Dispatch Reveals Exclusive Interview With Lee Seung Gi’s Former Manager, Exposing HOOK’s CEO Kwon Jin Young’s Antics

The manager shared everything he remembers from Lee Seung Gi’s early years.

Dispatch has revealed an exclusive interview with one of Lee Seung Gi‘s former managers, who exposed Kwon Jin Young’s craziness when controlling Lee Seung Gi.

Dispatch was able to get an interview with “A,” a former manager at HOOK Entertainment. “A” was mainly in charge of Lee Seung Gi but did work with other celebrities during his time at HOOK Entertainment. Currently, “A” does not have a job in the managing field. In the interview, “A” recalled his memories of working with HOOK, stating, “nothing has changed, even after 20 years.”

One thing Lee Seung Gi was always wary of was drinking coffee, as according to Kwon Jin Young, coffee was a luxury that shouldn’t be had often. Kwon Jin Young would also call Lee Seung Gi to a karaoke room in Cheongdam-dong. She would call Lee Seung Gi and other artists from HOOK Entertainment and make them sing and entertain her friends.

The Karaoke Room

Kwon Jin Young had drinks with her friends at night. She would call Lee Seung Gi in the middle of the night and make him go to the karaoke to sing. If you go down one of the back streets of Cheongdam-dong, you’ll find the karaoke room. Kwon Jin Young used to go there often.

It must have been with her friends or broadcast officials, no? At that time, Lee Seung Gi’s house was in Sanggye-dong. Sanggye-dong is far from Gangnam. I picked him up the following day, and he was tired, so I asked him if he had slept or not the night before.

He told me that he briefly went outside late at night yesterday. After asking where he went, he told me he went out because the CEO called him, so I just thought that was that. Later, I heard from one of our stylists that they were drinking and enjoying themselves, and they called Lee Seung Gi over to sing for them.

— Former manager “A.”

Kimbap Heaven

Kimbap Heaven is a fast food chain restaurant specializing in cheap, filling Korean meals. Meals here include rolls of kimbap, rice bowls, spicy rice cakes, and fried pork cutlets. Kimbap prices range from ₩3,000 KRW (about $2.30 USD) for plain kimbap to ₩5,500 KRW (about $4.21 USD) for shrimp tempura or sausage kimbap. All meals, including rice bowls and fried pork cutlet meals, do not exceed ₩10,000 KRW (about $7.66 USD).

Lee Seung Gi and his team’s meal budget of ₩150,000 KRW (about $115 USD) per week.

I read an article a few days ago that said they had to get permission to charge ₩20,000 KRW (about $15.30 USD) to the company card, which was absurd. If she’s still like this after 20 years…

I had to share the receipt back then, but Kwon Jin Young didn’t like that. She kept asking why Lee Seung Gi and his team ate so much. It was usually like that. We typically get paid on Mondays. They would give me ₩150,000 KRW (about $115 USD) for the whole team.

For the whole team — Lee Seung Gi, myself, and his stylist. During Nonstop 5 (a 2004 Korean sitcom Lee Seung Gi was in), there was a script reading on Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday were outdoor filming sessions, and Thursday was indoor filming sessions. But for almost all of those days, Lee Seung Gi ate at a Korean snack bar. A place like Kimbap Heaven.

Even if you ate there [every meal], you could afford it. We were filming from early in the morning for three days. Even then, Lee Seung Gi kept asking how much money was left [in the meal budget]. Sometimes, I would ask, ‘Should we go eat something delicious?’ and Lee Seung Gi would give me his card instead, telling me to pay with that.

— Former manager “A.”


Lee Seung Gi’s performance fees of ₩9.00 million KRW (about $6,890 USD) to ₩10.0 million KRW (about $7,660 USD).

Things were awful for Lee Seung Gi.  There was a time when I applied to be on actress Go Hyun Jung’s team. Her team was allowed to eat Chinese food at a Chinese restaurant. They would order six to seven dishes to share, and each person on their team was allowed to request a personal dish too.

Of course, at that time, there was a difference [in popularity] between Lee Seung Gi and Go Hyun Jung, but I thought they would also have to eat in a certain way without complaining, and they were told what to do without any complaints. Lee Seung Gi was always eating snack food. He would eat kimbap. When he left early in the morning for a schedule, he even had to ask me if he was allowed to eat a triangle kimbap. (triangle kimbap are sold at convenience stores and cost between ₩1,000 KRW (about $0.77 USD) and ₩1,500 KRW (about $1.15 USD).

At the time, he was a rookie, but he would still be paid ₩7.00 million KRW (about $5,360 USD) to ₩8.00 million KRW (about $6,130 USD) for performing three songs at an event. If the event were in the countryside, the price would increase from ₩9.00 million KRW (about $6,890 USD) to ₩10.0 million KRW (about $7,660 USD). He would do two to three of these events per day and eat at rest stops on the highway or in the car. He was always walking on eggshells. Or he would give me his card to use for food.

If there wasn’t enough money left in the meal budget, Kwon Jin Young would give a little more, but that was the case back when he first started… Once he started making millions of won from his events, he was still eating like this…

He spent most of the budget on coffee and things similar to that. Kwon Jin Young would ask, ‘Why are you having Starbucks, really Starbucks?’ and wouldn’t process the receipt. So Lee Seung Gi always gave me his card for coffee purchases.

— Former manager “A.”

Verbal Abuse and Profanity

After hearing Kwon Jin Young’s yelling in the recording, it was just like how it was 20 years ago. Back then, they would curse at each other, but now, even though the company’s size is different, I felt like this person hasn’t changed at all. And they would always try to bring Lee Seung Gi down. If he said something back, they would say, ‘Seung Gi, that’s why you aren’t going to make it.’ The phrase Kwon Jin Young said the most was, ‘Are you crazy?’

— Former manager “A.”


“So all his calls and messages had to be done with my phone, or there was no way to contact him.”

CEO Kwon trained Lee Seung Gi hard from a young age. Lee Seung Gi himself was also greedy, so he would always say, ‘I have to do this; I have to succeed like this,’ and I think he just went on living this way.

And Seung Gi didn’t have a cell phone until he finished filming for Nonstop 5. So all his calls and messages had to be done with my phone, or there was no way to contact him. But he was still mature.

Like other celebrities, he wouldn’t cause trouble or rebel after having drinks. If you dropped him off, he would go home, practice, and read his scripts. He didn’t even go outside. He didn’t have a cell phone anyway.

Whenever CEO Kwon was mentioned, he always seemed a bit… withdrawn? But he probably is still like that now. He always got nervous when I got a call from Kwon. He would go somewhere else to answer the phone.

When he returned, he would always have a bad expression on his face but would pretend to be bright. And when he did something, like a performance, he would always ask me, ‘did I do ok today?’. Kwon Jin Young would call me immediately if she didn’t like something and made a fuss to give the phone to Lee Seung Gi.

Back then, because he was a rookie, I thought something could happen… but I never saw him rebel.

— Former manager “A.”

Seung Gi’s Money, Kwon Jin Young Spends It

Kwon Jin Young’s old Jeep Cherokee.

How Kwon CEO treats Lee Seung Gi and the managers the same way as 20 years ago is so creepy. The manager sent the cost of the meal one at a time via text message. Do you think Seung Gi would spend ₩20,000 KRW (about $15.30 USD) on the company card because he didn’t have money? He would have just said, ‘forget it,’ and used his card. But they still do it in this way as much as they can. And it’s not like he didn’t make money for the company, either.

I think Kwon’s car was a Jeep Cherokee at that time. But after promotions, Kwon switched to a Cadillac Escalade. Kwon changed to a Cadillac when Seung Gi was filming for Nonstop 5. Then later, Kwon switched to a Porsche.

It’s so creepy that everything is the same as 20 years ago.

— Former manager “A.”

Source: Dispatch

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