Training to become an idol is no easy feat, and many aspiring stars struggle to make it through. In a new interview, former X1 member DRIPPIN‘s Junho shared his experiences with crying often as a trainee.
Junho did remarkably well on Mnet‘s Produce X 101, reaching over 750,000 votes in the finale to become the 9th member of X1. However, before that point, Junho admits, “I didn’t really believe in myself, to be honest.”
I used to struggle a lot when I was a trainee.
Opening up about his struggles as a trainee, Junho explained that he didn’t have many friends when he first joined Woollim Entertainment at the age of around 16. Junho grew up in a tiny town called Gwangcheon, where his middle school had just 50 students total, and he didn’t move to Seoul until he became a trainee.
When I got here, I didn’t have anyone.
Unsurprisingly, young Junho missed his family terribly as a trainee. In fact, being away from them was so hard, Junho revealed, “I cried every day for about a month or two.” Even when he returned home for the first time, he found himself crying for almost an hour upon seeing his family.
Seeing how upset he was, Junho recalls his family feeling bad for him. His noona even cried along with him, he said, and asked who was giving him a hard time. But, the truth was that no one was giving Junho a hard time but himself.
‘It’s not the company’, I told [my older sister]. ‘I’m the problem.’
For the first year of training, Junho felt unsure of himself and confused about how to progress. Then, after a year and three months, he made it onto Produce X 101 as a contestant. However, even that didn’t fill him with confidence. “What if I’m not cut out to be an idol?”, he found himself thinking.
Even when I went on [Produce X 101], I felt confused at first. It was my first time getting so much attention and my first time having to compete.
But Junho revealed that while he initially thought like that, the more he got into the competition, the more he started to admire the other competitors and learn more about dancing, singing, and even how to treat people. Some of the contestants were already established idols, so Junho felt his skills were “really poor, even for a trainee“.
However, he took it in his stride and came out fighting the other end. These days, he looks back on those pre-debut times fondly.
I was just a kid who didn’t know anything… So it was a new world for me. I was able to learn so much. It felt like a field trip… Much of the experience has become a cherished memory.