Former AOA member Choa is on a new variety show called Playing Unnie along with Chae Rina*, Lee Jihye, Narsha (Brown Eyed Girls), and Ivy, where industry vets — that quite frankly been through a lot — talk candidly about their careers, including things like how they overcame hardships and what not.
*Thanks to this show I also found out about this terrifying stabbing incident.
During the press conference for the show, Choa opened up about the struggles she had in the industry, gives advice for others who are struggling, and her concerns about junior idols.
In this event, Choa was asked, “Can you give advice to K-pop juniors?” The singer then replied, “Actually, there are a lot of active idols who try to endure with medicine. In my special case, I also got burned out, so I took a long break.”
“I also met my senior unnies while wondering, ‘How do I maintain this?’ Chae Ri-na told me, “To become popular is not the important thing, to be able to endure and maintain your position is.’”
Meanwhile, Choa also expressed concerns about younger singers, saying, “There are a lot of idols who have mental problems while going back and forth from overseas and Korean activities, but I hope they don’t feel too burdened and stay mentally healthy and happy.”
During the debut episode of the show, Choa also opened up about withdrawing from AOA.
“I debuted late, so I had to succeed, but there was no limit to being successful. We won first place for the second time, but it was futile. I think I gave up on myself because it was difficult for the same person to keep showing a new look and I was always judged negatively. At that time, if I couldn’t change the system, I should go. I thought I needed some courage to be happy for myself, so I left.”
She also said it wasn’t about conflict with members, but basically that she was worn down.
“But I’ve never had a fight with the members,” Choa added, “We never fought. I don’t think we even complained in daily conversations.”
Not sure I recall her ever talking about the specific reason she withdrew before, so this is new information to me. Obviously it’s hard to blame anybody from needing time away from it all — or specifying that it wasn’t in-fighting given what they went through — but I especially found it interesting that she mentioned the achievements AOA were accomplishing didn’t mean much because she was so unhappy.
Also, the points about active idols relying on medication to basically survive the industry, as well as the unique stresses idols are put under at a young age, are things people kinda knew but it’s nice to have a successful veteran spell it out.