I hung up my phone and I am in total shock. SM Entertainment just called!!! I have been selected to join them in Korea. I still can’t believe it!!! A representative will come to Melaka to assist me with my preparation to travel there. What are my friends going to say? What are my parents going to say? Man… I’m gonna miss the food here. But Korea!!! It’s bloody Korea!!! This is the chance of a life time.
“Sierra-shi is a bit over the required age cut-off but because Sierra-shi showed so much sincerity and talent during the audition, the directors decided to accept you.”
That’s what the person said when he called. I feel like I’m gonna faint…
[One week later]
I’m finally on the plane to Seoul. Beside me is Park Han Su-shi, the representative. I thought I was going to get a little shut-eye during the flight, but all the way there, I was being briefed by Mr.Park. I was to go straight to SM Entertainment’s HQ at Kangnam Gu when I get off the plane. The directors want to see me and then there will be the signing of contracts and meeting of my manager and bandmates. Up till now, I don’t know what kind of band I will be in. There will definitely be no solo career for me at the moment. Maybe someday...
One hour to touchdown… I walked to the toilet to freshen up. Better not look like a hag when I meet the directors or they might send me home on the next flight. I’m 23, but people tend to guess my age to be a few years less. I wonder why… But when I was in my early teens, people would think I was 18 or more since I was tall. I’m 165cm but most of the girls I’ve seen debuting are taller than 170cm, so I guess I’m not that tall anymore. Lets hope my band mates aren’t that tall.
[5 hours later]
I’m sitting in the waiting room at the SM Entertainment HQ. The building was all yellow on the outside and beside it was Kia Motors!!! Yes… we have Kia cars in Malaysia. So I don’t know why I am so excited. On the way here, if not for the Korean words, it felt like I was driving through Shanghai… modern buildings, sea of Asians albeit cleaner streets. I wonder if I will ever get the chance to go sight-seeing.
The directors had just left after giving their approval. I’m dressed in my flattering skinny jeans, tank top and a cool little jacket with shredded fabric hanging off it. I had on my longest dangling earrings, a simple chain and pendant and my favourite metallic Swatch watch. My hair is short with parts of my fringe dyed red and I styled it in a messy style. I had minimum makeup on, just a bit of powder, blush, mascara and eyeliner. The directors had a little debate about my image before they left. It made me feel a little insecure.
“I think her short hair will be a welcomed deviation from the usual feminine image we go for.”
“But she is still an unknown, we need to appeal to the greater masses and they usually prefer feminine girls,” said another.
“Fine, we’ll just let her grow out her hair until her debut and we will decide then what her image will be.”
So I will have to grow out my hair. What a bother. I hate long hair… it takes so long to dry.
“I’m concerned about her weight, she cannot put on anymore than she has now.”
“I think she is of a healthy shape, she just needs to tone it up.”
“It says here she is 50kg. Our girls are usually 45kg give or take.”
“We’ll put her on an exercise regime, if she tones up and stays that weight, we’d have to accept it. If she loses some of it, then it’s our luck.”
Exercise??? I don’t want to exercise!!!
10 minutes later, my manager walked in and lay out some papers on the table.
“I’m Ahn Shi Kyung and I will be managing you and your band mates throughout your careers here with SM. Do you have any questions so far?”
“Erm… may I know who my band mates will be?”
“Your band mates will consist of 2 more boys. Skye is from Korea and Shoei is from Japan. Due to your age, we have to pair you with boys to help you stand out as a girl. You will meet them later.”
2 guys. Great! No catfights! But they’re younger, so sad. I need a real man!!!
“Your daily schedule will be exercising in the morning, voice lessons in the afternoons and dance lessons in the evenings for the next 6 months after which we will have to start working on recording and routines for your band. It will be a tough schedule for you Sierra-shi since you don’t have that many years of a career left. Skye and Shoei have been training for 3 years. Try your best to learn from them. Your schedule applies from Monday to Saturday. On Sunday mornings, you still need to exercise. After that, you can have the rest of the day off. Should you need extra training in voice or dance, your instructors will not hesitate to arrange for classes on Sunday as well. So if you want to rest, you will need to earn it.”
I was going to cry when I heard that. No rest… you’re too old… you’re too fat… so this is what the life of an entertainer is about.
“Before I forget, you will have Korean lessons between your voice and dance lessons. Until you are fluent, you will have Korean lessons in the afternoon on Sundays.”
There goes my life. So much for sight-seeing…
After signing the contract, the manager sent me down to van which will take me to my hostel. I am going to live with my band mates. It’s gonna be so weird living with two guys. Our hostel is about 20 minutes away in this block of new apartments. So it isn’t really a hostel but an apartment rented for us. The apartment is on the 9th floor. The driver helps me with my bags up to the elevator but doesn’t go up with me.
“You’re at number 9-C. Just ring the bell.”
While rising up the elevator, I was wondering what Skye and Shoei will look like. Will they like me? Will they think that SM has gone mad to decide to pick up a 23 year old and only train her for one year? I can only hope they don’t hate me.
When the elevator doors opened, I see two boys standing there, one smiling expectantly and the other looking at his shoes like they were the most interesting things ever.
“We were waiting for you! We saw the van pull up and came out to help you with your bags. I’m Skye!”
“Annyong! I’m Sierra.”
While carrying my bags into the apartment, Skye started talking a mile a minute,
“This is Shoei. He’s a bit shy or maybe he’s just pissed cos he has to share rooms with me from now on.”
“I’m not!!” Shoei shouted, then his face turned red and he looked at his shoes again.
“Annyong, Shoei. I’m very sorry you need you give up your room for me.”
“It’s okay, nuna, you’re older right?” Skye looked hard at me.
“Oh please… don’t remind me. I have enough people telling me how old I am today.”
“You don’t look old nuna, don’t worry,” said Shoei unexpectedly.
“Keurae…” said Skye has he plopped onto the sofa, “you look like you’re just our age and you’re kinda hot. I’ve not yet seen an entertainer with your face, so you will be special. Anyway, thanks to you, we have this apartment to live in. We were living elsewhere before this, not so nice, and now that you’ve come and we’re gonna debut in a year, they’ve given us a nice apartment.”
“Wow, thanks to me then.”
“We’re lucky it’s just us. If we were in a group like TVXQ, they’d stuff us all into one room. But because there is a girl, they put us in separate rooms. Have a drink,” Shoei said as he passed me a bottle of mineral water.
“Why, hyung? Don’t you want to bond with your brothers? What’s wrong with sharing rooms?”
“I’d feel suffocated. Anyway, you are enough for me. Being with you is like being with 10 people in the room.”
I cannot contain my laughter when I’m around them. They’re both 20 years old. Skye is outspoken and perky. Shoei speaks, firmly and politely but when shy, he whispers. I forgot to describe them. Skye and Shoei are both tall. Skye has Jae Joong’s hair in the Heart Mind and Soul album and Shoei has hair like Rain’s in his 4th album, Rain’s World. Both have double eyelids, big eyes, sharp noses and the all-important kissable lips. I feel so ugly next to them. I wonder what kind of group image we will be having. Better not be like The Trax. I can’t deal with the Goth theme.
My room is a small room with a single bed and a wardrobe. My window overlooks a playground and lots of concrete buildings. I unpacked my clothes and my precious CDs and DVDs. I’ve brought all my music with me. I will need them for encouragement and inspiration every day of my life here.
The boys’ room is a little bigger with 2 single beds. We also have a work room for studying and it also contained our composing equipment. The boys have already started composing and stuff and even showed some of their work to me. I’m happy to say that we have the same musical inclinations. Mostly R&B and pop but we’d dabble in rock and stuff. They even liked the English music I’ve brought with me.
We have only one shower and toilet, a laundry room and a kitchen with a little stove, microwave and refrigerator.
“I can’t cook!” Skye exclaimed.
“You’re the nuna, so you’re gonna be like our mother. You cook for us, ok? Then we will do the cleaning.”
“I can cook! I don’t want to clean!” said Shoei.
“No you can’t! I don’t want to eat sushi everyday? I don’t want to eat rice rolled in seaweed every day! I want rice and meat!!” complained Skye.
“It’s okay. I will try to cook,” I said.
Both of them turned and stared at me.
“Nuna, you can’t cook?” asked Skye.
“Not many dishes, just some, and it’s all Chinese.”
“Phew… I thought you can’t cook at all. I was gonna ask SM why they sent us a girl who can’t cook.”
“Ya!! You think I’m here to be your maid? I’m your band mate and if you get fried rice everyday, you’re gonna eat it like a good boy. Araji?”
“Araso… you’re starting to scare me.”
“Nuna, don’t go easy on him. Before you came, he forced me to make sushi every single day and he is not thankful at all,” said Shoei and he stuck his tongue out at Skye
“Is that right? Come Shoei, we’ll go out for dinner tonight without him.”
I grabbed Shoei’s arm and we started to walk out.
“Wait for me!!” said Skye as he ran over, wedged in between us and put his arms on both of our shoulders.
On that first day, I truly believed that we’re going to have a great time together.