Former Girls’ Generation Trainee Reveals Dark Side of K-pop Training


Last Updated on 2018-02-03 , 12:29 pm

Kpop fans, perhaps you would have known this: There’s often a change in the members of Kpop groups before their debut, such as having additional members to dropping off members completely prior to the debut.

There was one such trainee back in the days who was supposed to debut with SNSD, also known as Girls’ Generation.

She didn’t manage to debut in the end, and here is her reveal on the dark side of K-pop training.


Stella Kim, the “lead member of the group”

Stella Kim was in the final lineup of SNSD along with Hajin and T-ara’s Soyeon as seen in the picture. The reason for her reveal wasn’t just to get attention like other celebrities.

Stella was actually supposed to be the “face” (visual) of SNSD, sort of like the lead member of the group. 26-year-old Stella Kim was born in South Korea and went to the U.S. when she was 4 years old.

Scouted by a senior executive of SM entertainment

Stella was scouted by a senior executive of SM entertainment when she was travelling back from her holiday in South Korea. She was immediately given a chance of private audition – that meant she could finally turn her Kpop fandom to stardom. But she didn’t realize how hard it was going to be when she just sang and danced at first.


She mentioned, “As a young middle school girl, it was very fun and cool to me.”


Training lasted for 13 hours

She eventually ran into the person who scouted her a year later and was offered to go to South Korea and train. Stella would continue attending school in the U.S., and trained in Korea during the summer. She revealed that training would last for 13 hours.

There would also be language training for anyone who may potentially work in China or Japan, and public speaking classes. Also, they had to attend vocal training classes, acting classes and dancing classes.

Lasting impact on her self-esteem and image

The worst is not yet over – Stella recalled how the trainees would have to stand in line to go on a scale, and their weight would be called out loudly among everyone. They would also get bashed if their weight didn’t decrease over the week. This is sure traumatizing for a young girl, isn’t it?

Now you know why almost all Korea stars look like they’ve come out from a fashion magazine.


Offered a contract to debut in 2007

Stella was finally offered a contract in 2007 to debut with SNSD, but eventually turned down the contract because her parents had refused to sign it. She was disappointed and upset, but perhaps, this could be a blessing in a disguise.

Campus gossips

Stella went back to the U.S. for college after that, but her Korean peers quickly identified her and gossips started to spread around campus with comments such as “She’s not as pretty as we thought she’d be,” or “She’s fat and ugly.”

She developed an eating disorder

Stella started to develop an eating disorder when she struggled to deal with the “ideal beauty” standard that young women should be like. She turned anorexic, weighing about 41 kg at 170 cm.


How beauty is associated in Korean entertainment biz

The portrayal of beauty standards in women in the Korean entertainment industry is both dangerous and frightening – clear skin, lustrous hair, tall and skinny. Stella begun to reflect on the messages and values Korea pop culture was conveying to younger fans, which is one word: distorted.

Now, if you think the Kpop stars you see in TV just have the looks and the luck, you’re wrong.

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