Noona Says: 5 Occupations That Give You Major Idol Benefits


When people find out that I work for Soompi, they are either interested or clueless. I have gotten a lot of “Wow, I didn’t know Soompi was a company! I used to go on it all the time when I was in middle school,” and “Soompi? What’s that? K-pop? Oh, I know ‘Gangnam Style.'” After I explain that yes, it is a real job and that I work in K-pop, this almost always comes next: “Do you get to work with celebrities?”

As an editor for Soompi, I’m mainly in front of a computer muttering under my breath about the Oxford comma and the stupid ways agencies spell their artists’ names in English, but I have met and worked with idols and actors. I’ve done a few interviews and sometimes I get invited to go to a press conference. It’s part of the job, like writing these editorials.

Sometimes a K-pop fan will tell me that they envy me and want my job because they want to work with idols.  If you recently applied for the editorial positions expecting to kick it with celebrities on a daily basis, you will be disappointed. An editorial position like this is not the best occupation to meet idols. If you love correcting grammar and dealing with emotional international fans, then this job is perfect for you.

However, there are other practical jobs that not only pay decently (eh, somewhat) but interact with celebrities frequently and at a close level. Yes, there are jobs like coordinators, stylists, managers, etc. etc., but you’re going to get sick of idols fast when you have to babysit them. Here are five real jobs with better idol perks.

1. Sound Engineer

I know a woman who used to work as a sound engineer for Inkigayo. One of her duties was to put the microphones on the idols. That meant every week, she would get very close to an idol, fumble around to clip the microphone on their clothes, and have a minute or two for small chit chat. She is the reason why I know the professional personalities for a few dozen idols. She told me which idols are polite, which idols act snobby towards the crew, and which idols sweat a lot. It’s a good job because if you ever get sick of idols you can make a lot more money working at a different company, which is what she did.

If you want to get physically close to an idol without worrying about a restraining order, consider a job in sound engineering and apply to work at a broadcast company.

2. Caterer

Most people don’t realize how much catering is used in the entertainment industry. Celebrities and the production crew work on sets for many hours, and because of time restraints, they can’t always take an hour off to grab lunch at a nearby restaurant. Most sets, if not all, have food catered. Sometimes they just drop off food, but something they stay and serve them. When you read about fans giving food to an entire drama set, have you ever wondered how the food got there? Sure, the fans pay the money, and some higher level fans will be able to actually go on-site, but it’s the caterers who hand the food to the celebrities.

If you want to get backstage access without actually working in production, consider even a part-time job in catering. Just make sure you find the right company.

3. Security

If you’re a big person, this could be the job for you. As a member of the press, I was surprised to find that security guards seem to know the celebrities pretty well. Because of my youthful face I often had to pull out my press pass and patiently explain to those big guys that I’m here on business and not a fangirl, and sometimes we would get interrupted by a manager or a celebrity who wanted to say hi (to the bodyguard). If you work in security at a venue that hosts concerts, you have to work with the manager and the artists to be familiar with their schedules and preferences. You can even be a personal body guard, but I believe that’s actually a difficult job to get (feel free to correct me).

Most of the time you’ll be manning doors and doing rounds in empty places at night, but if you’re in the right place you could actual develop friendships with the celebrities.

If you have the right build and like telling people what to do, consider a job in security. You might even get a chance to live out that “The Bodyguard” fantasy (“And I~~~~will always loooooove yoooooUUUUUoooUUU.”) Just, don’t die.

4. Interpreter 

There is a difference between translation and interpretation. A translator, like some of our Soompi writers, works with text. An interpreter works with speech. Interpretation is so much harder than translation. I know some people who do interpretation for a living and they usually get pretty close to the person they are working with. It’s actually quite necessary for there to be a relationship, so the interpreter can be familiar with speech patterns and habits. I’m sure you have seen your favorite celebrities on foreign programs, and there’s usually an interpreter who is trying really hard not to be seen. That could be you.

Keep in mind, interpreting is not for everyone. You have to be very fluent in both languages. I did some interpreting when I was younger, but I stopped because I had a traumatic experience. I was interpreting on the red carpet for a director at a film festival, and I just had to have that one director who had an avant-garde film. He was spouting Korean vocabulary I did not know, and I panicked and starting making things up. Turns out, he knew how to speak English and he ended up correcting me. It was really embarrassing, and I spent the rest of the night apologizing for being an idiot to him and everyone else. Yeah, interpretation is hard.

If you want to develop relationships with celebrities and love languages, consider a job in interpretation. But please, keep in mind how difficult this job is.

5. Investor 

I might get in trouble for this one and please know that I’m not being entirely serious. If you really want to live the fantasy of spending personal time with a celebrity and have him/her give you all the attention you want, it’s actually possible. You just have to be really, really rich.

I’m sure you’re familiar with those “sponsor” rumors. Sponsorship is a real thing and it happens, although not always in that disturbing sexual way. Basically, if you’re an investor with lot’s of money to spend, a company will set up dinners and meetings with their artists as a way of sucking up and showing you where your money is going. Celebrities often get dragged into business meetings/dinners, sometimes as entertainment. It is the most uplifting way to treat someone? No. Does it happen? Often. Sometimes, the celebrities are in it for themselves and don’t mind it because of the flattery, expensive dinners, and the gifts. It’s pretty much having a sugar daddy.

If you want celebrities and only see them as objectified entertainment, consider a job that will give you a lot of money so you can buy affection and attention. Money will solve a lot of superficial problems; that’s the sad way the world works.

I will say this to close: I know I gave you these options, but I don’t think letting your fandom influence major life decisions, such as a career, is a good idea. Meeting a celebrity you love can be disappointing because they won’t have the personality you imagined they would have. They are human like us, except they get a lot more attention than we do. Like us, they can be temperamental, impatient, bratty, selfish, and inconsiderate. Being a fan is the best relationship you can have with a celebrity because it’s mutually beneficial. Celebrities do their jobs to please their fans, and fans give them the adoration they want. It’s not the most honest relationship, but honesty isn’t always necessary for happiness.

CallMeN00NA is an editor at Soompi who used to love K-pop but now sees it just as work. You can talk to her on Twitter and ask her questions

The opinions expressed in this editorial are solely those of the author.