From AOA to Stellar, there are several K-Pop girl groups known for their sexy concepts. Naturally, these concepts have drawn mixed opinions from listeners—but how do the idols themselves feel about it? In a new interview with The Korea Times, former Nine Muses member Ryu Sera opened up about her troubles in the sexy concept K-Pop group.
Ryu Sera first decided to become a singer when she discovered the true power of music. After a student at Sera’s school who rarely spoke approached her while she was playing the piano, she “realized that music could allow us to communicate without uttering a single word.” However, a career in music didn’t turn out to be everything Sera thought it would be.
While Sera says she did her best as an idol, she constantly felt out of her depth “and also trapped in a sense.” While she stayed hoping that things would get better for a long while, she eventually came to a realization: “I was simply one god in a giant machine run by the powers that be.” In particular, one requirement imposed by those powers troubled Sera deeply: the group’s sexy concept.
We were powerless, and there was little we could do to change our own fate.
— Ryu Sera
Especially popular among servicemen in the South Korean military, Nine Muses were marked as a group of “model idols” and were best known for their sexy concept. Sera debuted in the group at the age of 23, promoting with them for four years before her departure, and the sexy concept was “difficult… to handle.”
“We had to wear revealing outfits and show off our sex appeal,” says Ryu Sera, adding, “I expressed all my frustration because I was young.” At the time, she thought that wearing “cheap” or trashy clothing would turn her into a cheap person—something she admits many might still say is true.
At that time, I had a really hard time keeping up.
— Ryu Sera
Eventually, it seems the focus on Sera’s appearance took a toll on her. While numerous fans can agree on her beauty, Sera didn’t see things that way back then. “I was ashamed of my appearance,” she confessed, “so I would run home and yell at my mom, asking her why I was born so unattractive.”
Sera says she continued to cry daily for “one, two, three years” because she thought she wasn’t “as pretty, as thin, and as tall as the other girls” around her. After years of this misery, even Sera’s mom eventually broke down in tears, telling Sera how sorry she was. So, why did she carry on as an idol for so long despite the difficulties of Nine Muses’ concept?
Ryu Sera reveals it was all because of the fans. “My fans loved me unconditionally,” she explained fondly, right down to the unique way she holds her chopsticks. Receiving so much love from those who cared about her made her feel like she was “on cloud nine,” giving her the strength to carry on.
Ultimately, Sera says, “I was kicked out of Nine Muses because I openly vented all my grievances about our excessive use of sex appeal.” While in hindsight, she does she the move as “a bit immature,” she simply couldn’t put aside how “extremely distressing” she found the revealing outfits. Even so, Sera has never lost touch with her loving fans, these days meeting them on her own terms through her popular YouTube channel.