Being a K-pop star is a taxing career that requires long and arduous years of training to polish one’s vocals and dance skills and to prepare them for the spotlight. And yet, some idols do not stick to their main job and expand their horizons professionally. With acting, modeling, and MCing shows being the standard go-to side jobs for most idols, some break the customs and go for other types of occupations such as the business industry, food industry, and so on.
That being said, this feature focuses mostly on professions that expand through and beyond the entertainment industry. Check ’em out!
1. BTS’ Suga – Producer
Suga’s producing skills have been known since his early days as a BTS member. As the group’s career progressed, the rapper started producing music for other artists besides his labelmates, and he won music awards thanks to his amazing talent. Some of the artists he (co-)produced for are Suran’s “Wine,” IU’s “Eight,” and Epik High’s “Eternal Sunshine.”
Other idol producers: Epik High’s Tablo, (G)IDLE’s Soyeon, Zico, SHINee’s Jonghyun, BIGBANG’s G-Dragon, etc.
2. Sandara Park – YouTuber
Sandara Park has worn many hats throughout her rich and long-lasting career in the entertainment industry, but that didn’t stop her from adding one more to her talent wardrobe. In fact, the idol has quite an interactive YouTube channel where she kind of rebooted “2NE1 TV” into “Dara TV” to share daily bits of her life, both personal and professional.
Other idol YouTubers: MAMAMOO’s Solar, Amber Liu, AKMU’s Lee Suhyun, etc.
3. Zico – CEO
The best part about being an idol who’s been around for a long time is that they can make use of their experience to start their own companies. Zico surely learned a lot and has been the CEO of his label KOZ Entertainment since 2019, where he would focus on his own career all while managing other artists in the process. Dvwn (Read Dawn) is the first artist to sign to Zico’s agency.
Other celebrity CEOs: PSY (P Nation), Rain (Rain Company), Jackson Wang (Team Wang), Yubin (RRR), etc.
4. Epik High’s Tablo – Author
Tablo is one of the most poetic and wise musicians to exist both domestically and internationally. With this in mind, it is only natural that his lyrical talent extends to fully written books. The rapper has published not one but two books, released both in Korean and English. Published in 2008, his first book is called “Pieces of You,” and it contains a collection of short stories. Eight years later, “BloNote” came to life, bringing back some of Tablo’s most memorable quotes from “Tablo’s Dreaming Radio,” his radio show.
Other idol authors: SHINee’s Jonghyun (“Skeleton Flower: Things That Have Been Released and Set”), Jessica Jung (“Shine”), etc.
5. Eric Nam – Podcaster
Eric Nam is a man of many talents, and he doesn’t shy away from sharing them with his fans. In his podcast “Daebak Show,” he shares his knowledge of the awesome side of the K-pop industry and celebrates the music as well as the history behind it. Needless to say, the show is a massive hit and has its own following. If you haven’t heard of it before, now is your chance to delve into it!
Other idol podcasters: Epik High’s Tablo “The Tablo Podcast,” Jae Park and Alexa’s “How Did I Get Here?” etc
6. Jessi – Talk show host
Jessi has always been known for her spontaneity, genuineness, and savagery. These three among many of her other amazing traits make up the perfect recipe for an entertaining talk show. Viewers can also enjoy watching Jessi’s attitude change according to the celebrity guest invited on each episode. One thing is certain: laughter is guaranteed!
Other idol talk show hosts: IU’s “Palette,” Red Velvet’s Seulgi’s “Seulgizip,” JYP’s “Party People,” etc.
7. Miss A’s Fei – Chief
For some idols, talent goes way outside the entertainment industry and into the kitchen. Such is the case for Fei, whose incredible culinary skills landed her a spot in many cooking shows. She ranked as the runner-up in “Master Chef Korea Celebrity” and “Cook King Korea” in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
Other idol chefs: Super Junior’s Leeteuk, BTS’s Jin, CNBLUE’s Minhyuk, iKON’s Yunhyeong, etc.
Which K-pop star’s side career inspires you the most? Let us know in the comments below!
Esme L. is a Moroccan lively dreamer, writer, and Hallyu enthusiast.
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