These days, Amber Liu is known to many as a star soloist. However, she first got her start as the main rapper of the second-generation girl group f(x). But making it into the group wasn’t easy. In an episode of YouTube‘s new documentary series, K-Pop Evolution, Amber revealed she felt like her place would be determined by how skinny she was.

Amber was recruited to SM Entertainment at the age of around 16. Applying through the company’s 2008 audition in Los Angeles, California, she was one of just two candidates who made it through and received trainee contracts. From that point on, she had just a year and a half to train before her debut.

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| SM Entertainment

While many may assume that all those intensive and fast-tracked vocal, rap, and dance lessons must have been the hardest part about being a trainee, something else posed a bigger difficulty to Amber. “The hardest thing for me image-wise,” she explained, “Was definitely weight.”

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| YouTube Originals

In fact, the soloist went on to reveal that there were times during her trainee days where she felt like her talent and skills would have no impact on whether she made it into f(x). Instead, she believed her weight would be the deciding factor.

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There were times when I was training that I felt like instead of being a good singer or a good dancer, how skinny you were would secure your spot in a group.

— Amber

Eventually, Amber shares she reached a point where she wasn’t eating at all and even became scared of food itself. In an episode of Star King back when f(x) was still active, she and Sulli revealed that one of their extreme methods for weight loss involved kicking an inflated plastic bag around without letting it drop to the floor for up to 30 minutes.

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Thankfully, it seems that Amber was eventually able to overcome her anxieties surrounding food. In a video uploaded to Amber’s YouTube channel in 2015, she and her friend vehemently stressed to viewers that “starving is not dieting“, going on to advise fans on healthy dieting methods.