Posted by : KPopRanter September 03, 2013

Ever since I can remember (I have short-term memory, deal with it), I have always wanted to know what life was like in a K-Pop trainee's perspective. We have always heard or seen covered and softened stories from actual idols who explained their gruesome and reminiscing training details however, never actually hearing thorough explanations, many questions still unanswered and many people still craving more information of "that" lifestyle than the obvious and redundant jargon. Because I'm actually a fan of modern day K-Pop's first bi-racial group, Chocolat (Melanie is my favorite, deal with that, too), I one day rolled myself around the Internet and came across the most mind-blowing news of the century, if not, the millennium -a trainee had a Twitter account. And after she opened her official and I received permission from her, herself, for an interview, I took the once-in-a-lifetime chance and am finally revealing the (what seems like) first ever legitimate (most online are basically garbage and lies) interview from a K-Pop Trainee.

To introduce her, Lori Thomas is an "Ameriasian" trainee of the company Paramount Music, whom, as mentioned above, debuted their first ever group, Chocolat, back in 2011. Living in America for a huge chunk of her life (yes, she speaks English), she's now residing in Osan, South Korea while training for Paramount's upcoming girl group (which apparently will debut near the end of this year). She appeared in Chocolat's Black Tinkerbell as Wendy and is utter perfection, I'm already your fan not permitted to speak of the group's specific details, yet can speak of her training life.

Are the typical trainers and trainees super strict, fun to be with or super judgmental? 
fun to be with 

How do other trainees and trainers treat foreign trainees? How about new ones?

They treat them the same as they would a person of their own race. Every trainee is different, just like any person in the world. If they are kind, they will welcome new trainees. If they aren't as kind, they will be more cautious 

How'd you feel when you were new? Was it hard to follow the training?

I felt really small and like an outsider as if i didn't fit in, but that all changes. It was hard for the first few days but then it got easier. My instructors are really good instructors.

Is the competition between trainees very intense?

It's not as though you guys would fight to death for it (like your thoughts should be) but in every company, the competition is pretty high. 

Are the training sessions and tests hard?

They are pretty rigorous. 

Do you always have a recital, if you do, what happens to trainees with
low scores? Do they get kicked out?
It depends on the company's management and how they judge. 

Does the company require plastic surgery? Or do they give you a choice?
Our company does not require plastic surgery. They believe more in natural beauty. 

Are the dance routines harder when you are a trainee or is it harder
when you are a debuted idol?

When you are a trainee because you are in the process of learning.

Do some trainees really bully or shun others?
Not the ones that I know. 

If you are a new trainee, is it hard to fit in and follow the training?

You think it will be but it's not that bad c: 

What do the companies do for trainees? Free food? Dorm? What?

It depends on how close you are to debuting but usually yes, free food and dorming as well. 

How do you hang on or survive the recitals and frustrations?

I pray and think about my family. 

Are companies very strict with the weight, do they require you to diet
and exercise?
Yes, but the trainees are more strict on themselves about their weight and dieting. 

Are companies strict with your physical appearance? Are some trainees
shunned by others or the instructors because of their appearance?
Some companies may be but physical appearance doesn't matter and shouldn't matter.

What are your most favorite and least favorite aspects of training?

favorite: reaching goals and moving on to the next level. least favorite: when your body doesn't do what your mind wants it to do. 

Do fights ever break out between trainees?
Not that I have seen.

Is the trainee life actually as hardcore as some people make it out to be?

Is there any coveted training position? For example: if trainees get singing, do others get jealous/envy?

It depends on the persons personality trait.

How much say do you have in what you do?

Not very much as a trainee, but that usually changes when you debut. 

How intensive is vocal training?
Pretty intensive

Do you work with an actual instructor or alone?
An actual instructor

Explain your typical day and training life
Wake up, grab a healthy breakfast, leave house, dance training, exercise, vocal training, eat a healthy meal, exercise, home, sleep. 

How many days a week do you train and usually for how long?
It depends. Training days change every week. Training is almost all day long. 

Does the entertainment company you're signed with prompt you to get cosmetic surgery if you're ugly and if you don't get it, you lose the ability debut in the said company?
They do not force plastic surgery. 

Also, I heard that you can't leave the company if you regret joining it because of the contract. You pay a termination fee if you want to leave which is either around 6,000 or 60,000 (I forgot the number since I read it quite a while ago). Is this true?
Yes, you can not leave as long as the contract stands in place. This is why you have to be cautious.

When interacting with other trainees, do you guys accord respect by age or by how long an individual has been a trainee?
How long an individual has been a trainee. And also because I am so young, I respect the ones that are older as well. 

Before you become a trainee for a company is it true that the contract you sign is literally a slave contract?
"Slave" would be an over rated term but you do have to follow the basics and understand the basics of the contract.

Also have you seen situations of sexual assault or the bosses/taking advantage of the trainees?
I have not witnessed any of that.

Lastly, I'd live to thank Lori Thomas for agreeing to the interview again and you can find the trainee, Lori Thomas anywhere--she created her own contact email:, twitter, snapchat and Instagram which all hopefully won't be removed post-debut.

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{ 5 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. The 'termination fee' is interesting. I wasn't aware of that. I heard one of the EXO guys tried to quit the group recently but was clawed back in. I assume some similar contract stipulation must have compelled him.

    It's also interesting that the same company behind Chocolat is debuting another girl group. Chocolat is a pretty solid group. I hope they haven't given up on them yet.

  2. Somewhat off-topic, but I thought this was a really interesting read:

    It's an interview with the Chrome Entertainment (Crayon Pop) CEO. It illustrates how different the whole trainee experience differs from company to company.

    One of the members literally went on stage a week after joining the company.

  3. Yeah--just like the allkpop article about Cube Entertainment's training and the differences of SM, JYP and YG's training. They're all different but I think they all have some of the same elements and goals for the trainee to pick up in the end.

    And for your other comment, yeah--it was Kris. He went back to Canada then had to crawl back. I bet SM's contract fee has to be a lot then.
    Agreed, I was a bit surprised but whatever :) I hope the new group does well, tbh and Chocolat

  4. Why isnt chocolat promoting?? 😢😢😢😢


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