Former STELLAR member, Gayoung, opened up in a recent interview about the controversial sexy concepts that gave her group their 15 minutes of fame.
She recalled back to their debut days when they originally debuted with a cute concept. However, their albums failed to see much success, which ultimately left her company to crumble.
“When we first debuted, we were closer to a cute concept. There were things like aliens, but it was a cute concept that fit our age range well.
We were able to get a lot of attention at first because we were the group ‘produced by Shinhwa’s Eric’.
We released about three albums, but they weren’t good results. So the company was in a difficult situation. Eric eventually left, and there was a time when it was just the CEO and our manager. It was hard.
We didn’t even have the financial freedom to go sit at a cafe. We’d get so embarrassed when the van of another celebrity would pass us by. We used to hide our faces.”
After about 3 years of being “nobodies”, STELLAR finally got their name out. But they only became a hot issue due to their provocative concept in ‘Marionette’.
“After being nobodies for about 3~4 years, we were able to get our name out through the song, ‘Marionette’. Our concept was very sexual, so the music video became a hot topic.”
Gayoung confessed that their agency tricked them into portraying provocative scenes. Their production team edited the music video to reflect suggestive scenes without fully conveying their intentions to the members. The milk scene from ‘Marionette’ eventually scarred a member for life.
“There was one scene where a member had to drink milk. The script said, ‘Missing your past lover, Tossing and turning in bed, Wake up and drink milk.’ We simply thought that they wanted her to drink milk to portray a morning scene.
The member drank the milk for the scene, but they apparently told her, ‘Spill the milk while drinking.’ She thought that she was spilling it to show that the character had no strength, but we were shocked when we read the comments that said, ‘This scene can make you imagine a certain act’.
The member who filmed it was only 20 years old at the time, and she was so shocked that she can’t drink white milk to this day. She was hurt a lot. No one knew that was [the purpose of the scene].”
Following ‘Marionette’, they tried other concepts but ultimately met the same fate was their pre-Marionette era. With the public audience only looking at them during sexy concepts, the members faced a difficult time.
“We released more albums about ‘Marionette’, but people only remember us for the sexy concept. People say, ‘They only come out with these concepts.’ But we actually did a lot more promotions. It was just that they didn’t get to see the spotlight.
It was difficult because they would only respond to our sexy concepts.”
As the years went on, STELLAR’s agency continued to manipulate the situation to trick the members into doing more suggestive sexy concepts. They would pretend to agree with toning down the seductive outfits but release them without the members’ consent.
“During ‘Vibrato’, they all of a sudden told us that day to dance in the outfits. We told them, ‘We can’t dance in these.’ They responded, ‘Just try it. Why do you say no before even trying it.’ We shot about 5 photos with it, and we told them, ‘Look, it’s too much.’ They seemed to agree and told us to change, but those photos were released.
When we saw those photos, we called them to argue. They brushed it aside saying, ‘Oh, you didn’t know? Okay sorry, we won’t do it again.’ But the photos were already released so there was nothing we can do. I think they knew that the members were all too kind and soft.”
When the members tried to fight against the label’s wishes to be overly sexy, the agency threatened them with penalty fees.
“When we would tell them, ‘We don’t want to do this’, they would reply, ‘You’re going to want to think about the contract with this agency.’ At our young age, we were scared. We were scared that if we refused, we would have to pay a large sum of money and have a difficult time.”
Gayoung and the members weren’t the only ones hurt from their sexy concept. She began to tear up as she recalled how their families were also upset by their promotions and ashamed about what others thought about their daughters.
“Our parents were very upset too. If someone asked them what their daughters were doing, they would tell them that we were promoting as a group called STELLAR. But when you search the group, only sexual photos would come up. They often heard from others, ‘Why does your daughter do this?’ I felt sorry.”
The worst pain for Gayoung was that people mistook their sexy concept as their natural personalities. She confessed that she was far from their concept but people would automatically assume that she went to clubs, smoke, drank and partied frequently.
“Many people thought that [our sexy concept] was my natural personality. It was hard on me. I realized that even though I’m not like that, everyone thought I was that person because of our concept.”
At the end of it all, Gayoung says she would never join STELLAR if she had the opportunity to go back. She’s happier now, pursing a career in acting and running her small cafe.
“No, I wouldn’t do it again.
I’m happier now. Although it may not be fancy, I feel like I’m actually living my own life.”
To those who are aspiring to become a celebrity, Gayoung advises that you don’t pursue it unless it’s your ultimate dream in life. And even if you happen to fail, don’t give up on life but find the path that is right for you – just as she’s done!
“The celebrities that we see on TV right now are the best case scenarios that did well. We just don’t know it, but there are a lot more people who try and fail.
If you’re only interested by the fantasy and the glamor of being a celebrity, I want to suggest that you don’t try because there are a lot more burden than you’d think.
If this is your dream, I suggest you give it your all. Even if you happen to fail, don’t think that you’re a failure. Understand that there are other paths that I’m more suited for.”