Hong Kong-based Filipina author Purple Chrystyl S. Romero is taking fanfiction to the next level with her newly published lesbian novel, which she reveals was “based on” Red Velvet‘s Irene and Seulgi.
Dito, Sa Purple House (which translates to Here, at the Purple House in English) centers on two female characters. Korean Ira Young is an English language student in the Philippines who was disowned by her family after being outed in a viral video. Sade Kanlungan, meanwhile, is a Filipina college student who left home after watching her mother suffer at the hands of her father’s misogyny. Together, characters Ira and Safe build the Purple House, which opens its doors to people shunned by their families for a variety of reasons. However, they soon start to develop feelings for each other—and Ira isn’t sure she wants to risk the Purple House for love.
In a new interview with GMA News Online, author Purple Chrystyl S. Romero revealed what inspired her novel, which was released in July this year. While the theme of the story was based on the current division in families across the Philippines, the characters themselves were “based on” two people you may know: Red Velvet’s Irene and Seulgi.
Romero explained that she chose to make character Ira Young a Korean woman because despite how South Korea is known for “their excellence in entertainment,” Romero also sees how strongly Korean women fight for what’s right in the political sphere. Ira Young, says the author, was inspired by Irene—as was the book’s title.
Irene likes purple. When I was visualizing how the Korean would look like, it’s Irene’s face.
— Purple Chrystyl S. Romero
Sade Kanlungan, on the other hand, is based on Seulgi’s traits.
Sade’s gentle but very firm when needed. She’s based on Seulgi. She looks gentle but when she’s in the performance or when she’s dancing, she’s strong. I get shocked.
— Purple Chrystyl S. Romero
While there are numerous fanfictions on the internet about Irene and Seulgi—who are often shipped under the pairing name “SeulRene”—this may be the first time an author has openly published a book based on them.
Interestingly, Irene and Seulgi are currently two of the most loved idols among Korean lesbians and queer women. According to a survey held earlier this year, Irene was the no.1 favorite idol of LGBTQ+ Korean women, while Seulgi ranked no.3 (behind WJSN‘s SeolA). The two rose to particular prominence after the release of their subunit song, “Monster,” last year, which may have been inspired by several examples of sapphic media.
The paperback edition of Dito, Sa Purple House is currently available from publisher Ukiyoto for $8.00 USD, while the eBook can be purchased on Google Play for $2.99 USD.