Late K-Pop Idol Sulli Talks About Celebrity Treatment In New Netflix Documentary
In 2019, shockwaves rippled across the K-pop industry when news broke that Choi Jin-ri, better known as Sulli, had taken her own life.
Then 25, the former f(x) member was one of the most prominent figures in the Korean entertainment scene.
In a documentary recently released on Netflix, Sulli shed light on how she felt celebrities were treated.
The in-depth interview was done in 2019 and is one of the last ones she gave before her death.
She claimed that celebrities are not seen as humans. In her case, she felt like she was treated like a product based on how others wanted her to be.
‘Being a K-pop star is the worst’, said Sulli in Netflix series
Sulli was asked about her experience in an intimate interview as part of Netflix’s ‘Persona: Sulli’.
The show was reportedly still in production when Sulli took her own life in October 2019.
“Being a K-pop idol is the worst,” said Sulli — words that foreshadowed the distressing interview that followed.
The interviewer began with a relatively simple question, asking Sulli if she thought celebrities should be seen as labourers and if their rights deserved protection.
The 25-year-old agreed with the questions but laughed when the interviewer listed some rights such as minimum wage and standard working hours.
“I wish,” said Sulli, suggesting that these are things celebrities can only dream of.
Sulli said she felt like a ‘product’ that has to please the masses
Without any prompting, Sulli told the interviewer how she felt people do not think of celebrities as humans.
Elaborating on her point, she recalled being told that she was a “product” when she first joined the entertainment industry.
She was also told that she ought to be the “finest, top-quality product” in the eyes of the public.
Sadly, the public was also never shy to treat her as such. She said,
I had to be what they wanted me to be.
As a result of this, Sulli said she had to deal with the fear of losing her “product value”.
Later on, she compared herself to a puppet that nobody cared about even if she was exhausted.
Claimed she would hurt herself to cope with stress
Sulli was later asked about how she would cope with the stress that came with being a celebrity.
Alarmingly, the star said she would blame and even inflict hurt on herself as it was the only time that she felt in control.
“The only thing I could ever control was to blame myself and put myself down. That was my way of being in control,” explained Sulli.
The K-pop idol said it wasn’t easy, but it was what probably kept her going.
When the interviewer asked if she ever thought it was the system’s fault for the situations that she found herself in, Sulli simply replied “no”, not even once.
Shedding tears, she explained that it was simply not an option for her.
The former f(x) member also said that she had difficulties expressing herself.
Even when she spoke up about her challenges, Sulli felt that the “system” was not going to change.
She recounted how she shared about how she was suffering at one point, only to be gaslit by being told she shouldn’t feel a certain way towards things.
Committed suicide at home in 2019
Sulli passed away in mid-October 2019 from suicide. She was found hanging in her house in Seoul.
A month later, Sulli’s close friend Goo Hara, too, took her own life.
If you or anyone you know would like to seek help for their mental health, here are some hotlines that you may consider reaching out to.
- National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868 (8am-12am daily)
- Fei Yue’s Online Counselling Service
- Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222
- Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444
- Silver Ribbon Singapore: 6385-3714
- Big Love Child Protection Specialist Centre: 6445-0400
- HEART @ Fei Yue Child Protection Specialist Centre: 6819-9170
- PAVE Integrated Services for Individual and Family Protection: 6555-0390
- Project StART: 6476-1482
- TRANS SAFE Centre: 6449-9088
- TOUCHline (Counselling): 1800 377 2252
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Featured image adapted from Netflix.
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