Since her debut back in 2016, MOMOLAND‘s JooE has shown off her talent and popularity as a lead vocalist, lead dancer, lead rapper, and more. However, shockingly, making it to MOMOLAND wasn’t easy. In a new interview, JooE revealed just how many auditions she failed before she was cast by MLD Entertainment.

JooE started by explaining that she’s “always wanted to be a singer“. Since personal development is one of her passions, she attended vocal and dance academies when she was in middle school to work on her dream—even though they were miles away. JooE lived in a city called Yangpyeong at the time, and had to make a four-hour roundtrip to the academies in Seoul every day.

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As a middle schooler, JooE says she attended every single audition she could find in the hopes of joining a K-Pop agency. But sadly, despite her immense talent, she revealed was “rejected from all of them“. While it’s normal for idols to face a few rejections on their journeys, the interviewer was shocked to learn that JooE was rejected from a staggering 50 auditions through middle and high school.

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| KPOP IDOL OLYMPIC/YouTube

When the interviewer asked whether JooE felt depressed at so many rejections, she explained that “those things don’t really affect [her]“. However, she did feel “angry“—after all, she explained, she “tried really hard” and thought she was “really good” at performing. And, on top of that, casting agents would always shower her with praise.

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| KPOP IDOL OLYMPIC/YouTube

I just thought, “Maybe we just have different styles”, but they always gave me some positive feedback. “You are so bright and talented”, [they said]. Why didn’t they sign me then? I did think that… that was pretty upsetting. “Why won’t you sign me then?”.

— JooE

Thankfully for MOMOLAND fans, JooE’s luck did eventually turn around. After middle school, she applied to Hanlim Multi Arts School. One of the most renowned education institutions for aspiring entertainers in Korea, Hanlim Multi Arts School’s impressive alumni list includes Red Velvet‘s Yeri, several TWICE members, ASTRO‘s Cha Eunwoo, Ong Seong Wu, and many more.

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Even after she was accepted, JooE still had to make the four-hour commute from her home since she didn’t have an agency with a dorm she could stay at. She also once revealed that she had a nose job when she was just a high school freshman. It definitely seems like JooE went through a lot in her younger years, but the hard work eventually paid off.

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| MLD Entertainment

After starting high school, she attended an audition for MLD Entertainment. JooE explained that she got there an hour early, but couldn’t find anywhere to practice, so she ended up singing by herself and practicing her dance in the parking lot. It may have been an unorthodox preparation technique, but it worked—at the audition, the MLD Entertainment casting directors saw how talented she really was.

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| KPOP IDOL OLYMPIC/YouTube

That was the one I got accepted to, like destiny.

— JooE