How A Former K-Pop Idol Unexpectedly Became The Face Of VALORANT

Her experience as an idol has helped her achieve a new kind of success.

Countless K-Pop idols have opened up about how difficult their lives as public figures can be. Although people tend to romanticize the idea of being a celebrity, there’s no denying that idols give everything to pursue their passion.

Shannon Williams was one K-Pop idol who never achieved great success in the industry despite everything she’d sacrificed. Fortunately, she would later find success in a way that gave her the creative control she desired.

Shannon Williams

Shannon Williams broke into the K-Pop scene with her appearance on K-Pop Star 6: The Last Chance. She then made her debut in the girl group F-ve Dolls before leaving the group to make her solo debut in 2014. She even debuted as an actress in 2016 with the drama Moorim School: Saga of the Brave.

After departing from MBK Entertainment in 2019, Shannon went back to her home in England.

One thing for sure was I felt like I lost a lot of passion for singing. K-Pop is very cookie-cutter, [it] has to be very perfect. And the choice in what genre I wanted to sing, or what album I wanted to do, or how many songs… I had no creative control.

— Shannon Williams

When Shannon received a strange Instagram DM (direct message) asking her to attend a casting call for voice actors, the former idol didn’t know what to expect.

I just got a random Instagram DM saying, ‘Hey, saw you were back in London. We’re actually holding auditions here in [a studio] right in the center of London if you were interested. It’s for a game, pretty big game company.‘ Of course, [they] never disclosed who or what it was, and I was intrigued. Because you know I have a special place in my heart for games. Because by that time, I was infatuated with Overwatch. I remember I was so sweaty grinding that game with all my friends back in Korea. The agent was talking about how [the game I would be auditioning for] was an FPS (first-person shooter) game, it’s pretty competitive. And I was really intrigued, so I went in for the audition.

— Shannon Williams

| @shannonarrumwilliams/Instagram

It turned out that Shannon was auditioning to become a voice actor for the hit-game VALORANT.

VALORANT is a team-based first-person tactical hero shooter set in the near future.

— Wikipedia

Not only did VALORANT eventually take the world by storm with its release, but Shannon got cast as the voice actor for Jett, arguably the most recognizable character in the game, as she was one of the first Duelists introduced.

Representing her home country of South Korea, Jett’s agile and evasive fighting style lets her take risks no one else can. She runs circles around every skirmish, cutting enemies before they even know what hit them.

— VALORANT Wiki

Jett | VALORANT

When auditioning for the role, Shannon even noticed how eerily similar she was to Jett. And ironically enough, Jett’s character design was actually inspired by another K-Pop idol.

It was already weird, to be quite honest. It was already weird. I already had the white bleached hair, my bangs were already overgrown to the side, I had my hair up in a bun, really lazy. Just went into the audition, and I’m looking at this artwork, and it looks just like me. And it was really creepy to be quite honest.

— Shannon Williams

Shannon with her Jett figurine | @shannonarrumwilliams/Instagram

Her Jett figurine | @shannonarrumwilliams/Instagram

Beyond physical similarities, Riot Games ended up feeling that Shannon so perfectly encapsulated Jett that they even based some of Jett’s iconic attributes on Shannon’s portrayal.

There were bits and pieces that I felt like I could really connect to. This feeling of having this responsibility kind of on her shoulders, but kind of having to tough it out and put on this facade of like, ‘I’m fine. I’m great. I’m bad*ss.‘ I really, really vibed with that. And I feel like they kind of wanted her to be more timid, but due to my outlook on very sweaty FPS gaming, I kind of wanted to bring in this little bit of… Not a nasty streak, but a lot of cockiness. It was great that I was able to breathe life into this character with my own interpretations and in having that creative control.

— Shannon Williams

Shannon herself eventually started streaming VALORANT on Twitch, enjoying the game and even occasionally streaming with other VALORANT voice actors.

And while there are a lot of trolls and hate comments on Twitch, Shannon’s experience as a K-Pop idol in dealing with trolls coupled with her bravado as Jett allowed her to gain respect among viewers and other players.

| @shannonarrumwilliams/Instagram

Most importantly, Shannon finally felt like she was able to directly engage with fans in a way that she had complete control over.

I always wanted to stream and connect with my audience because, due to reasons, I wasn’t actually allowed to do a lot of that during my K-Pop career. It felt like I didn’t have the opportunity to give back to the community that was so supportive during that.

— Shannon Williams

You can find out more about what Shannon has been up to via her Instagram.

You can read more here.

Riot Games Senior Illustrator Revealed Former 2NE1 Member CL As Inspiration For VALORANT’s Character Jett

Source: theScore esports

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