Reporter Reveals What K-Pop Idol Interviews Are Really Like Behind The Scenes

Reporter Reveals What K-Pop Idol Interviews Are Really Like Behind The Scenes

“Even in those moments [idols] are so carefully managed.”

Haley Yanga reporter for the Korea JoongAng Dailywas invited to sit down with David Tizzard on YouTube and talk about Korean culture, society, and the people who engage with it. The interview touched on K-Pop and K-Content in general, but one interesting moment was when Haley revealed how the process of interviewing idols actually goes.

When asked about how she engages with K-Pop groups through live performances, debut stages, and interviews Haley shared that it’s not as straightforward as we may think.

EXO’s interview for “Section TV” | MBC

The host brought up the name tags K-Pop idols wear during music show performances or even interviews, with Haley highlighting their importance. She explained that the name tags help journalists and staff out when it comes to identifying each member of a group — avoiding any mistakes. Haley also revealed that the tags are actually prepared by the journalist teams themselves, not the artists’ agencies.

BTS members wear name tags during their dance practice. | BANGTANTV/YouTube

Sometimes they do bring it, but actually, we prepare most of them and I must admit it helps us.

— Haley Yang

When talking about how you don’t really see the process of interviewing idols, Haley explained that while it seems like journalists “are at the very front line” the reality is different, with companies being careful regarding the smallest details during the interviews. She shared that “even in those moments [idols] are so carefully managed” with agencies even giving their artists guidelines.

BLACKPINK’s Jisoo getting her makeup done. | @sooyaa__/Instagram

Any time some makeup gets smudged the staff will run to them to fix it… The companies also give them guidelines…

— Haley Young

Haley went on to explain that companies don’t really want the “background stories” that happen during the interview to “get out.”

TWICE having filming for their “Game of Song Association”. | ELLE/YouTube

After an interview, they would come to us and say ‘Oh, can you please take out this quote it could be offensive to fans.’

— Haley Young

The JoongAng Daily journalist even revealed that when one group started talking about farting during their interview, the company “was so serious about taking that out.” She added that it felt “immature” that they wanted to take that out because comically talking about the subject like that is even part of Korean folklore.

There’s this whole book dedicated [to] just folklore about that.

— Haley Young

The host went on to compare the process to a Korean wedding, where “everyone is looking at the bride and running up the aisle holding stuff” and Haley agreed.

Seventeen’s interview during their music show promotions. | KBS WORLD TV/YouTube

In the sense that I look at them and I think I never want to do that it’s kind of the same thing.

— Haley Young

Talks from journalists on how companies micromanage the artists’ interviews have been going around for some time in the industry, with journalist Jeff Benjamin commenting on it as well. Jeff shared that there have been times when staff members have cut off his interviews because of time constraints.

Jeff with SM Entertainment’s Red Velvet | @jeff_benjamin/Twitter

[They’re] just being overly (and unnecessarily) worried and cautious.

—Jeff Benjamin