With ages ranging from 20 to just 16 years old, it’s likely the STAYC members are far more focused on their recent debut on the K-Pop scene than they are on dating and relationships. Of course, feelings of love are hard for anyone to stifle—even when you’re a K-Pop trainee with rules against dating. In pre-debut clips from an episode from YouTube‘s documentary series, K-Pop Evolution, STAYC’s 16-year-old lead vocalist Yoon and a fellow trainee revealed what happened to trainees who got caught in relationships.
In one scene from K-Pop Evolution, STAYC’s co-CEO and producer Rado (one half of Black Eyed Pilseung) revealed that while he doesn’t think the members should date early in their career, he doesn’t think they should be banned from having relationships outright. However, it seems that during the members’ trainee days, the rules were somewhat stricter.
While taking a walk-through Seoul before their debut, STAYC’s Yoon and a fellow trainee (Kim Min Jung) who didn’t make it into the group discussed what would happen if they were caught dating. Kim Min Jung shared that she heard some agencies won’t even let male and female trainees look at each other.
Even when they say ‘hi’, they have to look at the ground. They can’t even eat together. Ah, that would be so suffocating.
— Kim Min Jung
“We’re not allowed to be in relationships because the public thinks it’s indecent,” the former High Up Entertainment trainee mused. Still, she noted that trainees from other agencies do secretly date without their company’s knowledge. But what would have happened to the future STAYC members if they were caught in a relationship?
“We get a penalty point,” Yoon explained, referring to High Up Entertainment’s disciplinary system for trainees. Kim Min Jung elaborated, revealing that if a trainee received a penalty point, the company would call their parents. “And we get suspended,” Yoon added.
Noting that the penalty points for dating could be “double or triple” the usual rate, Kim Min Jung shared that trainees could even be sent home—having their training contract terminated—over penalty points.