Sunday, March 25, 2012

K-Pop Managers, Stylists and all that jazz!


I've been out of the blogging world for quite some time since there's just too much on my plate. Whew! Anyway, from now on, I think I'll be sharing more stories about my experiences as an entertainment reporter here in Korea and as a friend of some celebrities (ehem kkk). Even if I wasn't so active I received many e-mails from many readers and one question that's been asked many times, is about the idol managers and stylists.

I'm not sure if they're serious but some K-Pop fans expressed their interests in working as managers or stylists, so let me try to explain. 

Who are they?
Managers and stylists in other words could be like "personal assistants" of the celebrities. Usually managers are males. Being able to drive a van is basic and you have to be physically strong to "protect" the celebs who are under you. They usually have the same fashion, I'd say comfortable fashion, and they usually carry car keys and recording gadgets like iPad, smartphones, small camera etc. for them to record the performances of the idols. Idols especially the new ones are very eager to see how they'd do on stage. 
Stylists on the other hand are usually females. Basic requirement is knowhow on make-up and a 'sense' of fashion. You don't have to be a make-up expert, at least you know how to retouch (I'm guessing the right word haha) because make-up is usually done hours before an event in a superduper expensive hair and beauty shops, usually in Cheongdam area. I don't know but if you're a star in Korea, you should have your make-up and hair done in Cheongdam area or else you'd look cheap or whatever. (FYI, Cheongdam is a high-end place in Seoul where you could find a lot of entertainment companies. I'll probably write another entry for this). So going back, stylists are also in-charge with the outfits. Aside from make-up kits, they usually carry a lot of clothes with them. Depending on the celebrity, some stylists are given the freedom to just impose on which outfits to wear while some discuss it with the stars or even the company. 

Based on my observation, they are quite young, almost the same age with the idols or a bit older and they also have the same fashion, make-up style and even hairstyle. So it's very easy to know which ones which. Many fans envy them because stylists (depending on the celeb) can literally see (and touch) almost everything.  Because aside from make-up retouch, they help the idols change clothes, wipe sweat etc. I said depending on the celebrity. I personally know many of them and personally witness a lot backstage. Of course they are expected to be professional. As far as I know, many of them were fans before too. If you decide to become a stylist, you are at least expected to stop fandoming and concentrate on your work. 

How do they get the job and what are the benefits.
Just like any other jobs out there, there are also many ways to get this job. Of course one way is to submit your application directly to the entertainment companies but as far as I know, most of them got their jobs through connections. By connections I mean they were referred by fellow managers and stylists. They usually know each other. The pay is not that good (as far as I know) but once your celebrity gets famous, you'll get a chance to travel with them to different places, all for free. Of course they get to meet many celebrities but since it's given in this line of work, I'd never really consider that as a benefit. Just imagine the ones working for the idols who are having world concerts these days. 


So what do you think of them?
I think, they play a very important role in the success of these celebrities. They have to deal with the fans, schedule, reporters etc. and they need to have a flexible time. Of course it depends on how busy the star is. Working as an entertainment reporter, I've experience some frustrating things in dealing with these managers. Managers know if their stars are famous or not. So usually, managers of rookie groups are really kind. But there are also some who are not. Especially those who think that the idols they're handling are already popular. If you're from a "lowly" media agency, chances are they're not gonna mind you. You give them your business card but they're not gonna give back theirs. They'd tell you they left it in the car or they ran out of cards etc. But they'd do other way if you're representing a big and influential media agency. I guess no need to explain further.  Of course there are very kind managers too.
For me, I think managers have to be smart enough to understand what's going on in the business. Most of them are not aware of how foreigners get all the information about their stars. And many of them still don't know the potential of fans abroad in making their stars famous and more "powerful" so this is actually what I'm trying to change here. 

Prince managers and princess stylists
You've probably seen non celebs with your favorite idols who are equally good looking as them. One famous example is the prince manager of Super Junior. Actually there are many! To name a few that you could probably stalk (hahaha) are 4Minute, MBLAQ, B2ST, TeenTop, CHAOS, N:SONIC, Block B, IU, Lee Seunggi, Yoo Ah In's and more. And I personally think MBLAQ has one really pretty stylist ^^;; One would wonder why, well they could also be aspiring celebs but decided or for the meantime wants to get exposure in the showbiz world through this kind of job. 

If you have more questions please leave a comment below.


Photos: Managers of B2ST, IU, Super Junior, Teen Top, MBLAQ, 4Minute


35 comments:

  1. this a good read. i always wonder about kpop idols managers and stylist. thanks for sharing. so jealous of your work tbh. i'm majoring in broadcasting and it's always my dream to work in korea entertainment. i guess not all people is lucky ^^

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  2. i've meet 4minute's manager, n:sonic's manager, beast's. yes they are handsome! >< i can't get my eyes off from 4minute's manager :P

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    1. oops~ typo. i mean met

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  3. oh i forget ukiss' managers~
    they really can take care of their artist well. i think ukiss already has their own bodyguard :P

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  4. wow ^^ like this! I've always wanted to know.

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  5. I know there is a section on 'how to get the job,' but I need more info. How do you apply? When I look on kpop entertainment website I only see applications for auditions. Also, how do you get to know these people in the first place? If I get a job through connections how do I get that connection? P.S. I am one of the serious fans aspiring to become a kpop stylist

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  6. daniJ: thank you for reading this entry. I am not sure if they'd announce manager or stylist positions on their websites. There are many cases where stylists are from a separate companies that provide stylists to many entertainment companies too. Many of them study in make-up hagwons and that's where they get connections and also know other stylists. So far I've only seen one foreigner stylist, a Japanese, and her Korean's really good.

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  7. wow thanks for the info! I'm so loving your blog

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  12. I have been wanting to become a kpop idols stylist! after reding your blog i think i have some confident in this job but... to become a stylist do u need any experience in fashion design to get in? or is there any particular school that u can take a course and become a stylist in korea? :o

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  13. Im 15 and studying in America. If I moved to Korea to become a Kpop stylist how could I get connections and should I try turning in an application as well?

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  14. A very inspiring piece of sharing about stylist and managers in Korea. I am recently doing a project on researching about the korean fashion in hong kong which i want to know more about how the kpop stylists style their artist and what brands they like to use. Do you have any recommendations of what brands stylists use oftenly on styling artists? Foreign or korean brands are all fine. Thanks~ xx

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  15. I'm less interest in a stylist position and more in a costume/concept design kind of position for performance and possibly MV's, is there any info/advice anyone has for me? I'm doing a Costume with Textiles degree at the moment but I'd really like to take part in the global K-POP movement in more of a creative, professional way.

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  17. Hello, I want to be an intern in Korea and knowing that to be able to be on korean entertainment you need a connection. Ca you help me? Email me: mejay.tbh@gmail.com

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  18. I have a question about the Kpop managers :O If I want to be a manager for kpop groups; would I have to be Korean? I am willing to learn Korean; but I heard that you have to be of Korean background to become a manager :< (I am Chinese) and would you know of any degrees that we should pursue to become one? :o

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  19. is the stylist living with the artist? or not?

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  20. Hi I would like to ask whether do all this entertainment group have job vacancy on management side besides artist manager and make up artist.

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  21. Great goods from you, man. I've understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely wonderful. I actually like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep it sensible. I cant wait to read far more from you. This is actually a great website.

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  22. Thank you so much for this info, but there are still things I'm curious about. Do any kpop idols ever have more than one stylist?

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  23. this blog is awesome!I also want to be an manager~~but how to apply the job~and what course should I take in the university if i want to be a manager of the kpop group??

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  24. Im a male hairstylist and makeup artist in America, and I'm studying at University majoring in Korean and Japanese language. Do male foreigners stand a chance of getting stylist jobs in the kpop industry?

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  25. I am only in junior high but my dream is to be my best friend's manager in korea because her dream is to be a korean actress. I would really like to be her manager if anyway possible because we were together since pre-school. If there is anymore info then please post it for me everyone. Thank you! :)

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  27. Hi, I had a few questions. I'm a girl fluent in Korean. Make up is the one of the only talents I have. I'm not superior with fashion but I can go to a college if required. Is knowing good fashion a must? That's not really too much my thing. By the time I was looking for a stylist job in Korea, I would have a degree in makeup/aesthetics, and perhaps in hair. Do I need both hair and make up degree to get into a company? I'm going to have a make up degree regardless of my getting in a company or not because I will work in a salon even if I stay in Canada. Would it be better for me to work in a salon in Korea or apply to Entertainment Companies in Korea? How do you actually apply? I would go for smaller companies, to start with anyway. My only connection is a make up artist here in Canada, he's been abroad and has run a few fashion runways. I've never searched his name on the Internet but he's not unknown. Would he be capable of recommending me to them or anything like that? He doesn't speak Korean.

    Do I HAVE to be fluent in Korean to be there? I'm not saying I'm not fluent, but I'm not a native speaker. Would this downgrade my chance of getting in? Also, I'm white. Would that heavily effect my chances? I'm searching for answers really badly right now. All answers are appreciated. Thank you so much! Great post btw.

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  28. i have some question i hope you can reply me(: thank you. does the stylist have to be older then the artist? and will they choose which entertainment they want you to style for their idols or you can choose yourself? (: i really need a reply to this.and i reply apprecatie for your reply(:

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  30. How about translators? Do entertainment companies have their own translators or do they get them from somewhere when they go overseas?

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