If you’ve ever dreamed of being an idol manager, you’re not alone. Numerous K-Pop fans have fantasized about working alongside their idols and developing friendships with them, but are idols and their managers really that close? Two veteran K-Pop agency managers revealed all.
These days, Yoon Seon Mi and Yoon Ho Joon are business directors at FirstOne Entertainment, the 2019-founded agency behind soloists like Kisum and Philippines-based group 1st.One. Before that, however, they worked at JYP Entertainment for several years, taking charge of artists like Wonder Girls, 2PM, and Miss A. In a new “Comment Defenders” video with AYO on YouTube, the two directors discussed the reality of relationships between idols and their staff.
Ultimately, Yoon Ho Joon says the chance of an idol becoming best friends with their manager is slim. In his case, the K-Pop industry veteran shared, his relationship with idols could be described as, “Close but not too close.” But why is it so unlikely for them to be friends despite all the time they spend together?
The answer may lie in why managers take the job in the first place. While many fans fantasize about managing their favorite idols, Yoon Ho Joon and Yoon Seon Mi say these fans are unlikely to succeed in the role. “I worked as a worker of the company to take care of the artist so they can keep going on schedule,” revealed Yoon Ho Joon. If someone takes the job because they want to get close to a celebrity, problems can arise.
“Artists are human too,” the director explained. As such, Yoon Ho Joon says that if managers see idols as big celebrities, the idols may become uncomfortable with the relationship. This is especially true when idols are resting, as privacy and security are a must. In those cases, Yoon Ho Joon says idols may even ask their agencies to fire the manager and replace them. That said, the director revealed that fans who take manager jobs to befriend idols will barely last a month in the job, if not mere weeks.
I think you’ll adjust faster when you start the job without this kind of fantasy.
— Yoon Seon Mi
That said, this doesn’t mean idols and managers can’t strike up any kind of friendship over time. IU, for example, is known to have playful banter with one of her managers, even setting up a meeting with Red Velvet for him after finding out he’s a huge ReVeluv.
Yoon Seon Mi revealed that while idols usually don’t have the time to sing at every agency staff member’s wedding, Wonder Girls, 2PM, Miss A, and Baek A Yeon all cleared their schedules to attend hers.
I didn’t expect all of them to come to my wedding. I was so touched.
— Yoon Seon Mi
Likewise, Yoon Ho Joon recalled a time when one staff member’s family member passed away, leading one idol to drive their car all the way to the countryside just to offer their condolences.
The worker was so touched by it and thought, ‘What I did was worthy’.”
— Yoon Ho Joon