IU has not one but two national titles: “Nation’s Little Sister” and “Nation’s Sweetheart”. Over the past 10 years, IU has lived up to both nicknames with her acts of kindness, generosity, and love for the people around her. Here are 10 (of the many) times IU earned the title “Nation’s Sweetheart”.
1. When she forfeited her contract renewal payment to get raises for her entire staff
IU only made one demand when she resigned with Kakao M (formerly LOEN) earlier this year. Instead of receiving a large sum of money as a down payment for her contract, IU asked her company to give raises to all 40 of her hardworking staff members.
Staff members, like IU’s fan-beloved bodyguard, have been with her through thick and thin, and IU thinks of them as family. Taking care of this family means more to IU than an increase in her own pay.
I don’t need a down payment for my contract. Instead, I want employment security and salary raises for my 40 staff members who suffer and work in this harsh industry.
2. When she donated 100,000,000 won to help the children in need
On May 4, in celebration of Children’s Day in Korea, IU secretly donated 100 million won towards low-income families via the Green Umbrella Children’s Foundation. In addition to this, IU has supported her own scholarship at her former high school by sending four outstanding students in need to college. IU has also donated books to this school’s library and has provided supporting funds for educational purposes. She continues to donate to support foundations she believes in.
3. When she honored the life of SHINee’s Jonghyun
A month following the sudden passing of Jonghyun, IU’s friend and collaborator, IU delivered a heartbreaking speech to him at the 2018 Golden Disk Awards.
I believe we should laugh when we’re happy, cry when we’re sad… It’s okay to be exhausted or hungry or sick. These things are natural, and I wish we can all show and accept these natural things. Fellow artists, our job is to console other people and it’s great we try to be professional by hiding our feelings, but we should really look into ourselves and take care of our needs as well.
IU also dedicated a special performance of “Gloomy Clock” to Jonghyun at her concert, a year after his passing.
“Gloomy Clock” is a song she sang and wrote with Jonghyun. It was revealed that the track was not originally included in her concert setlist but she added it as a special dedication for her good friend.
4. When she showed her support for DIA’s Yebin
Ever the famous fan of IU, DIA‘s Yebin uploaded a video cover of herself singing IU‘s “Between the Lips” to her personal Instagram.
One malicious netizen left a comment claiming that Yebin wasn’t worthy of IU’s friendship because she wasn’t popular enough, and Yebin replied with, “It’s okay because I love her”. Soon after, IU saw the conversation and stepped in to show her love towards Yebin by leaving a thumbs up and a heart comment under the video. It completely made Yebin’s day!
5. Every time she wore this special “couple ring”
During IU’s 10-year anniversary fan meeting, fans gave IU a ring as a gift. Now, she shows just how much she cherishes the gift by wearing it wherever she goes.
The ring is embellished with a sound wave pattern, which signifie, “Violets, I’m always on your side.” IU nicknamed her fans (UAENA) violets because they reminded her of the flower.
6. When she permanently banned scalpers from her fanclub
Recently, IU and her management banned official fan club members after they have violated their policy on ticket purchasing for her concert in Jeju.
— 아이유(IU) 공식 트위터 (@_IUofficial) December 11, 2018
Kakao M identified 17 fan club members illegally selling tickets and expelled them from the site, permanently. This bold move showed the company’s, and IU’s, zero tolerance stance on scalping, which harms and deceives true fans.
7. When she shared her struggles in order to help others
IU’s willingness to openly talk about her own struggles, such as her past eating disorder and body image issues, has helped many fans to open up about their own battles.
IU first began talking about her experience on an episode of Healing Camp. She admitted that she felt a lot of pressure after her debut to become successful. The spiral into bulimia all started when she began to eat food to make herself feel better. This, in turn, would make her feel anxious and she would continue eating until she threw up.
8. Every single hour she spends preparing for her performances
IU has worked tirelessly to get where she is today. Her staff once revealed their admiration for her dedication and endurance on social media, praising the behind the scenes work that goes into her on-stage performances.
As for her performance, IU treats the choreography sessions like three hours of non-stop aerobic exercise. She does not show any physical limitations when it comes to her endurance. That must be a reason why she is called the dancing Goddess, and a dancing queen.
— IU’s Concert Staff
9. Every time her music touches the hearts of millions
Like IU, IU’s beautiful voice is one of a kind. Her music has been inspiring, comforting, and bringing joy to millions of fans around the world for 10 years and counting.
Each IU comeback is even better than the last, so fans can’t wait to see what the “Nation’s Sweetheart” will do in 2020!
10. Every time her smile brightens the room
IU brings joy and light wherever she goes, and she can bring happiness to the people around her just be smiling.
Fans love her smile, and the silly, upbeat personality that goes with it!