Part of the path to being a K-Pop idol involves more than just passing an entertainment company’s audition. After being accepted, idols must continue to hone their skills for an undetermined amount of time before debuting.
Some idols have captured attention for their short training periods.
Others like TWICE‘s Jihyo have become known for their extended training time.
However, these idols ultimately reached their debut goal while many did not, like the famous trainee who trained for eleven years.
Many first became aware of Lee Soo Min during her time on Produce 101. The then trainee competed representing Fantagio and ultimately did not make it into I.O.I, placing 31st overall.
In April 2016, it was reported that she left Fantagio, with many believing she would be retiring from trainee life in general. However, the following year, she competed in K-pop Star 6: The Last Chance.
She had a good run on this show, making it to the semi-finals with her team before elimination. At this time, she joined LOEN Entertainment under its subsidiary FAVE Entertainment and was part of the pre-debut LOEN Girls (now debuted as Weeekly).
While at this company, she participated in MIXNINE, making it to the final episode, where the boy’s group won over the girl’s group.
In 2018, Soo Min departed from FAVE Entertainment and, in 2020, was announced to be part of the MYSTIC Rookies (now Billlie) team, though she would leave that company just a few months later.
After an online hiatus, Soo Min shared a post on her Instagram account announcing she was no longer training and would instead be pursuing her education.
“Hi guys! I’m sorry I haven’t been able to post anything in so long. There has been a lot of things happening to me. After leaving my label unintentionally, I was having a hard time. I couldn’t do anything. For 11 years, I have trained as an idol and have spent all my time and passion on my dances and songs and it felt like it suddenly went down the drain.
There were certain people who wanted to give me a chance to start again. But I didn’t want to give up on my education and waiting endlessly for a debut made me realize I was living through the same thing over and over again. So I got ready for university, and got in. It was surprising and a thankful opportunity for me, when I had no courage and expectations on myself.
Sometimes, the past would pain me and make me realize I’m still on the same steps. However, I feel peaceful and alright now. Because now I realized I could do so much more in my life.
Now I want to study and learn more and do my job. I’m sorry that I couldn’t return the love of those who cheered and encouraged me. But I am excited to show you the more confident and strong version of me.”
— Lee Soo Min
Since then, her updates have been sporadic, but most recently showed she can still do what she loves! According to her last post, she will be in her university’s upcoming musical production, Mary Shelley, where she will play the step-sister of the famous writer.
We are glad to see Soo Min is doing well!