K-pop artists’ never-ending engagements begin during the wee hours of the morning and end late at night, especially after the launch of a new album, (G)I-DLE’s Yuqi has revealed.
The 22-year-old Chinese-born K-pop star talked about the grueling schedule idols endure in a new interview with ELLE Korea, Koreaboo reported.
“When we’re back with an album, here’s what the first week is like: We start moving without any sleep and head to the salon at 1 a.m.,” Yuqi shared. “There are five of us and it usually takes three hours for everyone to finish.”
They depart for the broadcasting station at around 4 a.m., and they try to get some sleep inside the car while traveling. They then start with their recording duties at 5 or 6 a.m. before proceeding to their rehearsals, which take around two hours.
“After the music show, we usually film some contents between our schedules. We change our outfits right away and film the content and then we have a short break for two hours,” she said, adding that filming content usually extends up to 10 a.m.
In the afternoon, the idols do live music shows and interviews and finish at around 7 or 8 p.m. Sometimes, they also have a fan-signing event which ends around 9 p.m.
“When we’re really busy, we have to get up after just one hour of sleep,” she explained.
Several idols have spoken about the harsh realities within the K-pop industry in recent years. Apart from having hectic schedules, they are expected to maintain a perfect image while competing for sales and album ranking against other groups. As a result, many of them struggle with depression and mental health, which are still considered taboo in South Korea.
Discussions on mental health and the K-pop industry took center stage following the death of Sulli, a member of the former girl group f(x), in 2019. In an interview with BBC News that same year, K-pop critic Yoonha Kim said, “Female K-pop stars are expected to be cute and lovely while being obedient to public reception. Sulli didn’t fit this mold. She was one who intentionally raised her voice and wanted to be heard.”
Authorities found no foul play in Sulli’s death. There was neither a suicide note nor signs of intrusion in her home. Prior to her death, however, the artist was known for being vocal about her mental health struggles. Fans also noted that she used to be affected by the criticisms she received online.
A month after Sulli’s demise, her friend, Goo Hara, also passed away. Police reportedly found a “pessimistic” note in the latter’s home.
If you have thoughts of suicide, confidential help is available for free at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255. The line is available 24 hours, every day.