by Lydia Tan
YouTube is a burgeoning market for up-and-coming content creators — and the Kpop industry is jumping on the bandwagon as well. There has been a recent rise of both current and former Kpop idols creating personal YouTube channels, sharing content from lifestyle vlogs and Q&As to singing covers and even makeup tutorials. These videos aim to show a more personal, “real” side to the idols and lets their fans get an inside look into their daily lives.
However, there is a more unique genre of these Kpop idol channels: exposé videos. These are usually run by former idols and are centred around revealing the inner secrets of the industry and answering a lot of the fans’ burning questions about the idol lifestyle. Here are some popular channels run by former idols.
Grace was a former idol trainee set to debut in a girl group which many people have inferred to be Laboum. Now she is a solo artist and has appeared on the third season of the female rap competition show Unpretty Rapstar. The majority of her videos talk about her experiences as a former trainee and understanding of the industry, from sharing how idols escape the strict “dating ban” to the taboo topic of pregnancies and early marriages in Kpop.
She also interviews special guests who have some form of experience in the industry to get their opinions on certain issues. Her second channel GRAZY TV is more focused on general Korean societal issues and other miscellaneous topics.
Christine, aka Park Subin, was from the now-disbanded girl group Blady. She has a main series called Idol Insider where she talks about the inner happenings of the idol life and her own personal stories from her time as an idol.
Her videos are more structured, as she will take questions from fans on her social media and address them in sections in the video. Some interesting topics she has covered in the series include how idols deal with body hair and periods. She also has some videos where she invites her close friends, mostly current or former fellow Korean-American idols, to speak on their experiences in a casual chit-chat format.
Way was a member of the girl group Crayon Pop which went on hiatus after its members chose not to renew their contracts and eventually went their own separate ways. Way is now a full-time YouTuber and used to run her channel with her twin sister and former groupmate Choa under the name Twin TV. In her interview with Asian Boss, she shared about her training years, career, and current endeavours as a YouTuber.
Her videos are more focused on the interesting hacks and idol secrets, like what goes on when idols get their hair and makeup done at the “shop” or salon. They are more lighthearted compared to the usual exposé videos that are more focused on exposing the controversial sides of Kpop.
Mir was from the boy group MBLAQ, which fell apart after their company dissolved due to financial problems. His channel is still fairly new; his introduction video just released this August. Some of his first few videos discuss some common idol issues, such as average idol earnings, and explaining why groups disband, so this seems to be the direction he’s going for his channel.
As a member from a group that ended on very unfair terms, fans can maybe expect his views to be more political and directed at the insidious nature of the industry. MBLAQ was highly successful during the ‘golden age’ of Kpop (late 2000s to early 2010s), and with a career spanning 8-9 years since his debut in 2009, Mir is the most veteran idol on this list.
With his experience of going through various highs and lows throughout his active career, you can expect to get a more personal, deeper perspective in his future videos.