In Korea, there is no denying that there are strict and sometimes unrealistic expectations for beauty. In particular, the lengths and measures K-Pop agencies will go to ensure that idols have this specific look can be extreme.
However, aside from a small face, pale skin, and larger eyes, one vital criterion that is expected in Korean society is being slim.
Regardless of your build or height, it is an expectation, and it is not unusual for those who don’t fit these requirements to struggle when buying clothing. It is only recently that certain brands have started to accommodate all sizes.
Yet, a recent clip from an old video has resurfaced amongst both Korean and international netizens. K-Pop YouTube channel AYO has always provided netizens with insider information about the industry. In particular, the specific clip is from a video of K-Pop trainees Bin Haneul and Choi Yejin.
During the video, the trainees discussed everything from dating to the tough schedules, and a lot more. In particular, they unsurprisingly discussed the issue of weight, and Haneul revealed that there were extreme lengths idols had to go through to lose weight.
Trainees who have to lose a lot of weight in a short time drink lemon detox and such, and still have to do the schedules.
— Bin Haneul
They then read a comment about trainees hiding food from their companies, and despite its harshness, it seemed to be a realistic scenario. Haneul even explained the lengths she went to to ensure she could eat delicious food without getting caught.
Yet, it was Yejin’s experience and comments that have really caught the attention of netizens, despite the video being released over a year ago.
The trainee revealed that one day, she was meant to be on a diet but decided to eat anyway, and then she was weight straight after. Her weight had gone up, so she was made to run nine laps.
Yejin then shocked fans even more by revealing the formula that many K-Pop companies use to try and work out a trainee’s ideal weight for the industry. According to her, if you want to be in a girl group, the “formula” is the “Person’s height in centimeters – 120cm = the ideal weight (kg).”
The two girls then seemed to emphasize just how important this idea of being a certain weight is for companies and how much they instill it into the trainees.
I think you look pretty on TV when you’re really skinny. Until debut, they control your weight harder since it won’t be good if you gain weight.
— Bin Haneul
Unsurprisingly, the comments were flooded with netizens sharing their reactions to the formula and how unhealthy it seems to be,
- When I was 45 kg at 163 cm, people were always telling me to gain weight because I didn’t look good…
- But when I was 46-47 kg at 166 cm, people were saying that I looked scary because of how skinny I was,
- They’re telling me to be 30 kg? They’re crazy.
Yet, it isn’t the first time the strict weight requirements of trainees have been revealed. OH MY GIRL‘s Hyojoung shocked fans as she revealed the weight that the company expected them to maintain. She explained, “We weren’t allowed to surpass 99-101 lbs (44.9-45.8kg).”
Binnie added that her expected weight was even lower at 92 lb (41.7kg) and Hyojoung’s personal target was 97 lb (44kg). No matter the number, it was still very low for anyone to be classed as “healthy.”
The topic of weight and dieting has something that has always raised concerns, especially with female idols. Despite more idols being vocal about the issues, the beauty standards are as present as ever.
You can read more about the harsh expectations of weight for idols below.