Nayoung On Her Debut Process, Hardships She Felt During “Produce 101,” And More

On September 24, Esquire Korea revealed a new pictorial with former I.O.I and PRISTIN member Nayoung, who recently signed with a new agency following her departure from Pledis Entertainment.

In an interview with the magazine, Nayoung talked about the process she went through to make her debut, participating in “Produce 101,” and what she hopes to do in the future.

Nayoung revealed that she started to dream of becoming a singer in her first year of middle school, when she saw Girls’ Generation performing “Gee” on a music show. The singer said, “I would practice the choreography in front of a mirror at home. I liked dancing in front of a mirror. Naturally, I started to dream about becoming a singer while thinking, ‘I want to be on that stage.’ I would do cover dances with my friends at talent shows.”

She continued, “My friend asked me to go with her to an audition at JYP Entertainment. She said that she couldn’t do it alone because she was too nervous. I went, but I did not pass. I did not want to give up. I was in sixth grade at the time, and I started going to auditions by myself afterwards.”

Nayoung then explained how she became a trainee at Pledis Entertainment. She said, “Pledis held an audition to find the ninth member of After School. I passed the first round, but I couldn’t attend the second round because I had to go to school. I was upset that I had to miss the audition. Three to four months later, Pledis sent me an email. They said that I’d caught their attention during the first round, but because I didn’t come to the second round, they wanted to see me separately. But the problem was that I saw the email four months later.”

Nayoung concluded, “I asked my family for advice, and they told me to give it a try. I got to attend a private audition and became a trainee. I lived in South Chungcheong province at the time, so I had to take a bus once or twice a week for training. I think the agency saw potential in me because they continued to keep an eye on me.”

Nayoung also shared that her original goal was to debut at the age of 20. She said, “I trained for four years and six months. I wanted to debut when I was 20, but I couldn’t. I started getting prepared to go to college. I felt anxious at the time because I did not feel certain about my future. I knew I would regret it if I didn’t prepare for college. I learned how to act and many other things in college, so it was good.” She added, “I was able to get rid of anxiety after entering college.”

The singer shared that she heard about “Produce 101” in her first year of college. Nayoung explained, “I considered it as the last opportunity of my life. I only thought about making a debut at the time. To be honest, there is no other goal in a trainee’s mind. In order to do other things, they need to debut first.” She continued, “While training, I learned and felt many things. I became more competitive. I couldn’t help but to think, ‘This is my last shot.'”

Nayoung shared that while filming the program, she felt a lot of pressure about completing each mission in a given time. She commented, “We had to complete missions in allotted time. They needed to be high quality, but we did not have enough time. Each detail like making facial expressions and how I sing became a huge source of pressure for me. I even wondered, ‘Am I able to do this?'”

When asked what she thinks helped her place high in ranking, Nayoung answered, “I took on a lot of leader positions. I think they viewed me favorably while seeing me diligently lead team members.”

Nayoung also shared a story behind earning the nickname “Stone Nayoung.” She explained, “I felt a lot of pressure about being a leader. While taking care of team members, I became nervous. I restrained myself even more while thinking, ‘I need to be centered to lead better.'”

Lastly, Nayoung shared what she hopes to achieve in the future and what kind of artist she wishes to be. She said, “I like dancing. I want to show my fans my unique dancing style. Even if it’s through a small fan meeting. It will become a memory for us, and I think I will be able to show charming sides of myself.” Nayoung concluded, “I want to become a celebrity who people are curious about. A celebrity whom people like and have high expectations for.”

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