Alongside chief director Stella, Yoon Jin Hee has been helping to train idols in dance and vocals at MU:Academy for years. Over the years, they’ve trained some of the biggest stars of today, including members of WINNER, Stray Kids, MONSTA X, OH MY GIRL, MOMOLAND, fromis_9, and more. But while these former trainees have gone on to become stars, they didn’t have an easy journey. In fact, Yoon Jin Hee revealed that several idols once received very harsh feedback from companies.
In an interview with Doyouram, Stella and Yoon Jin Hee were asked if they had any memorable anecdotes from their time training future idols. The first thing that came to mind was the criticism once faced by two of their trainees: ONF‘s E-Tion…
… and MOMOLAND‘s Hyebin.
When E-Tion and Hyebin first came to MU:Academy, Yoon explained, staff from K-Pop companies were very harsh. The director recalls them saying, “Those kids won’t make it.” While Yoon Jin Hee admits that it’s all down to personal opinion, he was surprised to hear such negative feedback.
I thought we could definitely turn them into great idols and that they had potential.
— Yoon Jin Hee
Thankfully, those unpleasant comments “lit a fire” in the director, making him even more determined to help E-Tion and Hyebin achieve their goals. While E-Tion was initially “poorly skilled, really shy, and [lacking] many qualities” according to Yoon Jin Hee, you’d never believe that today when he stands on stage as ONF’s lead vocalist.
And, of course, the same goes for Hyebin, who is now the leader of MOMOLAND and killing it as a rapper and vocalist. Thankfully, these idols haven’t let harsh agencies deter them. “Now, those two have made a debut and are now doing great in the K-Pop scene,” agrees Yoon Jin Hee, making their path particularly memorable.