowed their phones back after debut?
swolfgangs7 karma2014-05-05 03:24:48 UTC
It really depends on the group and the company.. whether or not if there is a level of trust within for members to get their phones back.
ck013 karma2014-05-04 22:09:41 UTC
On a more serious question, how prevalent is prostitution/abuse/rape within kpop? Like the stuff that went on at Open World Entertainment.
swolfgangs13 karma2014-05-04 22:21:47 UTC
Not at all when I was in my company. As for other companies, I have heard about it.. but almost never directly.
mondomonkey3 karma2014-05-04 18:38:43 UTC
Last response was 13 hours ago.. like 4 questions answered.. Did you die??
swolfgangs5 karma2014-05-04 21:39:45 UTC
McToasterz3 karma2014-05-07 06:33:19 UTC
I've noticed that the bigger label names (SM, YG, JYP, etc.) keep an unspoken rivalry with eachother that is most likely intended to garner more attention to new releases (the underwhealming SNSD vs 2NE1 hype from earlier this year). How come on the flip side, it doesn't seem like there's any problems with cross-label friendships. Like Fx Amber, Miss A min, and Ailee all being very close friends?
I guess the question I'm really looking for is along the lines of were you told anything specific about who or who not to befriend outside your own label?
Also, another kpop-related subreddit I'm apart of has been eagerly awaiting your visit since it contacted you. It would be really cool if you could pay the subreddit a visit.
swolfgangs7 karma2014-05-07 20:00:56 UTC
I never was able to talk to anyone who has debuted in those three companies.. So it would be hard for me to answer.
I'm new to reddit, not exactly sure what you mean?
wa-shoi3 karma2014-05-05 20:10:53 UTC
How do you feel about Korean society and culture?
swolfgangs7 karma2014-05-06 07:00:00 UTC
I grew up in Korea for 16 years (on a military base). I definitely had my share of Korean culture while having my share of American culture. In short - I hate it. It's absurd. It brainwashes it's people. The culture and status of people was built upon an idea that poor people will forever be poor while rich people will forever be poor. Moving to the US, I realized that it's soooo amazing in contrast to Korea. If you work hard to succeed - anything is possible.
gewon252793 karma2014-05-05 23:25:59 UTC
What do you need to do to pass an audition?
swolfgangs3 karma2014-05-06 07:02:08 UTC
MintySquinty3 karma2014-05-04 06:36:14 UTC
Oh god, TAHITI? Good job getting out of that whole situation. Why did Dreamstar Ent. decide to add a pre-debut trainee to the group after the first single? Do you think you are a talented singer? How well do all the trainees get along with each other? How hard is it to go along with company decisions that you don't agree with or have confidence in and is that feeling shared by a majority? Do you still wish to become an actress and if so do you think you are any good at that? Also, what's your opinion on Dreamstar's "producers" totally ripping off Aly & AJ's Potential Breakup Song for Love Sick?
swolfgangs8 karma2014-05-04 21:11:32 UTC
Sorry, I don't really want to talk about other people.
No, I do not think I am a talented singer.. just that I sing and rap (which is what I was in the group for).
As for conflicts, there were many. But with Korean culture, you just can't disobey or argue with an adult. So if there was a situation where I felt that I didn't agree.. I had to act like I did.
wooribadboy2 karma2014-05-04 22:29:55 UTC
What would you say is the chance for a non-korean making it as a trainee and eventually debut?
Are korean kpop fans in general actually very welcoming of foreigners debuting in an idol group?
swolfgangs7 karma2014-05-04 22:33:16 UTC
Close to none. The process alone is extremely hard on Koreans, i'm sure you could imagine how hard it'd be for a non-Korean to attempt such a thing.
I would say, it depends on the people.
llosa2 karma2014-05-04 10:21:03 UTC
What diet did they put you guys on?
swolfgangs9 karma2014-05-04 21:35:54 UTC
Heavy exercise. salad or sweet potato.
nobaraotome3 karma2014-05-04 21:59:22 UTC
Like, you guys only ate sweet potatoes for days or something?
swolfgangs11 karma2014-05-04 22:07:46 UTC
Pretty much. Well, I did. Because I was the "heaviest" one.
cwazydragon2 karma2014-05-05 03:13:32 UTC
How was the makeup routine? Just bb cream and eyeliner? Or was there a lot more to it?
swolfgangs8 karma2014-05-05 03:27:12 UTC
Oh definitely not. We went to make up artists for our MTV show.
Bobfatter2 karma2014-05-04 05:50:53 UTC
Where are you from? And what made you want to be a Kpop artist?
swolfgangs9 karma2014-05-04 21:02:52 UTC
I was born in Pennsylvania but moved to Korea when I was 4 or 5.
I never imagined myself being part of the kpop industry, but from an early age I really enjoyed taking part of acting jobs.
SicaBiasThrowaway2 karma2014-05-04 22:07:16 UTC
were you a member long enough to be sent to reality shows outside of the mtv one?
swolfgangs8 karma2014-05-04 22:17:44 UTC
There was only one.. being the MTV one.
Knightsavior2 karma2014-05-04 16:56:31 UTC
What do you do now that you've left that life?
How hard was it to find time to relax while training?
Did you meet famous people while being a trainee?
swolfgangs7 karma2014-05-04 21:38:41 UTC
Right now, i've taken on school again.
Old_Gam3r2 karma2014-05-04 09:21:14 UTC
If you can turn back time, will you embark the same dream?
swolfgangs11 karma2014-05-04 21:31:40 UTC
Yes, same dream... Maybe not the same route.
ChiSoshi2 karma2014-05-07 14:49:19 UTC
So not sure if you are still answering questions but is there really no kpop song that sounds good to you?
swolfgangs5 karma2014-05-07 20:09:12 UTC
I like underground korean hip hop. I don't think i've ever come across any good, recent Kpop songs.
I saw this picture recently where they compared old Kpop to recent Kpop.. haha. It made me really think... I wish I could find it, but the best I can do is just describe it..
One side had lyrics to recent songs being:
sorry sorry sorry sorry
bo pee bo pee bo pee
and the old side being actual lyrics. Haha.
Dizziedummie2 karma2014-05-04 07:47:39 UTC
What did you learn as a trainee? Do you regret the experience?
What are your current goals?
Thank you for doing this ama.
swolfgangs10 karma2014-05-04 21:30:45 UTC
I learned a lot. I learned about relationships, people, and what the real world really is. I don't regret the experience at all. I am pursuing a career in Jazz hop. :D
nboland19892 karma2014-05-04 10:02:20 UTC
What made you leave the company? Was the idea of being a K-pop star not the same as you had imagined?
swolfgangs8 karma2014-05-04 21:35:23 UTC
See below comment for reason.
As for not the same - definitely wasn't the same... didn't even come near!
SicaBiasThrowaway2 karma2014-05-04 06:09:42 UTC
also can I ask why you decided to leave?
swolfgangs2 karma2014-05-04 21:04:39 UTC
See the other comment, thank you.
ZeNEX_J2 karma2014-05-05 21:48:32 UTC
It sucks that I'm a little late to this! As a huge fan of Kpop, I have always wanted to hear about what really goes on behind the scenes of the Kpop 'world', so this is an awesome AMA. I always knew it wasn't nearly as glamorous as it is made out to be.
If you are still willing to answer more questions, was there any instances that you really enjoyed during your career?
swolfgangs3 karma2014-05-06 07:00:47 UTC
Of course, I experienced so many things that your average Joe will never experience.
iam_leslie2 karma2014-05-05 13:09:52 UTC
You've talked about YG and how you think that they are "true artists".
I was just wondering what was your opinion on artists like akdong musician , lee hi and 15& debuting so young?
Also do you think that YG artists such as G Dragon and Akdong Musicians actually produce and write the songs they say they do.
And what would you ever consider going back to kpop under your own terms like jay park?
understand if you don't want to answer some/all of these questions.
swolfgangs9 karma2014-05-06 06:49:32 UTC
I know for a fact, due to a friend that was a YG trainee, that YG actually teaches their trainees to produce. As for AkDong - I have no idea.
Maybe, if it felt right... :S
Hi_Im_Curt2 karma2014-05-05 09:52:19 UTC
Thanks a ton for doing this AMA! Some of these things I've read/heard from other sources. I'm trying to think of a good question but I really just wanted to say thanks, lol.
Here's one I guess: Without naming names, what's the or most shocking rumour or whatever that you've heard/known about? I want the juicy stuff!
And another: Since girls are not allowed to date and live in dorms together, there must be some girl on girl type of stuff that might happen in some cases?
Anyways, here's a song you might like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wih_awQoMmc ... (an oldie but a goodie!) Edit: Now that I think about it, Pharcyde were straight hiphop back in the day, but if they were to come out now, they'd probably be considered 'Jazz-Hop'
swolfgangs3 karma2014-05-06 06:47:40 UTC
A girl cut her contract because she started dating the delivery man. haha.
none at all.
wooribadboy2 karma2014-05-04 22:08:19 UTC
Choose one or all! haha
What was the weight that you had to maintain during promotions?
Would say that weight goal is similar for most if not all girl groups in promotions?
Does the industry treat girl groups and boy groups differently?
Were you able to interact & form bonds with other acts?
swolfgangs6 karma2014-05-04 22:20:54 UTC
My goal weight was 55 kilos.
Most companies want their girls to be stick skinny.
I believe they do.
KSMGA2 karma2014-05-07 13:43:39 UTC
Whilst you were in the company, did you get to meet other trainees from other companies? What were you allowed to do on sundays? and what were you not allowed to do?
swolfgangs4 karma2014-05-07 20:06:55 UTC
I met someone from YG, but not through my company. I saw other trainees at our dance classes but we never spoke.
We had no days off.
I_Am_Herb1 karma2014-05-05 08:07:44 UTC
Why do groups stylize their name in all caps?
swolfgangs2 karma2014-05-05 08:22:22 UTC
I have no idea. haha.
KabutoY1 karma2014-05-04 22:00:28 UTC
Do people in K-Pop really know/care about their international fans?
swolfgangs9 karma2014-05-04 22:12:02 UTC
I would say it depends.
NorbitGorbit1 karma2014-05-04 18:17:27 UTC
would a US company have an advantage in developing an alternate KPOP pipeline intended for world audience/branding?
swolfgangs16 karma2014-05-04 21:39:31 UTC
I don't think so. I think the only reason Kpop works is because of the way the Korean culture mixes in with the business.
GetRekt1 karma2014-05-04 21:59:41 UTC
You mentioned pursuing a career in Jazz Hop (or Jazz Rap).
Why Jazz Hop?
What got you into Jazz Hop?
Who are your favourite Jazz Hop artists?
swolfgangs17 karma2014-05-04 22:09:22 UTC
I always liked hip hop... but not the mainstream curse word every two words kind. I also liked quiet music. And then I found Jazz Hop.
My favorite artist is Nujabes.
IbbleBibble1 karma2014-05-04 22:28:55 UTC
Do you like Korean music that isn't Kpop? The only non-Kpop group I really know is Leessang (not even too sure about their non-Kpoppiness) and it'll be cool to find out more groups/singers, even if I don't understand anything.
swolfgangs10 karma2014-05-04 22:32:18 UTC
I enjoy the occasional underground Korean hip hop. :)
daaganon1 karma2014-05-05 05:22:39 UTC
Care to share any? I'd love to hear some.
swolfgangs6 karma2014-05-05 06:52:21 UTC
Shirosky.. isn't really and underground hip hop artist/producer, but her music is pretty bomb. She produces a lot of laid back hip hop music.
EJACULATING_MUFASA1 karma2014-05-04 10:54:08 UTC
Do you still reside in Korea?
swolfgangs3 karma2014-05-04 21:36:58 UTC
yeahey1 karma2014-05-04 09:36:22 UTC
what was daily life like?
swolfgangs7 karma2014-05-04 21:33:52 UTC
go to the studio,
lokoohno1 karma2014-05-05 14:25:57 UTC
Who is your kpop crush? :P
swolfgangs3 karma2014-05-06 06:49:50 UTC
I love Johny Depp - no Kpop crush. Haha.
timpagirl1 karma2014-05-05 14:58:17 UTC
did you ever experience bullying? Or did you hear about it?
swolfgangs2 karma2014-05-06 06:51:03 UTC
I felt out of place, at times. I would rather not explain why...
Tetrathionate1 karma2014-05-05 17:35:40 UTC
Thanks for the AMA. Im quite late here but I always wanted an AMA from one of you guys!
how likely is it for a trainee to actually debut? And is it normal to see trainees break down and can't handle all the stress, committments and dedication needed?
swolfgangs1 karma2014-05-06 06:53:47 UTC
I would say it depends on the company. If your company is new with no notable actors/artists.. you have 0 percent chance...
People rarely break down under pressure. It's every man for himself.
Bink_Nasty1 karma2014-05-05 06:40:41 UTC
swolfgangs4 karma2014-05-05 07:01:49 UTC
That would be chaining everything. Haha.
I would probably have stayed. I think the reason I left was because I hit a point in my life that was overwhelming for a very young girl. I had dropped out of high school my senior year to join the Kpop scene. I had given up everything from family to friends. To be completely honest, I was dating my first long term boyfriend during this whole experience and when we broke up do to me being a trainee.. my whole world kind of broke down.. and at the time, it felt as if the best people to blame was the industry.
I think if all the above were have been able to be changed, my experience may have been better..
sw2de3fr4gt1 karma2014-05-04 22:58:49 UTC
How much influence do you get for your own image/persona and the songs that you sing?
swolfgangs5 karma2014-05-05 03:21:04 UTC
Influence while in the company? from their songs?
sw2de3fr4gt1 karma2014-05-05 03:37:12 UTC
I mean how often do you get to choose what you want to wear or what kind of hairstyle that you want? Did you get to choose your tomboy image or was that already decided?
Also, how has your perception of the Kpop industry changed since you joined and left it? Do you miss anything from that lifestyle?
swolfgangs10 karma2014-05-05 03:41:30 UTC
None, what so ever. ):
My perception has changed a lot. It isn't as fun and easy as I had imagined it to be. I do miss the glamour part of it... haha. but who wouldn't?
sw2de3fr4gt1 karma2014-05-05 03:58:32 UTC
Thanks for your insight. It was a really interesting read!
swolfgangs2 karma2014-05-05 04:04:13 UTC
wooribadboy1 karma2014-05-04 22:44:24 UTC
I was told before that an agency was pushing a certain pairing to the public more so I want to ask coming from either your experience or things you may have heard or seen, Do agencies suggest to heavily play up fan service like pairings/ships? Do the idols themselves even pay attention to things like this?
swolfgangs5 karma2014-05-05 03:20:03 UTC
What do you mean by pairings/ships? :S
leetaemin1 karma2014-05-05 04:32:49 UTC
A "ship" is two people - in this case, two idols - that people want to see together in a relationship, not necessarily romantic, but at least acting like really close friends. Some popular K-pop examples would by TaeNy, Taeyeon and Tiffany from Girls' Generation, YunJae, Yunho and Jaejoong from TVXQ/JYJ, and GTOP, G-Dragon and TOP from Big Bang.
Essentially the person is asking that if your company saw two of their idols looking close to each other, would they ask the idols to play up their friendship for camera or engage in more fanservice? Do idols in general pay attention to when their fans ship them with other people, or are they unaware?
swolfgangs5 karma2014-05-05 06:49:16 UTC
I'm not quite sure... From my experience, it came from who I was really good friends with in the house. We stuck together because we liked each other, not so much because someone asked us to.
pastel910 karma2014-05-04 23:13:03 UTC
How are you going to come at other idols for not being artists when you were going be some nameless member in Tahiti? I just don't understand how someone who apparently values artistry and being a performer would get involved in the Kpop industry in the first place.
swolfgangs5 karma2014-05-05 03:22:51 UTC
Because I was naive... like so many people out there. From my experience, I learned countless things about the Kpop industry that just isn't possible to know if you haven never been submersed into it.
SicaBiasThrowaway0 karma2014-05-05 03:29:55 UTC
how long did you train?
swolfgangs3 karma2014-05-05 03:33:24 UTC
I was in the company for 2 years. I would say I trained at home for 6months (commuting) and within the company for 2 years.
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