by Luciana Matteson (Senior)
I am consistently the only one out of my friend groups that has been born somewhere other than Chicago. I was born in suburban St. Louis – my now nightmare living situation (I don’t mix well with spoiled, pretentious white people). Luckily for the future me, my family and I moved to Chicago when I was two. I’ve been here ever since, only having moved house once in the time I’ve been here. I was brought up relatively sheltered in terms of social interaction – getting home at nine is late to my parents.
In terms of my interests, they never varied very widely – I’ve remained a creative writer, dancer, and singer consistently. I went through a few phases, but they were all concerned with music – there was my emo phase, my Top 40 trash phase, my One Direction phase. But in 7th grade, I was introduced to the greatest toxin, and simultaneous ambrosia, of my life – Korean pop music. It’s been five years and many tears, and I still display no signs of escaping this bottomless pit. This is no phase. It is a lifestyle.
Thanks to the influence of the K-pop industry on my personality, I’ve become increasingly motivated to get into the entertainment industry. I won’t lie. It’s incredibly fun to pretend I’m in AOA or Girls’ Generation, and it’d be even more fun for that to be a reality. Not so much because the idea of being an idol is glamorous – I want to give others the happiness the groups I love have given me. In the long run, though, be I a girl group member, a manager, a choreographer – it doesn’t matter to me, as long as I am in on the enigma that is the Hallyu Wave, or at the very least, the (much less exciting, but nonetheless highly influential) American music industry.
Despite this, there are many obstacles in the way of this daydream. Seeing as I am a human tub of mayonnaise, I feel as if it would be intrusive of me to wedge my way into a foreign music industry, seeing as minorities get so little representation in all forms of media as it is. Besides that, the K-pop scene is different, and it is incredibly exclusive – and to an extent, even xenophobic. Even other East Asians, from China, Japan, Thailand, and so forth are belittled and ostracized when they enter the Korean music industry. South Koreans generally have a traditional mindset of desiring a homogeneous society, consisting of only Koreans. Even then, they are hostile towards their neighbors of the north, when they are able to escape across the border and into the south. In short, they are not particularly friendly to outsiders wishing to join their culture. My biggest roadblock is something that is incredibly difficult to overcome or even change.
However, even after considering the obstacles in my way, my dream is certainly not completely unattainable. They say that there is no try, there is only do – and that’s exactly what I’ll do. I’ll audition or apply or work towards what I want anyway – the worst that could happen is being stuck in a beautiful country with vivid culture and easy access to equally beautiful countries just short plane rides away.