From Idol Aspirant To Idol Creator : The Dramatic Success Story Of The Real Winner Of Mnet’s “Idol School”

She was kicked off the show through voting manipulation.

Lee Hae In, the Idol School contestant who was revealed to have been unfairly eliminated from the show that created the lineup of fromis_9, recently gained much attention for her unexpected career change.

Lee Hae In | Mnet

In 2021, when various Mnet survival shows came under legal probe for vote manipulation scandals, the chief producer of Idol School was sentenced to one year in prison for tampering with the votes to debut a pre-decided lineup. Lee Hae In, 23 years old when the show aired, became very popular in the first two weeks and maintained her position in the top two. But from episode 5 onward, her ranking kept dropping, and eventually, she was eliminated in the finale. According to the investigation, the chief producer removed Lee Hae In from the show despite her no.1 ranking because “she did not fit in with the overall vibe of the debut group.”

| Mnet

The incident happened in 2017, and the producer received punishment in 2021. Though some level of justice was served, Lee’s dream of becoming an idol had to suffer further. She and her father later revealed that CJ ENM convinced her to sign a contract with them, promising to debut her with another group called Idol School Class 1 later that year, but it turned out to be a lie. The contract only kept her tied to the company, and she could not take further steps to recover her career.

However, in 2020, she signed with a new agency, The Groove Company (now Big Ocean ENM), and made her solo debut in November with the single “Santa Lullaby.” Though Lee showed her skills as a vocalist and a songwriter with this song, sadly, it didn’t dramatically improve her music career. In December 2020, she confessed during an interview that she had “zero money.” Hae In added that she was working multiple part-time jobs to sustain herself, including at a cafe, on a set, and as a fitting model.

But it seems like Lee Hae In has admirably turned her fortune around with her new career. Though she is no longer pursuing her idol dreams, Lee’s job is still closely related to the industry, and she has seen incredible success.

| @s2onlyone1/Instagram

After being robbed of her debut, Lee Hae In started working at a regular office job at S2 Entertainment, a company created by former Cube Entertainment founder Hong Seung Sung. Later, she became a creative director and created the now-popular group KISS OF LIFE.

KISS OF LIFE | @kissoflife_s2/Instagram
Lee Hae In (center) with KISS OF LIFE | @s2onlyone1/Instagram

Her work with the group has received explosive reactions from audiences, quickly proving the extent of her artistic talent. Lee Hae In also takes extreme pride in the group, which is evident through her loving posts on social media. Notably, she also worked on the production of ADORA‘s album Trouble? Travel.

Hae In also runs a budding YouTube channel where she posts lifestyle, fashion, beauty, K-Pop, and career-counseling content.

However, just because her main job has taken a new turn doesn’t mean she has given up her love for music. In 2022, she sang an original soundtrack, “Lean On Me,” for the K-Drama Mental Coach Jegil.

Despite the hardships in her life, Lee Hae In has managed to turn herself into a success story you often see in movies!