Former K-Pop Idol Reveals She Used to Wear 11-POUND Sandbags on Each Leg While Training

A former K-pop idol has stepped out of the shadows to shed light on the dark side of the industry, joining others who claim that the lifestyle is not as glamorous as it seems.

Way, 28, used to be part of Crayon Pop, a five-member girl group most K-pop fans would remember for their 2013 hit single “Bar Bar Bar.”

 

In a new interview with Kei of Asian Boss, Way, who now runs her own YouTube channel, shared stories from her trainee and idol days, some of which are unheard in the glitzy world of K-pop.

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“First, I had to suddenly change the way I acted,” she recalled. “And secondly, I had to go on a diet. I wasn’t allowed to eat snacks or late-night snacks.”

Image via YouTube / Asian Boss

Way was the last member to join Crayon Pop, which debuted in 2012 under Chrome Entertainment, a small record label founded by photographer Hwang Hyun-chang.

While fellow members Gummi, Ellin, Soyul and Choa — her twin sister — trained for “over a year,” she only trained for two months — and it was brutal.

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Image via YouTube / Asian Boss

“All of a sudden I had to do dance practice all day,” Way said. “My legs would get bruised or completely swollen, which was the most difficult thing.”

“And since we were about to debut as idols, during dance practice, we had to put sandbags weighing 5 kilograms (11 pounds) around each of our legs.”

Crayon Pop (Way at the center) in “Bar Bar Bar.” Image via YouTube / Crayon Pop

The sandbags supposedly helped in their dancing later.

“They said, ‘That way, when you take those off, you’ll be lighter on your feet when dancing.’ So that was really tough for me.”

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However, Way pointed out that the lack of sleep was the most challenging hurdle she had to endure.

Weeks before their debut, they had to come to work at 4 a.m. and return to their dorm past midnight.

Image via YouTube / Asian Boss

Way also confirmed that her label banned dating, a policy that appears to be common in Korean entertainment companies.

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As a result, Way shared that most idols would have small, easy-to-hide phones, which can then be used to contact the outside world.

Image via YouTube / Asian Boss

Way’s label was so strict that even her own father, who visited her on her birthday, was turned away.

If anyone gets caught, the label would threaten to remove that member from the group.

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Image via YouTube / Asian Boss

Making money as idols did not come easy for Crayon Pop too, especially since they “were expected to pay back the costs to form the group.”

“Usually, the company takes about 60-70% of the profit, while the singers take 30-40%,” Way claimed. “But the expenses were split 50-50.”

Image via YouTube / Asian Boss

Way added that their income was never stable, and at times, they even incurred debts.

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“Sometimes we’d earn some money. Other times we’d actually owe money. It really fluctuated a lot. But the first time we got paid, each of us got about $12,250 for three months of work. We got that amount a year and a half after we had debuted. Until then, we were paid nothing.”

Image via YouTube / Asian Boss

For Way, Crayon Pop’s biggest break happened when the group was invited to perform as the opening act for Lady Gaga’s “ArtRave: The Artpop Ball” concert tour.

Unfortunately, the experience also incurred them debts from their company, as they missed time doing local promotions.

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Way now describes herself as an “independent content creator.” While she never lost her love of performing, she does not see herself returning to the idol life.

“When it comes to sharing good songs, dancing and energy with the fans as a musician, I would love to do that any time. But I don’t want to go back to that idol lifestyle because I think I’ve gotten my fill. So I don’t hold onto that, or miss it.”

Image via YouTube / Asian Boss

She now tells aspiring idols to look beyond the glamorous side of K-pop.

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“I know a lot of people want to become idols, but many times, people only see the good side. There’s so much sacrifice and hard work that you don’t see. I want people to know about those things more. I hope they don’t aspire to be idols by just looking at the glamorous side.”

Check out Way’s full interview below:

 

Featured Images via YouTube / Crayon Pop (Left) and Asian Boss (Right)

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