While many idols don’t debut until their late teen years at the earliest, many aspiring stars start preparing for their future career far earlier. In a recent interview with The Korea Herald, an eight-year-old trainee hopeful named Woo Seo Yul revealed what daily life looks like for her.
Particularly young trainees have never been unheard of. TWICE‘s Jihyo and BIGBANG‘s G-Dragon, for example, both began training at around eight years old. However, these days, aspiring idols are beginning their journeys younger than ever. Lee Jae Won, the owner of a dance academy for idol wannabes, revealed to The Korea Herald that he has students as young as four years old.
One surprisingly young student is Woo Seo Yul, an eight-year-old girl from the Seoul district of Geumcheon. While others her age spend their time playing with friends, Seo Yul is already training in preparation to audition for a K-Pop company one day. So, what does a typical day look like for her?
Woo Seo Yul wakes up at 7:30 a.m. for school each day. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., she spends four hours attending her elementary school classes. Then, it’s time for training.
Seo Yul’s mother revealed that she has to drive more than an hour to get her daughter to her dance academy in Gangnam. There, she hones her skills through the afternoon twice every week—an undoubtedly heavy weight for someone so young.
Woo Seo Yul’s mother confessed that it’s “heartbreaking” watching her daughter strive so hard to become an idol because “everybody wants to be one.” She went on to explain that apart from going to school, all Seo Yul does is learn how to sing and dance—and tuition doesn’t come cheap. That said, Seo Yul’s mother is confident that even if she can’t become an idol, she’ll still be able to put her skills to use as a dancer or dance teacher one day.
I’m aware that the road to a debut is not easy, which is why I’m constantly supporting my daughter.
— Woo Seo Yul
As crazy as it may sound that an eight-year-old is spending so much time training before she even becomes an official trainee, she’s not the only one. Lee Jae Won’s academy runs classes for grades one to three, three to six, and middle schoolers. And, unfortunately, Lee says it’s a necessity to start young. As K-Pop agencies set younger age limits for auditions, Lee says idol wannabes have no chance of passing without learning the basics ahead of time.
Thankfully, for some students, it does pay off. Lee Jae Won revealed that one of his young students was accepted into Big Hit Music as one of their youngest trainees two years ago. With all the work Woo Seo Yul and her fellow students are putting in, one can only hope they’ll see the same success.