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Red Velvet’s Seulgi Spills On How Being A Trainee For A Long Time Isn’t A Guarantee For Debut

Her trainee days were full of uncertainty.

In her episode on Yong Jin’s Health CenterRed Velvet‘s Seulgi played the balance game, and the first question she was asked was whether she would return to her trainee days or become 40 years old.


Seulgi chose to return to her trainee days as long as her memories remained intact. That way, she could have more wisdom to persevere through her training period.

One of the hosts, comedian Lee Yong Jin, agreed with her choice, thinking that thanks to her memories, she would be able to endure her trainee days knowing that she would successfully debut.

However, the other host, La Chica‘s Gabee, was quick to refute his conjecture. Just because Seulgi had her memories didn’t mean she would be guaranteed to debut again. This shocked Yong Jin, who had the preconception that as long as someone was a trainee long enough, they would debut.

 I thought if you just train there for a long time then you will surely debut one day.

— Yong Jin

If you don’t know much about the idol trainee system, it’s natural to think that if someone has been a trainee for a long time, the company values their talent and hard work. Even if they don’t debut right away, there must be a reason why they’re keeping the person around. However, sadly, that isn’t the case at all. While outstanding talent does play a role in who debuts, oftentimes, the longer you’re a trainee, the more uncertain your future is. Everyone around you either debuted, moved to another company, or quit trying to be an idol altogether. In the cutthroat environment, where even talent can’t guarantee a way out, it’s no surprise that the worst days for any idols are their trainee days.

Seulgi: I had been a trainee for 5~6 years and only Irene was left with me.

Yong Jin: Everyone else left?

Seulgi: Yes.

It’s undeniable that Seulgi and Irene are insanely talented, not to mention their gorgeous visuals. However, even they had a point in time where after years of training to be an idol, they couldn’t see a chance of debuting.

We weren’t able to see the future so we went up the roof and contemplated what to do about our future.

— Seullgi

This isn’t the first time Seulgi’s opened up about how dark her trainee days were. So it’s surprising that she would choose to return, and it makes sense why she would only do so if her memories of the future were still with her. Those memories would serve as her strength and wisdom as she navigates through the rejection and uncertainty all over again.

Thankfully, it’s only a hypothetical situation, but it shows that even the idols that shine brightest on stage experienced the darkest nights.

Red Velvet



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