Veteran K-Pop Idol Exposes The Harmful Mental Health Struggles That Foreign Idols Experience

Foreign idols have additional struggles to overcome.

As K-Pop has expanded its worldwide reach, many groups often have foreign members. There are now numerous idols who are Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, African, and more. However, it’s not an easy path.

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BLACKSWAN | @blackswan_drent/Twitter

After being active for seven years as a member of SM Entertainment‘s famous girl group f(x), Taiwanese American singer Amber Liu shed light on how damaging the industry can be to foreign idols’ mental health.

Amber Liu | @amberliu/Instagram

During the singer’s Zach Sang Show interview, she looked back on the days f(x) was active. She revealed how isolating and “overwhelming” it was not to speak Korean, “Being in a foreign country and not speaking the language fluently.

Adding to that feeling of isolation was a lack of emotional support. Like many foreign idols have mentioned, Amber pointed out how far away her family was. She said, “Being away from family, I didn’t really have a stable pillar to lean on.

Making matters much more difficult, Amber explained how discouraging it was to not be able to voice her thoughts in Korean to communicate with others. Instead, she had to bottle up her emotions.

And I was very accustomed to keeping things to myself. Because when everybody around you speaks that language, and you don’t, you’re just really like, ‘I don’t want to put the effort into trying to find the words.’ Cause you’re also so exhausted from working every day. So that wasn’t healthy.

— Amber Liu

As if being an idol doesn’t come with enough obstacles, foreign idols must face additional mental health struggles that go much deeper than just adjusting to a new country and learning the language.

See the singer reflect on how the K-Pop industry deeply affected her mental health.


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