If you’re like most fans, you’ve probably felt a hint of jealousy at least once when seeing your idol receive outfits, cosmetics, and everything in between for free. But how do they get them? In a new video on her YouTube channel, soobeanie_, former Blady member Tina (now known as Christine Park or Soobin) revealed all the ways idols receive free goodies.
1. Unsolicited gifts
First off, Christine Park revealed that unsolicited gifts are some of the most common freebies idols receive. In this instance, brands send items to agencies without being asked in the hopes that idols will promote them. This could include featuring the products in a music video, wearing or using them in official content, or posting them on social media.
Christine went on to say that since idols don’t get paid to promote these unsolicited gifts, the brands that send them can’t and don’t ask them directly to take photos using the products. Instead, they offer them on the off-chance that they may end up in an idol snap one day.
2. Music shows
Another more surprising way idols get free stuff is on music shows. In this scenario, Christine Park says that some brands are lucky enough to have a way to get into music shows recordings—often because they know a manager or staff member working there.
These brand owners use their connections to get inside music show recordings, bringing their products along with them—from skincare to fashion. Then, they approach the manager of each group and ask them if it’s okay to give the idols a gift.
If the managers agree, Christine says the brand owners go into each group’s waiting room to give them the freebies. While this is more time-intensive than sending unsolicited gifts, the former idol explained that stars are more likely to wear the items when they’ve seen how hard the brand owner works.
3. Brand sponsorships
One of the most well-known freebie methods among most K-Pop fans is brand sponsorship. When brands send clothing to idols in exchange for paid promotions (for example, sponsored Instagram posts), Christine Park says the idols get to keep those clothes afterwards if they want to.
The former idol revealed that brands also sometimes have direct sponsorships with music shows as well as agencies, giving idols more opportunities for free outfits.
4. Fan gifts
Last but not least, idols also get a lot of free products from their fans—particularly popular idols. The Chinese fanbase of former IZ*ONE‘s Jang Wonyoung, for example, raised ₩350 million KRW (about $306,000 USD) this year for birthday gifts and advertisements. Last year, BTS V‘s Chinese fanbase raised a staggering ₩1.10 billion KRW (about $963,000 USD) for his birthday projects, surpassing $100,000 USD in less than one minute.
Christine Park says fans often ask their idols about their favorite brands at fan signs to ensure they buy outfits their biases will actually wear. However, Christine revealed that some idols are hesitant to wear clothes they like from fans because they don’t want to upset other fanbases whose clothes they don’t wear.