No one knows the idol life better than K-Pop trainees themselves. The hardships they face in order to debut are seemingly immeasurable.

YouTube channel AYO brought in long-time trainee Bin Ha Neul and her former label mate Choi Ye Jin to spill the tea about dating, their schedules, and of course, their contracts. Though both are not currently training to be in a group, they still have numerous examples of their trainee mishaps.

bin haneul
Bin Ha Neul | AYO/YouTube

choi
Choi Ye Jin | AYO/YouTube

One of the questions they reacted to was, “I feel bad that training expenses are included in the trainee’s debt. How would they make a living until they actually start earning money? I saw some trainees working part time jobs. It’s too much.”

Bin Ha Neul immediately agreed, saying, “It’s all debt!” Trainees are required to pay for everything from their food to their training expense, dorm rent, and even the manager’s moving fee.

debt

According to her, it’s extremely rare to earn a salary even after one debuts. She recounted the story of her friend who is in a precarious financial situation despite being an active idol.

Unless you get popular after you debut, you won’t get paid. I have a friend who debuted four years ago. That friend didn’t get a single penny.

— Bin Ha Neul

This is why it’s doubly important for aspiring trainees to be mindful of their contracts.

There are a lot of companies that charge an enormous price. To people who dream of being trainees or singers, I wanna say, you really have to be careful with contract papers.

— Bin Ha Neul

Even if one can’t afford a lawyer, there are still methods trainees can do to ensure they’re analyzing the contract to the best of their abilities.

You can check what’s in the contract if you look it up in the internet. I hope you sign the contract while looking at it carefully.

— Bin Ha Neul

Though being an idol seems like a glamorous job, it also has its own pitfalls. To find out more, check out the full video below.