From Record Players To Camila Cabello: K-Pop Stars Tell Us What They Stan
K-pop idols have devoted fandoms and communities. But what are they fans of?
Every Friday this summer, Refinery29 explores the passionate, rollicking world of fandom. We’ll take a look at how we organize, create, debate and show our passion for the things we love — the good, the bad, and the loud.
Nobody knows quite how to show the depths of their devotion like K-pop fans. Other fandoms may come out in droves on social media to support their faves, buying a T-shirt and a concert ticket when they come through town. K-pop fans show their passion financially by buying up everything: pins, posters, clothing, lightsticks, multiple versions of every physical album, and plane tickets to see them in concert. But, they also show it their creative tributes to the bands they love. K-pop fans will put their time and energy into voting for their favorite idols to win awards, watching all of their videos and reality shows online, making original art, and translating their content into different languages for fellow fans across the world.
While K-pop idols may seem like they’re only on the receiving end of this adoration, many of them were once fans, and continue to be. Monsta X’s Shownu grew up obsessing over K-pop star Rain, and BTS’ V admires Vincent Van Gogh. EXID’s Hani loves to read; the members of Seventeen can’t get over Seungkwan’s mom’s marinated crab.
With this in mind, we turned the tables and asked some big names and rising stars in the South Korean music scene to share what they are fans of — and learned that the things K-pop stars love are as diverse as the fans who adore them.
Miyeon: "I have a lot of interest in nail art. I get mine done about once a month."
Shuhua: "Puppies and skincare. I have four steps: I put on a mask pack first, then toner, lotion, and moisturizer. I'll also put on an essence or ampoules. I especially like to put on a mask in the morning before I put on makeup and then later on, when I am done with my schedule for the day. "
Soyeon: "I am into playing League of Legends. I am really enjoying it. I usually don’t play video games, but I started playing League of Legends especially because I wanted to know about more when I was tapped to work on a song ["Pop/Stars"] for them. I think time passes by quickly when I play it. And yes, I play as my character sometimes."
Rowoon: “I like old-school things, like old songs and antique furniture. Recently I bought a record player which I should be receiving soon. I love a ‘retro’ atmosphere, so I've been into taking pictures on film and in the future I want to buy an antique car. I was in a TV show recently and one of my fellow sunbaes [seniors] gave me a Walkman — there was a specific, raw sound that came out of that Walkman that put me at ease, and since then I've been interested in that old-school feel. Because I'm always in a fast-paced environment, when I'm alone, I try to find things that help relax me. When I listen to songs or when I'm in a low atmosphere, it reminds me that it's ok to take things slow and calm down, and there's a healing process within that.”
Youngbin: "Our fans [called Fantasy] and my brother, Grapefruit. Just kidding — Grapefruit is my puppy. He's five months old. My sister and mother named him Grapefruit because in Korea there is a superstition that if you name your pets after a fruit, they'll live for a long time. I don't have a younger sibling, and my dog is so loveable. I get a lot of energy from Grapefruit and he vitalizes me, like having a little brother would."
Hwiyoung: "Whenever I get time to myself, I always have the urge to go shop. Even when I don't actually want to buy anything, I love to go window shopping and it relieves my stress. I recently bought a pair of shoes, but I like them so much that I hardly ever wear them. I want to save them."
Taeyang: "I've been really into coffee lately. I used to think it was too bitter, but I've grown to like it more and more. I love making coffee, especially because the smell calms me. When I was in New York, I bought some coffee beans because I have a grinder at home. I heard that Hawaii has the most famous beans — Kona — so I'm currently looking to buy those. I take my coffee strong: sometimes espresso, sometimes iced coffee with nothing in it. "
Zuho: "I'm pretty into taking care of my son, my cat. And taking time to myself in general, like going on long drives alone. But recently I've been interested in collecting different liquors from all around the world and showcasing them at home. I don't drink them, but I like displaying them. Recently I got a fermenting machine to make alcohol at home, so I want to make my own liquor and give it to the adults during Korean Thanksgiving."
Mingi: "Hongjoong. I love him."
Hongjoong: "I love you, too, Mingi. I'm a fan of ATEEZ though [members laugh incredulously]. I'm serious! I always look up our videos and watch them and listen to our music. I especially subscribe to fan accounts on YouTube and watch their fan-made videos too. I want to see what they've come up with!"
Yunho: "Today, the new Spider-Man movie was released in Korea, and I really want to see it."
Hongjoong: "He's a big fan of Spider-Man. His Playstation is a clear, special Spider-Man edition, and he has all the games, the movies, and the comic books."
San: "I'm into snacks, Korean snacks. And then also most of the Cheetos flavors, but not too spicy. And Lay's; I saw some Lay's in a waiting room around the corner, so when we go back, I'm going to take all of them."
Hongjoong: "I'm a big fan of Camila Cabello. I love her songs. I like her new song with Shawn Mendes, but I can't watch the music video, it's…[shields eyes]. I like her because I like her voice. I find it unique, and I haven’t really heard anything like it. And she has so many talents and skills on stage, that when I watch her performances, I'm so captivated by them. Time flies by."
San: "Hongjoong is a big fan of Camila Cabello, but I'm a big fan of Shawn Mendes."
Hongjoong: "Ok, let's fight now.”
Mingi: "I love spas and hot springs, and there are some songs I've realized recently have reminded me of spas. Like Camila Cabello's 'Havana.' It sounds weird, but I've been into songs that give me 'spa vibes.'"
Hongjoong: "It's not the kind of music that most people would find relaxing — he means pop songs, like American pop music. "
Young K: "JYP! Definitely not just because he's our boss...I love how he writes lyrics and how he approaches songwriting. He's taught me how to write good songs and lyrics since I was a trainee."
Jae: "Lauv. I saw a video where he kept re-recording a single word, and I realized he puts in so much effort to not be too overbearing or pushy with his emotional accents. So I’ve been studying how he pronounces his 'impact' words."
Dowoon: "I care and love myself. First of all, I believe I should be able to care for myself and cheer myself on so that I can truly care for others. So, I try to be a fan of myself. Of course, I want to be cool enough to accept myself and become my No.1 fan. No matter how busy I am, I try to do at least one thing I want every day. It's a reward and a gift to myself."
Wonpil: "I’m a big fan of ‘My Day’! ‘My Day’ is a nickname for our fans. They support us unconditionally. They believe in us and support us all the way. We are always reassured by their support, and we can count on them wherever and whenever. It feels fantastic to hear the voices of My Day singing along with us when we sing. So I can say that they are the driving force that keeps our music going."
Sungjin: "If I had to be a 'fan' of something or someone, it would definitely be my parents. My parents always had my back, so I could learn and experience a lot about life. They’ve never stopped supporting me and believing in my dream. That made me what I am today. My parents are always a source of inspiration for me. I think not only my parents, but all the parents in the world are heroes."
"Disney and musicals. I’ve watched almost every Disney movies since I was born. I grew up right in front of where Disneyland is and would go almost every month or every chance I got. [I] ended up memorizing the whole park in detail, from bathrooms to churros stands. I still have a season pass with no blackout dates. The first song I ever sang, before I even spoke, was 'Part Of Your World,' and the first song I sang on stage was 'Reflection.' I've watched most of the Disney Broadway shows multiple times. I usually like buying all things Disney. I am now collecting different Mickey and Minnie ears every time I go.
"I remember watching my first Broadway show, The Phantom of the Opera, in the 6th grade. From that moment I absolutely fell in love. I would watch musicals over and over. I made it an annual ritual, since 2011, to watch as many musicals [as I could] every time I get the chance. Most recently, I watched Band of Gypsies, Chicago, and Waitress. But the trip before that I did Anastasia, Mean Girls, Frozen, The Ice Man Cometh, the Donna Summer musical — all in a couple of days. I've watched Aladdin five times. I've watched Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in Seoul four times."
"I love traveling. I’ve visited multiple cities in many countries. I especially love how the appearance, the music people enjoy, and the food culture are so different in every place. The way we live is so different, depending on where we are.
"My first memory of traveling somewhere that made a mark on me was probably New York. I was 19, and it was the first time I traveled outside of Korea. I stayed there for a month around Christmas time, just going to the Met Museum and other things that are less touristy. I wanted to just experience life as a New Yorker. I love the food and the diversity of people. I prefer to travel by myself because I don't need to match people's time and schedules."