Warning: There are references to sexual harassment and rape in this article.
Former Fiestar member Cheska recently held a live stream on her Twitch channel, where she answered fan questions about her time in the K-Pop industry, revealing previously unknown industry secrets, details about the team dynamic within her own group, her experience with sexual abuse, her personal mental health, and much more. She mentioned why she wanted to talk about her personal experience of being in the industry.
I’m not talking about K-Pop because of the fame.
I’m talking about it because I feel like it’s helping me fight my fear, fight my depression, anxiety, everything that I got from being in the industry.
My experience as a K-Pop idol, kind of fucked with me.
Fiestar – bullying and getting bullied
Cheska mentioned that she was bullied by both Yezi and Jei. A fan mentioned that they would also get into fights with their friends, but they would make up after the fight, and Cheska agreed to that mentality, but the other Fiestar members did not.
We would fight for like, the stupidest reasons, like, uh, from misunderstanding each other.
So I’d always be the one who would go up to them and be like ‘I think we misunderstood each other, I’m sorry for misunderstanding you. They would never say sorry to me. I would always be like I’m sorry for this, and they’d be like ‘ok’. Like they wouldn’t talk to me at all.
And then I’d be like, I feel like we should talk more, I feel like we should communicate more, cause for me, I feel like communicating is like, the number one solution to problems, so I’d be like ‘I think we should communicate’ and the person would be like ‘no. I don’t want to talk to you’. That’s what they’d be like, ‘we have nothing to talk about, I have nothing to talk about with you,’ and I’m over here like ‘what, we have so much to talk about cause we misunderstood each other’.
Regarding fellow member Linzy, Cheska mentioned she was nice, but was also a victim of bullying.
Linzy is pretty. Linzy was nice, but she also got bullied a few times, like I have.
Everyone got bullied once or twice, except for Yezi and Jei.
She also talked about Cao Lu, and prefaced that while she is two-faced, she is also smart.
Cao Lu also got bullied too. Even though I said she was a two-faced bitch, she didn’t do anything wrong, she’s just a two-faced bitch, like I said on my other live.
Everyone got bullied in this group, except Yezi and Jei. Basically, Yezi was the [real] leader, who was hiding behind Jei, who was actually the leader [on paper]. We were getting controlled by the maknae, basically. Everything was messed up.
I’m not gonna lie, Cao Lu is pretty smart. Her family is pretty rich, from what I know, but she isn’t. She’s from a wealthy family. She hit #1 in China as a solo artist. To be honest, I don’t know why she came to Korea to restart as an artist. If it was SM, JYP, YG, I’d understand why, but LOEN? But, she’s smart. Maybe that’s why, where the two-faced thing comes in. She knows how everything works. She knows how to treat the elders with respect.
Later on, she also talked about how she didn’t like much of the idea of Fiestar as a whole.
I just don’t like Fiestar’s songs, I didn’t like the concepts either. But the most, I didn’t like how I was being treated, from the company and the members.
Her experiences with Unpretty Rapstar
Cheska talked about how she was actually offered the chance to appear on Unpretty Rapstar.
If I wanted attention, I would’ve went on Unpretty Rapstar, because their producer called [my boyfriend, GEEKS’ Lil Boi], yeah.
The producer asked him to ask me if I wanted to go on Unpretty Rapstar, and I said no. The producer wanted to talk to me, and said ‘are you sure, can you think about this one more time?’ and I was like, nope, don’t want to do it.
She also decided to just tell her viewers everything she knew about Unpretty Rapstar, including the show’s heavy usage of ghostwriters.
There’s rappers who don’t use ghostwriters, but like 9/10 of the rappers on the show have ghostwriters, they don’t write their own raps, they don’t write their own lines.
I didn’t go on the program because I didn’t like the program. It was a fake program. It’s all about performance. Someone writes for you, someone makes the beats, someone writes the lyrics, you just perform it. That’s it. I’m not about that kind of stuff.
If I wanted to perform with my actual beat and my actual lyrics and music, it would take a month or 2 months for one song to be ready, that’s how long my process is for making a song. But for the show, you have to be fast, really fast. The lyrics have to be done in sometimes a day, sometimes 3 days, sometimes a week.
LOEN Entertainment label-mate IU
A viewer asked what Cheska thought of working with IU, as the two were signed under the same agency.
Working with IU was actually really fun, that was the best part. She’s really pretty you guys, she’s really pretty, she’s really nice, but I had to stay away from her.
IU, I think was my most positive memory.
I had to stay away from IU because the maknae, which is Yezi, was jealous because IU shouted my name out on Twitter and I was getting recognition because she shouted my name out, and she was giving me an attitude, and everyone else was like, eh. I needed the group to be on my side, I chose the group instead of IU, so I had to stay away from IU, for me to survive in the group.
Negative interactions with boy groups
A viewer asked if Cheska ever had any negative interactions with boy groups, and she was very blunt with her answer.
There are some K-Pop members from boy bands that want to [have sex] with you.
Cheska confirmed what Cao Lu said about company debt, confirming they were making no money.
This is true. We all didn’t make any money for years. She says she’s given $500, maybe $460 something per month. The $500 we got for a month, I had to pay [the company] back. I got $500 each month, but in the end, they told me to pay them back. Basically it was a loan. I don’t know if she had to pay it back, but I had to pay it back. It’s fucked up.
We didn’t have time to talk about this kind of stuff. We were way too busy to talk about money. We were trying to get famous, you know. So, like I wanna say we were working hard for the fans, but we were really just trying to get famous, to get money. But we really didn’t know how much we were making and stuff, because we were too busy practicing vocals, dancing, working out, basically it was that everyday.
Do people become an idol for fun?
A viewer asked her whether people just try to become idols for fun.
Yes. Jei, the leader, actually became an idol actually for fame. She wanted to become popular, she wanted to be a celebrity. For fun…? I wanted to be the 2nd BoA for fun, but it wasn’t fun, it was horrible. I’m pretty sure there’s some people who start off for fun.
Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon
Cheska mentioned how she could relate to Taeyeon a lot.
I feel bad for Taeyeon. I feel like she’s been through a lot, but she can’t really talk about it. If I was one of her friends, I feel like we’d have a lot to talk about.
How female idols deal with periods
Cheska told a story about how she personally dealt with her period while promoting.
While shooting Weekly Idol, I was on my period, and I started bleeding, and I was like ‘Oh!’, and my stomach started hurting, and I looked the stylist, and we gave each other looks, and she got it, so she told them to cut the filming.
She went to the store and got some pads, and some panties too. I had to throw away my favorite panties, not my favorite, but one of my favorite. I have like a million panties, I have a collection of panties, I love panties, I love underwear. So… it was one of my favorites and I had to throw that away.
The Dark side – sexual harassment & rape
Cheska revealed a story she never talked about before.
I have all the dark sides, I really do, except for you know, sexual harassment.
There is a lot of sexual harassment, but I haven’t been through it… Actually I’m lying, I’ve been through sexual harassment.
It’s pretty disgusting, as soon as I came to Korea, I got manipulated. I don’t wanna say this, but I did get raped. I don’t think I told anyone about this.
If you guys know about my Instagram, I posted this one thing I don’t want to share about, it’s when I got raped. Um… yeah.
I pretty much went through all of the negative side of K-Pop basically. I don’t want people to feel bad for me or anything, because I’m a strong girl, I’m a strong woman. To be honest, I didn’t want to say this because I feel like my parents would know about this, I don’t want them to know about this.
He was cute though, so it’s fine. I got manipulated, that was my first time I came to Korea, I was under a different company, not under LOEN. Yeah… he was a sack of shit [though].
I feel like I became a stronger person after going through that, because I know that girls at a young age, can go through that. Since I went through that. I feel like I can help girls who get sexually harassed.
I was young, I didn’t have any power. It’s a hard subject. You never know who’s been through shit. You never know who’s been raped.
This happened 9 years ago, when I first came to Korea, so I’m way over it. That’s why I’m not crying about this.
I cried a lot because of this, I didn’t like myself, I didn’t love myself, because I thought I was nasty.
K-Pop Idol Contracts
She talked about her contract, and how her own parents didn’t bother to read it.
Do parents read the contracts their kids sign? It’s really long. No. Think about this, your kid really wants to be a K-Pop idol, and they send you a contract that’s really really long, but your kid wants to be a K-Pop idol, an artist. And the company is saying they’ll do it for you. Would you sign it or not sign it? Would you read the thick contract? Every single page? Maybe you would, my parents didn’t.
‘Would you let your kid become an idol?’ Fucking no. I would beat his/her fucking ass if they say that. I would spank that kid’s ass til it bleeds. He or she could be a dancer, pianist, anything music related except a K-Pop idol.
Girls’ Generation not getting along
Cheska was asked whether she knew of any idol groups that didn’t get along with each other.
Girls’ Generation. I know they didn’t get along well.
I just know they didn’t get along well. If you’re in the K-Pop industry and you’re a trainee or you debut, you listen to all these rumors like this boy band got surgery, or this group, these members don’t get along well these days.
I think it’s the managers talking. Their managers talk to our managers, gossip gossip, and they tell their groups what they heard…
LOEN Entertainment forcing her to lie
A viewer asked her whether her agency ever did anything wrong.
My company actually lied that I was born in the States, I had to lie about that.
I was born in Seoul, and I moved to Birmingham, Alabama when I was 2. I lived in the states since I was 2 years old.
The company made me lie about my birthplace, because they wanted me to look like I was immediately born in America, which kinda sucked for me because I had to lie about that and make my family lie about that.
Nice K-Pop Idols
A viewer asked Cheska to name the nice K-Pop idols she was able to meet.
Brown Eyed Girls. Um…
I don’t know about the groups, but I can say members.
Lime, in Hello Venus.
Kyungri, you all should know Kyungri from 9MUSES, Kyungri is nice.
Sandara Park, she was nice.
G-Dragon was nice.
CL was very… very busy. She’d be very busy. She wasn’t nice or mean. When we would greet her, she would just pass by, she was a busy person.
Oh TWICE was nice, yo TWICE was nice.
EXO was nice, I remember seeing them.
What’s that boy group name, VIXX? VIXX was nice.
BTOB, I never got close to them.
I’ve never seen BLACKPINK but I’ve heard they’re really pretty and really skinny.
Block B is nice, yeah Block B members are really nice. Block B is nice, but I don’t like Zico.
NU’EST is nice.
Rainbow is actually one of the most non-celebrity looking groups in real life.
Ladies Code, they’re really nice.
Crayon Pop, they were cute. From what I remember, they were cute, they looked like little Teletubbies.
Yezi is nice. But she didn’t like me. She treated me like shit, but she’s a nice person. She treated the people she likes, I did nothing wrong to her, but I just think she thought of me as a rival, which made her hate me, or not like me. I tried my best to make her like me, but it didn’t work. But yeah, she’s a nice person, just she wasn’t nice to me. She was a bitch to me. I can say she was a fucking bitch and I want to punch her, but she was nice to others.